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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?
The most important takeaway from this presentation and critique is nailing down who it is for (teacher or student), where it will be implemented (in school or after school) – these are crucial questions I did not answer in this presentation, and Ryan’s critique made me realize that I needed to return to these as I move forward with my proposal. I believe his specific words were “those are key decisions that you’ll have to make that will have a big impact on what your project is.”
Here’s upshot: Continue reading »
Liz Taylor and I ran a soft circuits dorkShop a couple weeks back to introduce beginner p comp students to alternative materials. We had a great turnout and some really interesting projects emerge:
Here is a link to the G doc presentation with materials, notes, etc.
This workshop will give beginner physical computing students an introduction to using soft materials in their projects. They will learn how to make and implement different forms of soft switches and variable resistors in both paper and fabric form using Arduino. This workshop is a great supplement to their current/flourishing knowledge of physical computing: since they will actually be making the components they use on a daily basis, thereby giving them a deeper understanding and insight to the practice of building circuits.
The informal learning dynamic duo at Institute of Play (IOP) held a playtest on Friday of a new program they are piloting for Short Circuit: Green Machine. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to observe their methodology of program implementation and to talk with other informal educators who are focusing on designing programs around technology, engineering, design, sustainability, and more. Continue reading »
Short Circuit is an afterschool program run by the Institute of Play at Quest to Learn that was piloted in the fall of 2010. It “is an informal hands-on laboratory for participants to explore and discover innovative uses for physical and digital materials, like circuits, conductive inks, LEDs, the latest programming languages, paper, pipe cleaners, iPads, video, audio and websites.” 
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Click on the image to download my midsemester design journal. I took a slight turn following the completion of this journal, and this document contains more information and general pontification concerning organic user interfaces.
Last Tuesday, October 15, myself and two Trans Design students held a Design Jam workshop for Mobility Shifts. It was the culmination of a three month research project we undertook in partnership with Eyebeam and Digital Democracy to research gaps that currently exist between education stakeholders, specifically middle school teachers and students, and different technologies. Initially we sought to identify effective tools and methodologies to increase the digital literacies of our stakeholders. We conducted an exhaustive review of the most innovative programs, schools, and curricula utilizing technology in learning spaces, documented observations from personal experiences in the field, and interviewed experts on their perspective of technology’s role in the classroom and in informal learning spaces.
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