One of the reasons why I enjoy working in this particular research group – and in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture – is the possibility to design and build prototypes.
In our academic practice we aim, not only to study and do research on learning environments and learning tools, but also to build new artifacts (prototypes, models, etc). The artifacts that are designed during the design research are a crucial part of the research results. The way the artifacts are forms part of the research argumentation.
I have above updated slide set presenting our research group. From it you’ll get an overview of the research projects we are currently involved in and some examples of the prototypes. Things are done by people — they are presented, too.
With this post I am happy to present three relatively new prototypes made in the research group. These are ReFlex, Square One and Cardboard Hospital.
ReFlex is a tool for learners to record 60-second audio-visual clips of their personal learning experiences, to store them on a timeline and to share them with teachers, peers and parents. All recordings by one learner are stored on a personal timeline and are accessible for later review. In addition to the present, learners may also create “time capsule” recordings for the future. Time capsules can only be opened when their set date is reached, and can be used as statements of learning objectives. From the entire pool of recordings, learners can mark important clips by highlighting them. The best way to get an idea of it is to try it. ReFlex is a web app and available in: http://reflex.aalto.fi
Square One is a single task dedicated learning devices designed for group work in schools. The idea is that school children could build their own device in a Fab Lab kind of facilities. In the Square One there are three kind of devices: (1) one dedicated for writing, (2) one for drawing and (3) one central piece for searching and for assembling presentations out of the content created by the learners. The central piece is a two-sided tablet, one side is dedicated for searching and the other side for assembling. The central piece comes with cameras, microphones and speakers. The writing and drawing tools are dedicated only for these tasks. You write or draw and then you send your creation to the central piece. We are currently doing the software and hardware design and looking for the components. The idea is presented in the slides below.
Cardboard Hospital is model for prototyping workshop, service design and co-design. The model was tested this spring in our Media Center Lume. In the workshops, patients, hospital staff and architects were creating ideas for the future hospital environment through physical 1:1 prototyping. The Cardboard hospital worked as a media rich learning environment for stakeholders (architects, patients, medical doctor and nurses) to discuss, negotiate, to transfer and to design new spatial, organization and process solutions. This is is presented in the video above.