A Fieldnote on Student Directed PBL, Co-Design and Mentors
Participants: @MrHodgdon @Nathan_A_Austin @Victor_Pearce
Mentors: @steelemaley (Lead; eLearning and Information Studies Department) @jmandala (Network Mentor: Web Server Configuration, Internet Form, Function and History)
Sometimes the path to self directed learning in a co-designed project gets a bit blocked. Lets face it, in blended learning environments where the formal meets the informal (or even in environments where young people are unschooled) the learner may need (or) seek advice from mentors and need direct facilitation. This is not only important but essential in many learning projects where co-design is a goal. If young people know enough to ask tough questions and have allowed themselves to fail without becoming despondent (They are still pushing ahead with a design) the path to informed collaboration is clearer.
In preparation for the iLab Projects Mentor Meeting this Tuesday I asked Josh Jacobs of Mandala Designs (Mentor: Web Server Development) what he thought the project team needed at this snapshot in time.
He related that the team might take a look at their everyday use of technology to create driving questions for themselves. He related that to gain a working understanding of of the key collaborators of software and hardware and technology and how they make a users web interaction happen is foundational for understanding Web Server Development.
A small snippet of Josh from my fieldnotes:
From Fieldnote to Design: The Co-Design Experience: Learners as Users, Designers and Researchers
In order to facilitate the process of the project on Tuesday to build on what Josh Described we will use an adapted form of Context Mapping from Sanders et al. (2005):
Every user study starts with a preparation phase. Setting up the study involves the formulation of goals, planning, selecting participants, choosing techniques, etc. These elements are known by conventional research practitioners. With generative techniques, however, extra attention is needed in formulating goals. Generative research appears less formal than more traditional forms of research but its successful application rests on carefully selecting the main directions of exploration.
The next step is to sensitize the participants and prepare them for group sessions. Sensitizing is a process where participants are triggered, encouraged and motivated to think, reflect, wonder and explore aspects of their personal context in their own time and environment. A sensitizing package consisting of little activities or exercises is sent to the participants at home in the period before the session. They may get several days to weeks to complete the sensitizing package. Sensitization over a longer period, typically one or more weeks, prepares participants to access their experiences and to express and discuss these in the group sessions. The quality of the information learned in the sessions depends greatly on the depth and length of sensitizing.
A session is a meeting in which participants do generative exercises. Participants receive instructions and sets of expressive components, and create artefacts that express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Their experiences are revealed when they are asked to present and to explain these artefacts to the other participants in the group.
The qualitative data collected in the sessions are rich and diverse. The artefacts created by the participants contain many stories and anecdotes related to the topic. The stories and anecdotes are usually recorded on video and audio. Transcriptions of the verbal protocol are also made. The study is not meant to support or reject existing hypotheses, but to explore the context, uncover unexpected directions, and widen the view of the design team.
The final step is bringing the results to the design process. For the early phase of the design process, the results can both inform and inspire the design team. Conventional ‘written’ reports often fall short in communicating effectively to design teams. Techniques that are more interactive, such as workshops, cardsets, and persona displays can be used to enhance the design team’s understanding for and empathy with users.
Our Process as it Relates
As the goal setting planning and participants are embedded in this project, participants where “sensitized” using multiple asynchronous tools and impromptu meetings in school spaces. The iLab uses Project Foundry to scaffold project work through group communication, project design scope and sequence, task management and feedback loops for iteration. The participants also use Twitter for communication and sensitization. The sensitizing period for Tuesday’s session has been 4 days. The session planned will be organic and focus on mapping the user web interface backwards to web server development in hopes of queuing prior knowledge but also to formulate visuals to aid in question development and student research direction. We will most likely use either a Promethean Board, or Sketchnotes via Goodnotes App to capture the session notes. The session will also be recorded via video and Images portions will be uploaded to the web using Twitter, Blogs and or Evernote. For analysis, the participants will be asked to relate their analysis directly via blog posts and and to communicate project design iteration toward project goals and beyond to web server development.
Sanders et al. (2005). Contextmapping: experiences from practice. CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, Vol. 1 No. 2, Taylor and Francis.
Naranjo-Bock (2012) Creativity-based Research: The Process of Co-Designing with Users. UX Magazine, ARTICLE NO. 820 April 24, 2012