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Thesis Defense - Hendrix

Popup Workshop: Computationally Enhanced Paper Engineering for Children
Computer Science PhD Candidate

Computational enhancement of craft work has been attempted for a variety of crafts. These comprise an unusual branch of software development because of their relationship with physical objects produced by users. One craft which has seen no general computational enhancement usable by children is paper engineering. Paper engineering is the production of pop-ups, 3-dimensional forms that pop into shape when a page is opened, and that fold away when the page is closed. This is an interesting craft for children since pop-up books have become a mainstay of children's culture, and have many applications in teaching mathematics, writing, and art.

This dissertation describes the design, implementation and testing of a software application, Popup Workshop, that was designed to enable children to learn how to make pop-ups. Features of Popup Workshop include the ability to make a variety of pop-up elements, the automatic enforcement of the geometric constraints necessary to keep the elements smoothly foldable and allow for changing elements, and the use of a constraint system to allow animation of the 3D representation of the pop-up being designed.

A framework of craft learning and practice is developed consisting of the competencies of knowledge, skill and appreciation. This framework is applied to paper engineering to guide the design and testing of Popup Workshop and to assess the changes seen in five young paper engineers who used the software.

Committee: Michael Eisenberg, Associate Professor (Chair)
Tamara Sumner, Associate Professor
Clayton Lewis, Professor
James Martin, Professor
David Webb, School of Education
Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:20)