Browsing articles in "Literature Reviews + Responses"
Nov 22, 2011

Summer Into Dust: The Arcade Fire + Chris Milk

(Start at 8:56)

Many small, discrete brains talking and dancing together as a collective force. This is my vision (at a grand scale) of the type of behavior I would like to see at the end of the curriculum. Aside from “harder” concepts in science, computer science, electricity, etc., I would also like this to foster conversations around themes related to history, philosophy, psychology, etc. Emergence, for example, has been a large conceptual force in my thesis since the summer. How can known behavior and rule sets reveal patterns of beauty and complexity? Can we really control the systems we design?

Oct 3, 2011

Guiding Principles for Construction Kits for Kids

Some Reflections on Designing Construction Kits for Kids [1]
Mitch Resnick + Brian Silverman

1. Design for Designers
2. Low Floor and Wide Walls
3. Make Powerful Ideas Salient – Not Forced
4. Support Many Paths, Many Styles
5. Make it as Simple as Possible – and Maybe Even Simpler
6. Choose Black Boxes Carefully
7. A Little Bit of Programming Goes a Long Way
8. Give People What They Want – Not What They Ask For
9. Invent Things That You Would Want to Use Yourself
10. Iterate, Iterate – then Iterate Again

1. Mitchel Resnick and Brian Silverman, “Some reflections on designing construction kits for kids” (ACM Press, 2005), 117-122,

Oct 3, 2011

Bloom’s Taxonomy

I found this diagram of Bloom’s Taxonomy a few years back and still think it is the best hierarchy and explanation I have seen:

For those of you who aren’t familiar, a group of educators created Bloom’s Taxonomy in the 1950′s to classify and standardize scaffolding learning objectives:

It refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). Bloom’s Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains”: Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as knowing/head, feeling/heart and doing/hands respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.

It is still very much in use and considered a backbone of sorts to curriculum development and assessment. Bloom’s will be an essential reference for contextualizing my thesis in formal and informal learning environments (though I think I am sticking with the latter) and for evaluating the growth of participant-learners.

Oct 2, 2011

Interview Reflections: Cecilia Elgeuro

Cecilia Elguero is an artist who focuses on the intersection of fine art, computation, and materials. She has a background in film, electronic music, and graphic design, but has most recently been working with paper and porcelain. Graduating from MFADT in 2010, Cecilia has been key in expanding the Parsons e-textile movement outside of its fashionable tech focus. In spring 2011, Cecilia co-taught Soft Circuits and is currently teaching Soft Circuits 2. The difference between the classes is the substrate focus, which in turn changes the whole methodology and approach to constructing: the spring focused on sewing circuits with fabric and thread, while the fall is focusing on silkscreening circuits with paper and conductive ink.

Pre-Interview Planning

My objective in this initial interview with Cecilia was to question her about her own thesis process and to hear her thoughts on the state of the soft circuit field today. Since I will be meeting with Cecilia a few more times over the course of thesis, I wanted to focus more on her and her perspective as an expert, rather than immediately ask her for feedback on my initial concepts.

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Sep 30, 2011

Interview Reflections: Scrapyard Challenge

For this first round of interviews, I decided to speak with Katherine Moriwaki, an assistant professor in AMT and Sam, a first year MFA Design and Technology. Both participated in the Scrapyard Challenge workshop held on Sunday, Septemeber 25, 2011. I participated as a second year helper.
Scrapyard Challenge is a workshop Katherine and her husband Jonah created to assemble gathers participants of diverse ages, backgrounds, and levels of expertise to “build simple electronic projects (both digital and analog inputs) out of found or discarded “junk” (old electronics, clothing, furniture, outdated computer equipment, appliances, turntables, monitors, gadgets, etc..).” [1] This is largely pertinent to my thesis because of its focus on emergent learning through creative making.

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Sep 19, 2011

Shape Changing Interfaces [Coehlo+Zigelbaum]

Recently I have been trying to tease out the distinction between tangible interfaces and the concept of computational composites. The latter is quite elusive to grasp as a whole, largely because its conceivers didn’t provide the best examples. They were overbearing, clunky, and a tad too conceptual for my tastes. That being said, the theoretical foundation propping these prototypes up is brilliant and I still find much to take from it.

Lately I have been very inspired by the work of Marcelo Coehlo, especially his work around SMAs and paper-based computing. This particular paper he wrote with Jamie Zigelbaum crystallized some of the ideas I had thrown around, in particular how to define a computational composite and whether I should rethink that term. Continue reading »