Explorers of Educational Design

Tag: Design

How observations changed our perspective

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.


Playing with an Ipad is more fun when doing it with someone else

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.


Blending analog and digital play

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.


One artefact – four participants

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

Ethnography in relation to design

If our focus is the rediscovery of imagination in the creation of experimental technology, how might we use ethnographic fieldwork and ethnography as scientific methods to acquire an understanding of how children play, and how artefacts factor into their play.

In this short video we will try to give our view on this matter.

If our initial question is: How might children work creatively and playfully with practical mechanics when interacting with science and nature?

What sort of settings will be a good idea to observe?

We could narrow down our focus from children in general to a specific age group or context, but that would also narrow our design potentials. So to begin with we have chosen to observe several different contexts and age groups in order to get a broader sense of how children interact and play. Also we find it important not to value one setting over another, we believe that we in this way have a better shot at tapping into the possibility of creating a design or artefact with a much broader impact range, instead of designing for just one purpose or setting.

Our idea is to observe their behaviour in general, and by analysing our fieldnotes finding the most relevant focus of our further studies.

In our different settings there will probably be an ethnographic need for different observational roles – we are very much aware of the potential pitfalls of shifting roles and enter into our fieldwork with eyes wide open.

Rediscovering imagination in experimental technology

Can design thinking and design processes help educators bring imagination into educational systems?

Let´s begin by using a collage to make visual the potentials of thinking nonlinear.

ph++ collage

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