So Much Accomplished! Still a Ways to Go…

Where has the time gone? A LOT has happened since the last update we’ve done but here we go…


5Softs (an informal update about the project to the ETC faculty two weeks before finals) was the first major hurdle the team went through since halves  and all things considered, it went very well! Better than expected! As a team, we had kept noticing that a number of faculty still couldn’t quite understand two things about our project and this was impeding their ability to really focus on our discoveries, research, and deliverable. Not wanting this mentality to be in place during finals, we made sure to address these issues during our softs presentation:

  1. Why was the ETC taking on this project when the subject matter seemed better suited for students studying psychology, education, and/or childhood development?
    1. We explained that yes the subject matter (facilitating family unit learning) was a new one for the ETC to tackle, but we felt that understanding how to make families comfortable in any space was important for experience designers interested in Themed Entertainment (which the ETC deals with on a regular basis) to know and work with. Additionally, this was an area that the MAKESHOP was struggling with design wise.
  2. Why was the ETC taking on this type of research and discovery project? (Note that the research projects the ETC had and continues to take part in are ones that produce a deliverable you can play with: A 360 degree virtual film, a game with a brand new mechanic, etc. Aristeia’s “type” of research project is one that produces papers.)
    1. We explained that when the ETC announced its intention to start branching into this type of research, our client felt that the areas the MAKESHOP needed to expand upon (Family Unit Learning, Transmedia, and Personal Narrative) would be perfect for the ETC to handle because of its background and expertise. Due to the nature of space, the answers and insights for those three areas could only come from this “type” of research project.
    2. The MAKESHOP is a long time client of the ETC. While they had been happy with past projects, they had challenges in maintaining the installations due to time, hardware updates, damage from children, and the space itself constantly evolving. For this next project, they definitely didn’t want a flashy, digital product.
    3. We also explained that in a sense, we are producing a “paper” but in the format of an archetype model and designer’s brainstorming cards.

4Once we got the above two settled, the faculty members who were having trouble understanding who we were and what we were doing had no problem understanding what and why we were producing our deliverable the way we were. They were very warm and receptive to our tool kit and were very happy with where we were going. After spending the semester  trying to address their concerns (which they were right to have all things considered) this was a good breakthrough.

The Deliverable:

Production wise, we are in a very good spot for nearly the end of the semester. Our model and cards have passed the inspection of our client (they match the mentality of the MAKESHOP), the teaching artists (the content best reflects what they observe and aids them in having meaningful conversations on family unit making), and ETC faculty (they are new, relevant, and can serve as an important tool for organizations outside the MAKESHOP when designing educational, exploratory, and interactive spaces). We will be spending the rest of this week and the next tweaking the guidelines and discussing how to best present our deliverable, stat findings, and model at finals.

The Workshop:

IMG_3256The workshop was performed this week went over very well. The teaching artists, our client, and our advisor Shirley Saldamarco who came to observe, wished that it could have gone on longer than the limited amount of time our group was given to work with (it’s not really conductive to run a professional development workshop with hundreds of highly energetic kids running about after all). There is definitely talk of using our entire tool kit in the future for professional development workshops (that they will run themselves), group staff meetings, and for solo use. Yay!!!!

The Website:

The website is nearly complete on our end. We have finished the promo and have completed the filming and editing of the in-depth video about the project. Kirsten, who happens to be a trained sound designer will be taking all the audio to clean up but it should be posted by the Monday of finals week.

The last section that needs to be added is the Deliverable Tag in which we will be posting our entire tool-kit after the final minor edits to be completed this week.

The Future:

With finals week next week, Aristeia has talked about what our toolkit could possibly look like in the future. After talking amongst the team and other faculty, there definitely seems to be enough interest on all sides to further the project.  Several options have been suggested, mostly ranging between writing an academic paper and just getting our tool kit in front of as many people as possible.  Over the rest of the semester, the team will be discussing what the future of this project could entail with our client, and if any additional changes may be needed to the cards.

Overall, the team is very proud of and excited about our toolkit and we can’t wait to share it!

See ya’ll at finals! Cheers!