The bid to transform education with the inclusion of 21st-century skills in the school system lays an emphasis on hands-on project-based learning and tinkering. Often such learning activities involve teaching children creation of artifacts that extend beyond lending personal meaning to themselves, as objects that are designed for use by others. It is imperative that making such objects is motivated by an empathetic understanding of the needs of the eventual users of these objects. This paper discusses the conduct of a workshop that teaches user-centered design principles to eighth graders by engaging in maker activities aiming to develop such an understanding of their users in children. The workshop engages the children in dialogue with users and teaches the children to create objects that fulfill the users' expressed needs. Furthermore, to engage them in collaborative-learning, the children were guided to create a boat by up-cycling waste plastic bottles. They then rowed it out in a pool to test it for its functionality. The workshop has led to an increased sense of general self-efficacy in the children that was measured by the conducted pre-workshop and post-workshop surveys. © 2018 IEEE.
V. Susmitha, Akshay, N., Vennila, V., Muraleedharan, A., Nair, R., Alekh, V., M. Yildiz, A., and Rao R. Bhavani, “All aboard for the joy of making! teaching user centered design and tinkering to middle school children in India”, in Proceedings - IEEE 9th International Conference on Technology for Education, T4E 2018, 2018.