Last week we learned that our original design ideas were too linear for Makeshop. The real world is a little messy, and we want to reflect that in our design while still accomplishing everything we set out to do. We’ve taken the idea of the toolbox (a place to store and sort different ideas, stuff, and processes) and turned it into the Work Station. Here, children can still store and organize things they are interested, but they can now ask the app to suggest other items that are connected to the ones they chose. So, if a child places a “hammer” in the Work Area and asks the app what could be connected to it, the app may suggest “hammering” as a process, and “nails” and “wood” as materials, and arrange them around “hammer” in the Work Area to form a “process block”. Each process block suggests everything you would need to engage in that process.. If the child asks the app to suggest something connected to the process block, the app will suggest an item that was made using that process block. If the child asks about the item, the app will suggest another process block used to make it, and so forth.
We tested this version on Saturday to see if it inspires kids to make new things. First, we asked the child what they wanted to do in Makeshop and what their favorite tools was. Then we ran through the playtest. Finally, we reminded the child that everything in our playtest was available to use in Makeshop, and we then asked them the same two questions.
Out of seven kids, only one had an idea about what she might do in Makeshop that day before running through the playtest. After the playtest, all seven kids had ideas about what they wanted to try next. Seems pretty conclusive…
Quarters happened for us on Friday. Feedback was very positive; the faculty think we are basically on the right track, and are happy that we are keeping an eye on several potential problems. Overall, they feel we are in a good place.