About HiLo

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HiLo /’haɪ-loʊ/ stands for High Tech Low Cost

High Tech Low Cost is a research project that connects digital computational thinking practices to the social, cultural, and historical worlds of young people.  We use the term High Tech Low Cost for projects that use low-cost digital tools while engaging in high-complexity thinking and creating. We believe that cost shouldn’t be a barrier for meaningfully including technology in creative learning. The purpose of the project is to expand young people’s interest in science and computational thinking practices that represent  their lives and interests outside of the classroom. We have spent the last several years designing high-tech, low-cost science, engineering, and art projects that after-school educators and families can do with young people.

We have developed:

  1. Curriculum guides to support educators as they introduce low cost digital making practices in their after-school programs. The guides are meant to inspire thoughtful adaptations and reinventions of projects that will resonate with youth in developing their artistic, historical, cultural, and scientific interests. 
  2. Bilingual science videos that young people and families can watch at home in order to build science projects together. The videos are a response to the pandemic and aim to support families and young people in building low-cost science projects using material that many people have at home or in their community. They are also meant to be inspirations for families to take projects in new directions that are meaningful to them.
  3. Research articles related to equity and pedagogy in after-school communities.


We are a group of educators, artists, computer scientists, and researchers who value science and art as a way of understanding and acting on the world in order to improve our futures. Our team hails from after-school programs, museums, universities and art studios across the U.S. Funded by the NSF, our aim is to create and seed projects that center the expertise of community educators of color in the design of new high-tech low-cost making projects.

If you want to know more about our partners, visit our Partners page. 


Our team has been working with young people across three different after-school programs in California and Colorado as we developed new digital making practices. Centering the expertise of community educators, we developed new skills with high-tech low-cost tools, designed and reinvented projects that would support new digital making practices, and studied how young people expanded their computational thinking practices as they worked with smartphones, sewing machines, vinyl cutters, and more. Now we are ready to share what we have learned so that we can keep on learning, improving, and creating together.