During our initial observations we realised where our focus should be and this shift in focus made us create a new scenario of interest in our further studies.
Many design projects begin with an initial idea that is going to be shaped along the way, and quite possibly the initial focus of that idea will also change somewhere in the process. Our “goal” is to create an artefact that can be used in STEM courses with the hope that it can spark curiosity in the pupils.
At the current stage of this project, we are doing our initial fieldwork. We are beginning to discover distinct patterns in the way kids interact within different settings. Our main observational focus is on children ranging from 5 to 10 years of age in kindergartens, after school projects and on the playground. In all of these settings the children’s curiosity and creativity peaked when they were doing projects alongside, with or near other children, in effect creating communities of practice within their own zone of proximal development.
Until now our observations has unveiled that children’s interactions are more focussed towards each other than towards the artefacts in play. They are not in need of their own specific artefact – like an ipad or crafting tool – to create a setting where they can all participate. They are more playful and creative, when working in curiosity driven projects, creating and learning together.
This calls for a shift in observational focus, from initially looking at how kids are curious and creative in general, to how they are curious and creative when interacting with each other.
How can we as designers, use the spaces children create together when they are fx sitting or laying upon the back of a couch looking at and helping a child sitting on the couch. We need to change the focus of our design thoughts to not only be an interactional artefact but an artefact that also draws on the interactions of the users when interacting each other.
Our design needs to build upon the strength of creativity and curiosity when collaborating.
How can we make an interactional design that supports the way children work together in their naturally formed communities of practice. It could be a device or devices designed for use in fx STEM courses.
The Process of our fieldwork