Author: klausthestrup

Let´s Entangle – On digital materialities in kindergartens

Let´s Entangle – On digital materialities in kindergartens


Hi, Frank. You have been an educator of social educators for years in Denmark. And you have always advocated and demonstrated that digital media easily can become part of everyday practice in kindergartens combining screen and floor, media and body – also on an european level (Støvelbæk & MediaPLAYINGcommunities 2009). Well, here is a term, that might support that: Digital Materialities.  It is defined like this, where “…the digital and the material are not separate but entangled elements of the same processes, activities and intentionalities.” (Pink, Ardèvol & Lanzeni 1:2016). The term is closely connected to the ideas of designing, making and intervening into the world, no matter is you are a designer, a maker or a researcher.

Paper & Screen

If a child and a pedagogue in a kindergarten together draw a drawing on a piece of paper and then takes a picture of this drawing with a mobile phone and uploads it on a social media for children and pedagogues in another kindergarten to see then you have in the very same process elements that are either digital or analogue. They can be separated but they belong together in the same cultural and pedagogical process with certain activities, exercises and experimenting while playing.

This small situation also points towards the entanglement of online and offline, synchronous and asynchronous. If you upload an image on a social media you might get a direct answer right away or you may not. If you are experimenting, narrating and playing on the floor, then you might use what somebody else has uploaded, as inspiration, challenge or support.  The image might be in your memory as you play or you go and consult the image from time to time on a screen. In both cases screen and floor are connected.

Green Screen

Here is another situation: Some children and the social educator Elisabeth Mathisen in the kindergarten The Hobbit in Denmark were using a green screen app to examine the effects in images and videos such an app could bring about (Thestrup & Mathisen 2018). They were using the app, the tablet, large quantities of green cloth and all other green objects, they could use. The images in this text, are from that project. Have fun guessing how they did it. (Yes it is a teaser for the video to come…)

When they wrapped themselves into a large piece of green cloth while being filmed and combined with an image on the tablet, they were entangling the digital and the material while playing using body, space and technology . They were even in a process where their entanglement led to new ways of using the green screen app that at least I did not expect.

So, let´s continue to entangle and make our common future through that.

Best Klaus


Pink, S. Ardèvol, E & Lanzeni, D. (ed.) (2016). Digital Materialities – Design and Anthropology: Bloomsbury

Støvelbæk, F. & MediaPLAYINGcommunities (2009). MPC is what you see: MediaPLAYINGCommunities, Video documentary, localized 18.02.2018 on

Thestrup, K. & Mathisen, E. (2018). The Green Screen Experiments: Global Experiments. Video documentary made for educational purposes as part of the EU-project Mini-makers ( Exp. 2018



Digitale Verdensborgere

Jeg har netop holdt foredrag om hvordan pædagoger og børn i børnehaver i Norden kan blive digitale verdensborgere. Jeg kigger lidt tilbage på mange års projekter, forbi aktuelle og brændende eksempler og lidt frem. Der er mange, mange billeder og meget at snakke om som jo ikke fremgår af alle de mange stikord.  Så må I jo spørge…

Tak til Digital Arena Barnehage og deres utrættelige arbejde med at inspirere, diskutere og perspektivere…

Mit slidehow er lige her nedenfor. Enjoy.

Vh Klaus



The Permanent Laboratory

The Permanent Laboratory

Thoughts about how children and social educators could be creative thinkers in a global context

How do we as social educators prepare ourselves and the children for the future? In the Erasmus-project Mini-makers this question is part of the discussions and activities ( The attempt is to make a curriculum that mirrors the discussions and gives possible pathways to reflect upon this question.

Digital Natives

The term Digital Natives seems to indicate that children and young people know everything that is to be known about the use of digital media because they have grown up with them in their everyday life and it even seems to be a question of generations. The term was popularized among others by Marc Prensky and is part of an argument, where he talks about the difference between students and teachers (Prensky 2001). The students are part of a generation, that are used to digital media from their childhood and the teachers who are digital immigrants that have learned to use digital media later in their life. The teachers do not understand the children they are supposed to teach and their use of digital media.

Digital natives is a difficult term in several regards. First of all it is difficult to simply make it a question of generations. Such a point of view ignores the context in which any given group of people uses or encounters any given digital media, technology or narrative. Instead of assuming that somebody are digital natives and others are not, then one should instead ask what a group of people actually use a technology for and how they do it. Such an approach makes it possible to try to understand and use whatever knowledge and abilities there already exists and compensate for what might be lacking. Any teacher or social educator has to act as an anthropologist and analyze the social and cultural situation, children and young people are in when they operate using their devices in kindergarten, at school or at home.

The same goes for the teacher and the pedagogical methods she or he uses. It might be that the individual teacher or social educator is be both a digital native and a digital immigrant depending on the technology or narrative in question, but she or he as to adapt any new possibility to the teaching and at the very same time adapt the teaching to new changes in society including developments in technology and storytelling.

What the future holds

The term digital natives is also difficult looking at the future. When talking about technologies and digital media the only constant seems to be the word change. New technologies like Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality are emerging. Global communication through different social media on mobile phones or tablets is increasingly a real possibility. Narratives are told in a transmedial way across platforms, where one can interact and even possibly add to the stories. Robots and other autonomous systems are becoming part of and at the same time probably changing work, education and citizenship in ways we might not yet predict. Coding is so much more than programming, it is also a way of telling and communicating.

Technology, narratives and societal challenges intersect. Robots are the obvious example. They not only require, that we learn to program them. They also require, we talk about how work and education might change and in the long run we have to talk about what technologies we want to develop and for what purpose. It also requires we look at the way robots are pictured and understood in fiction and how we want to portray them in new short videos or images and posted online.

Internet of Things is a term, where digital technology moves away from the being centered around screens towards objects that communicate with each other without necessarily including people. The internet is in a sense turning into being a waste system entangling the digital and analogue, so it is impossible to separate the two, in principle covering more and more of this globe for us to use in ways we find meaningfull. Robots and Artificial intelligence are part of this waste and emerging system and so we also have to find out how to interact with these systems.

It is simply not possible to focus on a fixed number of skills, that lasts. It is simply not possible to imagine a future, where children or social educators in advance know what they need to know or do and then stick to it. Nobody are or can be digital natives, but we all are constantly digital immigrants, who need to find out how to use the possibilities. The point is not that we need to be victims in this situation, but that we can be and become the ones who decide a given use of technologies and narratives.  We can find new ways of using the technologies and narratives and in principle become the ones, who constant and permanently construct the very tools, we need to understand and live, the lives we want to live and not leave it to companies or politicians alone.

None of us are only digital natives or digital immigrants. We are possibly both at the same time as we might draw on hitherto experiences using technologies and digital media when we have to deal with new technologies and digital media, we need to find a use for. The kindergarten, the school, the university in whatever form, they might take in the future, might be permanent laboratories, where children, social educators, researchers and others examine and invent. A way to do this will be to leave space for a pedagogy where the question and the experiment is central and not the already given answer or an already given narrative and technology.

Mediaplaying the world

Digital natives as a term do have another problem as well.  When focusing on whether somebody knows all there is to know about technology it shadows the question whether children and young people might have other competences that could be important encountering an unknown future. The term Mediaplay or mediaplaying is one such approach to establishing a pedagogy, where the focus is on the ability to ask questions (Rönnberg 1983). The term originates from research in kindergartens in Sweden, where children were using characters, situations and sentences from TV in their roleplay. They were not only copying, what they had seen or heard, but improvising on basis of it in their play culture. During the recent years the term also included the use of technology and not only narratives. Mediaplay was seen as an activity that children did while playing being it with inspiration from TV or with technologies or other sources. It expressed a certain ability, children can activate while encountering the world. They repeat formulas, that they can improvise upon and in principle develop new formulas to use while playing. Digital media is in that sense only one more tool. The new and emerging technologies are the same.

Mediaplay also became part of a pedagogy, where the emphasis was on leaving space and time for self-organised play inside pedagogical settings in ongoing exchange with activities, where the social educator took an active part. The social educator forms experimenting communities, where both parties at the core of the community ask questions, play and experiment. Ways of playing and experimenting is exchanged between the children´s own play culture and the experimenting community to mutual benefit and inspiration.

So the central question in a kindergarten is to look at what the children actually do when playing and when playing with media – and what they do not do. One has to look at situations, where children themselves organize what they do and how they do it. When they actually repeat and change cultural expressions one can support them in doing this and enhance it to a level, where the social educator and the children together construct new uses of both technologies and narratives.

Creative Thinkers

Prensky´s real challenge to education goes beyond the question whether teachers are merely digital immigrants or not. Education has difficulties preparing children for the future (Prensky 2016). He actually calls for a way of thinking education where children are empowered attempting to find solutions to real world problems in the present. He talks about a shift: From educating individuals so that they can someday better their world, to actually bettering their world as their education. (Prensky, 6:2016). Dealing with digital technologies can be seen as such an attempt. Asking the question what technologies we want and for what purpose can be seen as such an attempt. The answers to the questions are new uses of digital media. Mitchell Resnick also calls for a new education, which he calls Lifelong Kindergarten (Resnick 2017). He describes the way children in a kindergarten experiment as a Creative Learning Spiral, where they …learn to develop their own ideas, try them out, experiment with alternatives, get input from others, and generate new ideas based on their experiences (Resnick 12-13:2017). Education should find ways to develop children to be creative thinkers so they can deal with life in a rapidly changing world. Resnick even argues that school should be more like kindergarten and even describes how students at MIT Media Lab, where he works, learn through the creative learning spiral. As such even a university should be more like a kindergarten.

Cultures of creativity

If we add David Gauntlet & Bo Stjerne Thomsen to the equation one can even talk about communication across time and space and include the permanent laboratory here. The term Cultures of creativity (Gauntlett & Stjerne Thomsen 2013) covers an understanding of culture where the center of a culture is meaning making and creativity and the encounter of cultures are based on the same.

The question is no longer if we are digital natives but if we are able to find new ways to use, change and develop technologies we need and stories we can use to understand and discuss our world and our values. We are all digital natives and digital immigrants at the same time but we are all first and foremost digital global and democratic citizens. We do have the possibility to form a global democracy producing, constructing and using all systems available to exchange and develop common creative cultures where we might find answers to the challenges we face as one world. We might have fun playing and discussing the life we want to live together. Are the social educators up for this expanding the pedagogical space not only into constant experiments but also out on the vaste internet and its many vibrating networks?


Gauntlet, D. & Stjerne Thomsen, B. (2013). Cultures of Creativity: LEGO Foundation. Localised 08.02.2018 at

Prensky, M. (2016). Education to Better Their World: Teachers College Press

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October

Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong Kindergarten: The MIT Press

Rönnberg, M. (1983). Skådelek och medialekar. I C. Bøgh, Småbørnsforskning i Danmark IX – Rapport fra seminaret: Børns leg i det moderne industrisamfund: Udvalget vedrørende småbørnsforskning

STÆMPEL – et kunstprojekt skabt for og af unge

STÆMPEL – et kunstprojekt skabt for og af unge



Pludselig hører man det…. Eva skal lave kunstprojekt sammen med unge fra Eriksminde Efterskole i en nedlagt fabrik i Odder. Unge dér skal ikke stemples som nogen, der ødelægger alting. Nyt stempel, tak!

Jeg går ind i en bygning med grafitti, de ikke selv har lavet. Ikke det hele ihvertfald. Skitser, sætninger, maling, en dør, der hænger sidelæns ned med digte på midt i et rum, tøj på bøjler svævende i et andet rum, et skur eller et hytte bygget midt i en hal med vand på gulvet. Trump som Putins skødehund klasket op tæt ved indgangen, masser af plads, plads til mere, plads til alle.

Hvad er det, de laver?

Er dette en start på politisk arbejde? Brugen af sociale medier som en måde at deltage på? Kulturudtryk som konkret aftryk? Altså ikke bare stemme på valgdagen, men blande sig i livet med en hel farvepalet. Hvor kan det føre hen? De taler med hinanden og folder livet ud uden begrænsninger.

Et øjeblik i tiden, hvor ingen synes at bestemme deres fremtid. Noget flytter sig fra efterskolen ind her på et råddent gulv. Noget fra tanken, kunsten, fællesskabet, holdningerne ud til vægge fyldt med billede på billede på billede. En overfyldt lethed, en fejring af frihed og ånd, en ubekymret leg med vægge og pensler.

Hvad er det, der er på vej? Eva er i hvert fald midt i det og taler om det. Det vælter ud. Der skal handles og det kan åbenbart ikke vente. Bygningen skal rives ned og i selvsamme sekund manifesteres noget, der måske kun eksisterer, fordi det forsvinder.

En sær uskyld lyser ud af alvoren, når nogen spørger, hvad de laver. En voldsom alvor lyser ud af begejstringen, når de fortæller og fortæller. Det her er dem og det her er efterskolen.

Tak til Kirsten Bak Andersen fra UC VIA for samarbejdet omkring videoen.

Check det her årsskrift: Thestrup, K. (2017). En stolt far fortæller. in Møllgaard Kristensen, S. (red.) (2017). Årsskrift 2017: Eriksminde Efterskole

Check dem selv på instagram: #stæmpel

Kindergartens as global makerspaces? An open answer to some questions for a future curriculum

Kindergartens as global makerspaces? An open answer to some questions for a future curriculum


Dear Gerrit. You and I have on some occasions discussed the future curriculum of pre-school teachers in Europe and especially on how kindergartens and makerspaces can use the possibilities of the Internet. Here is an open answer with some reflections on the subject. You are leading the Erasmus+ project, Mini-Maker, where I take part. Not all users of this blogpost might know the project, so just a few words on it. The goal is to develop a curriculum for a course for pre-school teachers in Europe on digital media competences. Makerspaces play an important part in the development of this future curriculum. One can follow the project on among others this website (

My question to you and me is at the moment like this: What should the pre-school teacher know and be able to do when he or she together with the children in a makerspace situated in a kindergarten start to use the internet and its possibilities for communication, play and production?


When I started thinking about and trying out ways of making a kindergarten and a makerspace connect with the world outside, I started seeing one serious challenge on how to do it. The pedagogical space around the kindergarten was defined as the very physical space of the kindergarten itself. The kindergarten was a closed entity where materials, processes and purposes did fit together. The fence around the kindergarten was also the fence around the everyday activities, the space inside and the playground outside.

The challenge is when you introduce digital media, they open for a lot simultaneously. There is the question of how to actually use any given technology in itself, but also how to combine this technology with other existing or emerging technologies? The question is also how to combine the new elements with the elements already in place in the single kindergarten? How to combine with f. ex. drawings, drama or the existing use of cameras and the number of exercises, introductions, activities and traditions already going on?

What makes it even more complicated is, that the use of all the apps on a tablet or a mobile might change the very use of these new offerings. It is not only the existing possibilities that might change, it is also the new ones. Think of the combination of existing and new cultural practices as exactly that. Through experiments with materials and processes new cultural and pedagogical practices might emerge, where nothing is left untouched and nothing is left unnoticed.

Well, it does not need to be that complicated to combine analogue and digital, online and offline, screen and floor. Have a look here:


What makes it more complicated is the way digital media and technologies already are understood in the single kindergarten when focus starts to point towards how kindergartens or pre-schools might be situated in the world. Children and pre-school teachers are together in these spaces and according to the activity they use body, space and materials together. They move, run, play, draw, think, talk together. There is nothing wrong with all this in itself. The challenge seems to arrive, when all these everyday activities are supposed to connect to the outside world.

Especially when one think of communicating with someone somewhere else, one might get challenged. Here you include actual people in the world, who at first glance might think or act partially or completely different from yourself – or they even seem the same as you. But you know that in advance. They might understand pedagogy, children & digital media differently than you do and that is no matter if you are communicating with a kindergarten close by or far away or if you are communicating with someone outside any educational system. When you move outside your own familiar educational system, you meet people with viewpoints and practices around pedagogy even though they are not trained in any educational system.

The point is not that understanding is impossible or that any culture is static, but that you have reflect on differences and likeness when you meet. Both are there and in the process of encountering you see not only someone else but also yourself. If nothing else your own values and everyday practices might come to the foreground. You don’t need to change anything in your own life, but you start wondering and talk about it – and then you might start to change or get changed.  And that is maybe the main point here: If you meet somebody in a shared online universe, you and the ones you meet, might be able to build a common understanding and start supporting the projects of each other. If one understands culture as meaning making process, one also has access to a process, where the participants create the very culture, they are in (Gauntlett & Stjerne Thomsen 2013).


Skype or similar systems has often surfaced in the projects, I have been and is part of, when talking about communicating. Which is interesting, as there are so many others ways of communicating.  Maybe it has to do with that it seems to be similar to the communication, that goes on in a kindergarten. Which it is not. Skype or the alike is a communication system that shapes the encounter between us, if one is not aware of it. You can´t touch each other for one thing and you can´t easily get an overview of the space where the other side is situated. You can see each other´s faces, but depending on the hardware you choose, you can´t see much more than that even if you start moving the hardware you are using around.

It is a bad replacement for the activities going on in a kindergarten, but if you use the channel for what it can do well or try to find other ways of using it than intended, then Skype can become a useful tool for communicating.

Why look at faces? Why not fingers or objects or dolls and make some kind of doll theatre together, where each side controls one doll? Why not make a hide-and-seek game out of the situation that it is difficult to get an overview? Why not combine Skype with something else like when children are playing a computer game or Minecraft and simultaneously talking to each other through another channel?

Why not combine the synchronous communication with the asynchronous and produce DIY-videos, that others can comment, use, change or make new DIY-videos based on and then talk about with others through Skype? It is maybe here that the makerspace in a kindergarten comes in and has its distinct place. One can build, tell and film as much as one wants. One can look at videos, images and texts made by someone else, even the ones, one does not know in advance, get inspired, dazzled and challenged to do the same or something different. You make something, remake what you see and support other´s if needed be in understanding what you do. (Gauntlett 2015).

Talking in itself seems to be the hardest to do. Doing something together is much easier. It is not only the software or the hardware that frames our use of a given technology, it is also the users and their expectations, that frame this use. It could be part of a European curriculum to experiment with on how to use asynchronous and synchronous communication together with body, space and play and make this approach part of any activities in a makerspace or in a kindergarten. Reflections, questions and suggestions for pre-school teachers can be found here:


I suggest that a curriculum for the future must contain the ability to act in it and potentially change it as the only constant. I have framed this as Next Practice Labs (Thestrup & Sandvik 2017, Thestrup et all 2015). The laboratory is understood as a laboratory for the next practice and is situated in the very practice it is there to change. It can be at a certain defined place but it can also be a way of thinking and acting activated in the very moment needed by the group of people involved. The lab can be anywhere, also partly or totally online.

The next practice lab is based on two other terms: The experimenting community (Caprani & Thestrup 2010) and the open lab (Robinson & Thestrup 2016, Thestrup & Robinson 2016). The experimenting community has to do with that the community is together in experimenting and not only repeating already existing practice and that both pre-school teachers and children are inside the process and ask questions and look for answers. The open lab is open to combine and transform in principle all materials, all media and all narratives into new cultural practices – and open to the world outside the lab, the makerspace or the kindergarten.

The next practice lab is inspired by the idea of the third space, a certain space, that is between school and home, where rules and actions more easily can be defined by the users (Potter & McDougal 2017), Deweys position on experience  a center for the learning process and school as part of life (, Lave & Wengers position on situated learning where the learning process takes place in a certain social and cultural context (Lave & Wenger 1991), taking the term Communities of practices to the very core, where a group of people on a regular basis wants to learn from each other ( The potential of this position is that any group of people have the agency to decide for themselves what they want to investigate, when, how and what they need to be able know and do, including using digital media and technologies.

These Next Practise Labs could be the constant in the curriculum and in the future practice in a makerspace in a kindergarten. Any new technology or narrative with existing practices around it could be exposed to these labs. Through these labs pre-school teachers and children could together establish their own way of communicating, playing, experimenting and producing. It relates directly to the fact that connecting with the world outside the makerspace is nothing new. It is directly mentioned in the fablab-charter, that all the Fab labs together is a global network consisting of local labs ( It was part of the early history to let labs across the globe design and produce together (Gershenfeld 2012). In recent literature on makerspaces one can find several different examples of makerspace going online (Peppler, Halverson & Kafai 2016). So the sails for showing, testing and discussing examples in a future curriculum are already set.

Best Klaus


Caprani, O. & Thestrup, K. (2010). Det eksperimenterende fællesskab – Børn og voksnes leg med medier og teknologi in Vol. 3, Number 5, p. 1-39

Gauntlett, D. (2015). Making Media Studies: Peter Lang

Gauntlett, D. & Stjerne Thomsen, B. (2013). Cultures of Creativity:, accessed on 08.07.2017

Gershenfeld, N. (2012). How To Make Almost Everything: Foreign Affairs, Vol 91, number 6, p. 43-57

Lave, J.; Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning – Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Peppler, K., Halverson, E. R. & Kafai, Y. B. (ed.) (2016). Makeology: Routledge

Potter, J. & McDougal, J. (2017). Digital Media, Culture & Education: Palgrave Macmillan

Robinson, S. & Thestrup, K. (2016). Inside the rainbow. Accessed on 02.07.2017

Støvelbæk, F. & MediaPLAYINGcommunities (2009). mPc – is what you see: MediaPLAYINGcommunities. Accessed on 10.08.2017 on

Thestrup, K. Andersen, M.A., Jessen, C., Knudsen, J. & Sandvik, K. (2015). Delaftale 3: Dannelse I en digital og global verden – digitale redskaber skal understøtte barnets lærings- og dannelsesproces. Accessed on 07.07.2016

Thestrup, K. & Robinson, S. (2016). Towards an entrepreneurial mindset: Empowering learners in an open laboratory. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Kap. 8, s. 147-166 (Advances in Digital Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 2)

Thestrup, K. & Sandvik, K. (2017). Challenging Makerspaces: Paper, Nordmedia, aug. 2017

3D-PRINTERS IN A PEDAGOGICAL SETTING – Questions and suggestions

3D-PRINTERS IN A PEDAGOGICAL SETTING – Questions and suggestions

Hi, Daniel!

You and I had a few conversations on 3D-printers in a pedagogical setting where teachers and smaller children are a central part of the activities.  You as the leader of Fablab Berlin and I as a teacher and researcher in different kinds of makerspaces wanted to know more about this could be done. You might not be the only reader of this blogpost, so I put in a few links on stuff you already know a lot about, but bear with me.

The question is important to you and me as we both are part of an ongoing EU-project, where the central research question is about how makerspaces can unfold and enhance digital literacy and creativity for smaller children ( In short the project is named MakEY. I like that. What is the key to solve the question? In this case on 3D-printers.

The question?

Well, here are some questions and suggestions that might lead to some new pedagogical experiments on the matter. There are more thoughts than answers in this blogpost, but maybe they can be useful for you. One of the problems, I over the last few years heard mentioned from pedagogues and teachers, is the fact, that it simply takes a very long time to print. Depending on the size and complexity of the object to print it goes from hours to days. What to do all of a sudden in a school, a kindergarten or a after school club, while the hardware is printing?

As you know, I was at the Fablab Berlin for a month follow the interesting activities there! I enjoyed being in your different labs, listening, talking to those who came and the staff, interviewing and filming – and of course trying the 3D-printers myself. For those who don’t know Fablab Berlin they can have a look at the website (  During my stay I made this short video “Cuts & Prints” ( about some of the tools and processes and the longer video “What can a fablab community become?” (, where I Interviewed your young lab managers on possible futures of Fablabs.

Intertwined challenges

There are many ways one could go to solve this challenge. One is to ask if the printing at all need to be a problem? Is it a problem because one thinks in terms of linearity? That is that all the participants at all times do have do the same thing at the same moment in time in the pedagogical process. What would happen if the pedagogical process was organized differently? Another question that intertwines with how the process should be organized is if the software and hardware is too difficult to use for small children? Again this question could be asked differently, because how is the teacher or lab manager actually involved in the process? What are their functions? What if the children did not need to be able to use all elements themselves in the process?  A third question would then be to ask about what is going on around the 3D-printer itself? What does the whole process include of other technologies, tools and spaces – analogue as digital? How about the use of physical space inside or outside?

The process

So I started to look at the process the 3D-printer is part of. You know this process obviously, but I didn´t.  One way to understand would be like this: First one looks for files to print on the internet. I was pointed towards Thingiverse ( as a place where you could find files to download. Then one could either edit it in a programme like Tinkercad ( or make it ready for print in a slicer software like Craftware ( After this one could start printing and use it. The process seems linear and going from A to Z in irreversible process, but it obviously isn´t. If the print is not as it is supposed to be or can´t be used as intented, one can go back to the slicer software and adjust or go even further back to Tinkercad to change the design or even back to Thingiverse to find another design to use. Or one can start in Tinkercad and here continuously develop and change the prototype one wants to print later or opload it on Thingiverse for others to use. So the process can be seen non-linear or at least having the possibility to let each step in the process as one where you can go back and forth.

Each step can even be seen as an independent process in itself. To look for something on Thingiverse can be a process where one actually tinkers around to be inspired or get new ideas for what to do. Tinkercad is a programme with a lot of possibilities, so that the design of an object can in itself take a lot of time. Even the slicer software can be used for adaptions of the object found on Thingiverse. In a sense each step can be seen as having its own tools, methods, materials and investigations, that can have a large influence on the steps before and later.

And the steps do not need to come in a certain order to work. One can jump around in the process and spend more or less time each place. And here you probably noticed that I suddenly changed the word from steps to places to emphasize that each place might a place where one could jump more freely around in the process. More about that in a moment. I haven´t bypassed the crucial moment of waiting yet.

The technology

One could go through the different software and hardware and examine what elements children would be able to do themselves and what they would need help to do. So each software and hardware should be broken down in single and simple functions to find where the children could take over. The same goes for the process. The teacher or the lab manager would then be an assistant demonstrating or even taking over functions for the children involved, guiding them through a process knowing one could jump back and forth in it.  Some of the functions could even be replaced be others. One example would be to ask the children to draw a drawing that the lab manager or the teacher then transforms into a 3d-model in Tinkercad. Another solution would be to look for technical solutions where some functions or processes are made more easily accessible for children or others who are not familiar with 3D-printers. These new solutions would also have to be tested before one could know how they work. Yet another solution would be to look for new developments where completely new and maybe more accessible possibilities might show themselves.

The combinations

So I continued on my attempt to bypass the printer or should I say to make the 3D-printer part of a process and not the whole process in itself. What if the creative process was not finished when printing? What if each and every bit of software and hardware was a place where one could jump to an infinity of other places? I added the elements from the pedagogical traditions in Denmark where each kindergarten and afterschool club can be seen as a makerspace in the sense that children here do have access to lot of tools & materials embedded in creative processes. They on an almost everyday basis play and experiment with anything from scissors to pencils and they in some cases have the possibility to meet and tell narratives, do drama and use digital media. They actually spend quite some time on the floor moving around playing and outside on the playground. Cultural research and pedagogy influenced by children´s play culture also hold an important position ( So in this context it would be an possibility to do some physical activities combined with other kind of activities. For instance build robots, print robots, programming robots, talk about robots, film robots, playing with robots and finally move around pretending to be robots – all to get a better idea what robots can be and how they could be used and what for.

The Many Figures Grid

As the 3D-printer is faster when printing smaller figures, and as I actually wanted to use the available technology at the Fablab, I used that as my departing point. I wanted to work with small figures 5-10 cm tall ones one could play with and tell stories with. To do so I started sketching out a pedagogy, that I later named The Many Figures Grid. You can see it here. Explanations follow below the drawing.

The Many Figures Grid

So after the printing process one could continue like this: One could cut the figures coming out of the printer. Paint them, glue them together in new figures, tell stories with them moving them around on the floor, take pictures of them and upload them, make small videos including narratives or demonstrations on how to make them. One could use software like Bookcreator ( to digitally make stories on a tablet or smart phone. They could be exhibited on-line or in the same room, where they are produced or both. One could also jump from making these small figures to play them one self like in drama and theatre. There will probably turn up questions on both technologies and narratives in these processes. If you then include searching for figures, inspiration for figures and scanning the ones, you already have altered in the process then you have in a sense completed this process in a grid.

The model in this text is an attempt to draw what I think. The linear process still exists in this grid as a possibility. You can in principle go all the way from searching to printing and on to scanning if you want to. I have just made the starting point the ending point. But you do also have another possibility. One can in principle jump from one place to another. If for instance you have glued on figure you can go straight to scanning or you can film it right away. If you are editing or slicing you might go somewhere and search for new inspiration or you might choose to leave the figure in the software for some time because you need to play with some of the others to find out what to do with the one in the software. In this case you don’t bring the figure it self but you bring yourself in a new situation, it is the child or the teacher or the lab manager, who are the ones who connect the possibilities or the places.

Every single possibility become a place where one can enter, do something, alter something and leave for the next place with or without an actual figure in the hand. It is non-linear grid where the possibility to produce in a more linear way still exists. Every moment is a prototype and an immediate expression in itself. That is why the arrows point both ways in the model. The idea is to use existing possibilities to move around between the different places or invent new pathways and new places. That is why I included a question mark in the model just to emphasize this.

The experimenting community

The very first figure still requires time to be done and there you have the time dimension running still. But here you buy or pre-print some and the demonstrates the cutting, gluing and filming and in the run of some time there will be several figures in several phases undergoing transformations into something else. If some figures are available from the start, then they can all be part of a transformation process not matter where they start in the grid so to speak. Even if one for instance does not physically change a figure into something else one can still try to find how it should be used in ways that might surprise even the one that investigates it.

The 3D-printer is part of the process but no longer the whole process. The possibilities in the process around the 3D-printer to go forth and back are enhanced. The actual space around the 3D-printer and the tools and materials are changing though. If one wants the children to have some space to move around, do drama and play as part of the grid, then you need space for it inside or outside the building. But as far as I could see it would be rather easy to make an open space inside the fablab and include the outside space in some of the activities. And the 3D-printer might actually become more important in the pedagogical process than it otherwise would have been.

As I see it, teachers, lab managers and others can be part of the same process as the children. That is that both parties ask themselves questions on themes and technologies and that both parties want to know more and be able to do more. So persons around the children in the pedagogical space are also curious, experimenting, playing and looking for possible answers in processes where no answer is given in advance. Well, if nothing else that should apply for anybody working in a fablab or a makerspace, so if one let the lab managers meet children, these lab managers should have a huge advantage in organizing and taking part in fablabs where you have to be innovative and develop in communities.

When everybody is part of the process, I actually call it The Experimenting Community and when all materials, all technologies, all narratives and all forms of digital media is included in the processes, then I call it The Open Lab ( or The last of the two links sets the open lab in a pedagogical frame.

Next Practise Labs

A fablab or a makerspace might change its look or the number of activities radically over time because of this. The 3D-printer and the digital camera and the pencil and stage exist simultaneously in an open lab. But shouldn´t a fablab or makerspace be a space where the newest ideas are invented and new technologies used, altered or combined with other technologies? I even suggest that such a place could be called Next Practice Labs, laboratories for the next praxis ( We meet not only to repeat and use existing tools and materials, but also to construct a new practice together that can become new everyday in the fablab or makerspace until something new is tested out (

One could say that the Many Figures Grid is confusing in all its range of possible possibilities, but there is this one important catch when thinking of the grid as a Next Practise Lab. We also enter such a lab with an existing practice that actually makes sense in one´s everyday life or pedagogical framework and changing it partly or wholly in a lab can be playfull and lively. There is no pressure in the lab, there is curiosity and an understanding of culture as always being in a constant process of repeat and change like it is shown so clearly in for instance children´s play culture. The grid is ours to use, not anybody else. The grid is ours to walk, not anybody else. The change is ours to do, if wanted.

Well, that turned to be a rather long blogpost, more like a mail or even an old-fashioned letter becoming a hypertext. Maybe an essay. The Many Figures Grid is the result for the moment. When I read my own text I do see that there is a lot more to talk about, but I hope you find some of it useful.



Impressions from Fablab Berlin

Impressions from Fablab Berlin

I have had the pleasure of visiting Fablab Berlin in Germany and have been part of their everyday life for some time. I have listened, tried their tools and talked to a lot of people in the middle of all their activities around especially 3d printers and lasercutters.  The first video CUTS & PRINTS shows elements of the tools, the processes and the results. You might wonder why my robot in the end turns up to be a poly-bot…


I have met users who were finishing their studies to become architects and so needed to show model buildings at their examen. Users who printed 3-d parts for a new and better 3d-printer. I have met 4 lab managers, who helped people to use the machines and shared ideas and thoughts. I have met an architect who wants to start a fablab in Italy. The next video WHAT CAN A FABLAB COMMUNITY BECOME? shows how they think about being in a fablab and some thoughts on a possible future. A colleague of mine wondered if their values can be seen in the way they would work with children. Good question… The video is here:


Klaus Thestrup




WHAT IS AN OPEN LABORATORY? Inspiration for emerging makerspaces

WHAT IS AN OPEN LABORATORY? Inspiration for emerging makerspaces


Some recent discussions and developments on open laboratories in Denmark can benefit the future development of Makerspaces as an emergent place where tools, materials and processes are not defined in advance or can be changed according to decisions and needs by the participants in a makerspace. A group of researchers, consultants, teachers and pedagogues have over the years worked on what is framed as Next Practise Labs (Thestrup, Andersen, Jessen, Knudsen & Sandvik 2015), that again is based on the idea of Open Laboratories and Experimenting Communities (Caprani & Thestrup 2010, Thestrup 2013). 

Next Practise Labs

Next practice labs are laboratories for the next practice and are situated in the very practices they are there to change. The experimenting community has to do with the group of people involved. It has often over the years in different research projects involved children in both schools and kindergartens (Henningsen 2002, Henningsen, Jerg & Thestrup, K 2009, Støvelbæk & MediaPLAYINGcommunities 2009, MediaPLAYINGcommunities 2009, Thestrup 2014).

These different projects can be mixed groups of all ages, but what they have in common is the experiment and that everybody involved participates and learn during the process, including teachers and pedagogues. The cultural center of an experimenting community is the ability to copy and change when wanted and needed. This way of understanding the experimenting culture is centered around play culture (Mouritsen & Qvortrup 2002), creativity and meaning making (Gauntlett & Thomsen 2013), pedagogical processes in kindergartens and afterschool clubs as informal (Jessen 2004) and where children´s culture has an important part to play (Henningsen 2009, Thestrup 2013). The possible change of the use of different digital media through mediaplay (Thestrup 2012a, 2012b) is a certain area of interest.

The Open Laboratory

The open laboratory can both be a way to work and play activated wherever when needed and a certain space designed or chosen. In both cases all media, all materials, analogue as digital, and all narratives can be brought together in processes, that might result in new re-mixing or alterations (Robinson og Thestrup 2016, Thestrup & Robinson 2016). As The Open Laboratory originally is inspired by the open theatre where no kinds of theatre traditions are excluded in advance in production processes (Lehmann & Szatkowski 2001), then body, fiction and dramaturgy has a evident place in the encounter between tools. The openness also had to do with the communication with the digital world outside the laboratory itself. The internet represents both the possibility of inspiration, collaboration and investigation reaching out into the world using both synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Recent developments

Recent developments are two projects in 2016 and 2017. One is a project where pedagogues together with small children developed a practise around the use of digital media base on the use of body and play (Johansen 2017, Petersen 2017, Knudsen & Skjerris 2017). The other is a project where Danish kindergartens and an Italian kindergarten exchange narratives and cultural expressions (Lauridsen & Howard 2017). In both cases the development of new practice took place in the institution themselves using and transforming actual spaces and digital encounter to spaces of experimentation and reflection. This relates to the existing tradition in Denmark of designing the actual spaces inside the kindergartens to environments where tools, materials and creative processes play an important part in the everyday pedagogical life. 


Gauntlett, D. & Thomsen, S.B. (ed). (2013). Cultures of creativity: LEGO Foundation. Localized 07.01.2016 on

Henningsen, L. (2002). Robotterne går sig en tur/The robots go for a walk. Video documentary. Localized 30.04.2017

Henningsen, Caprani & Thestrup (2008). I det blå rum. Video documentary in several parts. Localized

Henningsen, L. (2011): Fortællende visuelle medier – introduktion og perspektiv. I M. Sørensen (Red.), Dansk, kultur og kommunikation – et perspektiv: Akademisk forlag

Henningsen, L., Jerg. K. & Thestrup, K. (2009) Billedbevægelser – medieleg i en daginstitution. Tidsskrift for Børne- og Ungdomskultur, 53. Fotoserie Ligger på Flickr: Klaus Thestrup Mediaplay, albummet: Mediaplay in a kindergarten.

Jessen, C. (2004). Uformelle læringsrum – forskningsrapport i tilknytning til IT i DUS´en/SFO´en: Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitet. Lokaliseret på, 08.05.2011

Johansen, S. L. (2017). Sådan kan tablets få små børn til at løbe rundt og juble. localized 30.04. 2017 at

Knudsen, J. & Skjerris, M. (exp. 2017).  Afrapportering Paddehatten. Report, BUPL, not published.

Lauridsen, P. & Howard, P. (exp. 2017). Cultural Exchange (working title), report, BUPL, not published

Lehmann, N. & Szatkowki J. (2001). Creative Pragmatics – a Manifesto for The Open Theatre. I B. Rasmussen, T. Kjølner, V. Rasmussen & H. Heikkinen (Red.), Nordic Voices in Drama, Theatre and Education: IDEA Publications and IDEA 2001 World Congress – Bergen.

MediaPLAYINGcommunities (2009). mediahandbook: IBAF gGmbH

Mouritsen, F. & Qvortrup, J. (ed.) (2002). Childhood and Childrens Culture: University of Southern Denmark Press.

Robinson, S.& Thestrup, K. (2016). Inside the rainbow. Localized 02.04.2017

Rönnberg, M. (1983). Skådelek och medialekar. In C. Bøgh, Småbørnsforskning i Danmark IX – Rapport fra seminaret: Børns leg i det moderne industrisamfund: Udvalget vedrørende småbørnsforskning Thestrup, K. (exp. 2017). The Narrative Encounter – How pre-school teachers and children can communicate in a global world. Palaiologou, I. & Gray, C. (ed.) Digital practices in Early Childhood Education: An international perspective, SAGE (2017)

Støvelbæk, F. & MediaPLAYINGcommunities (2009). mPc – is what you see: MediaPLAYINGcommunities. Findes også på Vimeo: Klaus Thestrup. Titel:  MediaPLAYINGcommunities

Thestrup, K. (2014).  The Fabulous Minecraft Re-mix 5.  Video Documentary. Localized 30.4.2016 on

Thestrup, K. (2013). Det eksperimenterende fællesskab – medieleg i en pædagogisk kontekst. VIA Systime

Thestrup, K. (2012a). En børnehave møder verden. Pædagogisk Extrakt, 1, 15 pages

Thestrup, K. (2012b). Kallesok er på facebook. Pædagogisk Extrakt,  1, 2 pages

Thestrup, K. Andersen, M.A., Jessen, C., Knudsen, J. & Sandvik, K. (2015). Delaftale 3: Dannelse I en digital og global verden – digitale redskaber skal understøtte barnets lærings- og dannelsesproces. Accessed on 07.01.2016

Thestrup, K. & Robinson, S. (2016). Towards an entrepreneurial mindset: Empowering learners in an open laboratory. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Kap. 8, s. 147-166 (Advances in Digital Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 2)

Petersen, A. C. (2017). Den store opdagelsesrejse for de helt små. Video documentary.  Localized 30.04.2017 on

Digital verdensborger – hvordan?

Digital verdensborger – hvordan?

Hvordan kan pædagoger og børn være og blive digitale verdensborgere? Det er et godt spørgsmål og her er ét til: Hvordan kan pædagogikken metodisk og principielt åbne sig mod den omverden, der kun er et klik væk og som allerede er en del af børnenes og pædagogernes liv? Og her er et til: Hvordan kan pædagoger og børn forberede sig på en fremtid, hvor ingen kender teknologierne, kompetencerne eller problemerne? 

Men selvom spørgsmålene står i kø og kan gøre enhver pædagog, forsker, forældre og barn svimmel, så er der også nogle svar. I 2015 var jeg projekt- og forskningsleder på delprojektet Dannelse og læring i en digital og global verden, der var en del af et større projekt ledet af Ministeriet for Børn, Undervisning og Ligestilling og KL, kommunernes landsforening. Det store projekt hed: Forskning i og praksisnær afdækning af digitale redskabers betydning for børns udvikling, trivsel og læring.

Dannelse i en global verden

I vores delprojekt havde vi 17 børnehaver, 275 børn og 31 pædagoger og konsulenter igang med at lege, eksperimentere og kommunikere. Plus en gruppe af forskere og dokumentarister.Hvis du går ind på linket her, så kan du se rapporterne fra alle 3 delprojekter, vores delrapport og 5 små videoer, som viser eksempler på en sprælsk og ligetil hverdagspraksis, der er lige til at kopiere og udvikle videre. Kig her: Digitale redskaber i dagtilbud.

Jeg har netop holdt et veloplagt foredrag om at være digital verdensborger på NKUL – Nasjonal konference om bruk av IKT i utdanning og læring i Trondheim i Norge. Her skitserede jeg både metoder og principper. Hvis pædagogikken er konstrueret til at stille spørgsmål og lede efter svar og ikke blot til at formidle svar, så ser det ud til at virke. Hvis undersøgelserne af teknologier og fortællinger bygger på det fælles eksperiment, så ser det ud til at virke. Foredraget kan du se lige her: Digital verdensborger – foredrag.

Next Practise Labs

Helt grundlæggende foreslår vi i delrapporten og jeg i foredraget en kombineret forskningsmetode, en kursusform og en pædagogisk strategi: Next Practise Labs, hvor alle får mulighed for at bidrage. Forskere, pædagoger og børn – og andre – mødes i laboratorier for den næste praksis og stiller spørgsmålet om hvordan digitale medier skal bruges. Det er det, vi er sammen om at finde ud af uanet hvilken teknologi eller hvilken fortælling, der måtte dukke op lige om lidt.

Ja, jeg mener faktisk, at disse Next Practise Labs er nøglen til at fange hvad som helst op, transformere det og sende det ud på internettet igen til andres mulige fornøjelse. Hvis vi ikke kender fremtiden, så må vi jo selv skabe den.

God fornøjelse med dine egne eksperimenter. Wherever you are and whoever you are.

Inside the experimenting community

Inside the experimenting community

When the members of an experimenting community meet it is important to be able to transform whatever they meet outside the experimenting community itself. They might meet technologies, expressions, spaces, values, people and methods they don’t know or understand in advance.

So the ability to think, develop and act in transformation processes are important. They can be between different combinations of analogue and digital processes and material. They can be between construction of a technology and a narrative and what one is actually telling and communicating. They can be between the attempt to copy and repeat and the attempt to change and improvise.

The transformation has two sides: To make the members of any given community able to grasp the outside world and to make them aware, that they are in fact communicating. How can we possibly use what we se – and how can we show them what we think and feel.

The challenge and the answer might be to establish workplaces and laboratories, whose purpose it is to transform. Anything in these laboratories and workplaces are designed to play and experiment in ways that over time make sense for those involved. The experiments can go on in each singular physical space or between workspaces and laboratories involving productive digital tools.