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Week 5 News

Weekly Newsletter for 2/17/2012

This Week from Digital Dream Lab!


We had quarter walk around presentations this week, where faculty and staff are invited to join us in our project room for an overview of our work. This provided us with a lot of great feedback about the research we have done, the mechanic we have chosen, and learning concepts we hope to convey. We received a lot of great advice about questions we were struggling with surrounding our project:

• Think about what actually happens when the child enters the space
• How long is the experience?
• What is the takeaway?
• How do get from a simple construction to the more complex concepts
• What concepts are we trying to teach?

Client Feedback

We had quarters on Monday, and that left us with some time to brainstorm before meeting with the client. We reigned in the scope from teaching programming to looking at the concept of variables and logic, as well as the idea of illustrating concepts through problem solving. We also hit upon the idea of using templates to illustrate learning examples, as well as simple tutorials of how to use different blocks. We took the idea one step further by thinking about the templates as Mad Libs to tell stories.

The Makeshop seemed excited by our direction, and were happy that we started pulling in the scope. They were also very enticed by the idea of “leveling up.”

Temporary Installation

We also met with some of the facilitators this week to discuss a temporary installation that will allow us to prototype and play test throughout the semester. We have an approved budget from our advisers, equipment ordered, and an agreed upon plan with the Makeshop for moving forward.  We will be installing next week, with a planned play test next Saturday.

Learning Concepts(SCOPE!)

The rest of the week was dedicated to answering a lot of the tough questions that were posed during quarters. After whittling down our scope to working with variables and logic, we honed tried to hone in on an even more specific topic, which is introducing what a variable is to children. We stormed hard throughout Friday afternoon, and determined that we had to start with “Hello World!” before even getting to variables.

Through storming the harder questions that we received during quarters, we have come to understand that our scope is too large. We are dialing in on the bite sized chunks that can be answered and implemented for the quarter.

Next Week

• Begin pushing assets through pipeline for review with Makeshop and museum
• Get equipment installed in the space, and prep for our first play test next Saturday!
• Prep different block sets to test shape, color, and connection
• Ensure that the system operates on the rules that we have laid out
• Continue researching exhibits that have solved some of the technical issues that we face
• Start specifying equipment for the final installation