This video was running on a screen at my booth at the Design Expo in May, 2015.
My paper is almost complete, as well as the prototype of CLIO that will be handed in. Theses days I'm mostly working on my presentation pitch as well as a poster that will go along with my prototype at the ECT Thesis Expo, which will be held May 15th at MAGNET (Brooklyn campus). This is how the poster is looking at the moment.
I've started translating the Axure prototype build into English. This will become the version I will hand in and present in May. I got some good feedback from my users on the learning module. Nothing Earth shattering, but that is to be expected when you do it through a computer and with a simple Google Form survey. Hopefully there's nothing I'm missing.
Now I have to work on the theoretical paper to hand it in on April 18th (at the latest). My biggest challenge at the moment is figuring out the social community section, which changed from a forum in my original idea to a database/social media integration.
The last couple of weeks have gone into working on the learning module within Clio. Today I sent it out to teacher back home in Iceland for feedback and will now start translating the text back to English to get feedback from my peers and advisor. Hoping to reshoot the videos with better background before turning the project in.
I have finally decided to build my prototype fully in Axure. There was a question about Captivate at some point, but instead I will produce the video clips and use Axure to produce the interactive parts of my design.
At the moment I am building it in Icelandic to get to my user group. The final product in May will however be in English.
In this video you can see the rough cut of the first section of the introduction video for the Historical Thinking learning module. I aim to have people from Iceland answer the same questions and edit that in.
Update: After getting feedback from my advisor the clips used in the prototype (see post above) will be much shorter. They are also thought of as rough cuts for a prototype, so I will not go into the process of requiring video interviews from Iceland at this point (as much fun as that would have been for my design).
This video explains the design behind Clio (in Icelandic) and how I, at this point, see it working as a platform. It was put together for a group of Icelandic teachers, along with feedback questions.
I intend to build my functional prototype in Axure, which will hopefully give me some room to add specific features to my design. This link takes you to my first MVP using that software. I'm pretty happy how it turned out, in its own low-key way. If you want to click through it, you can have some interaction in the "My Books" section. I will be making a short MVP video using that prototype in a couple of days, which will hopefully explain things better.
As stated before it can be a good idea to produce a very simple prototype of your product so people can understand it better and therefore give better feedback on it.
Clio - a web based collaborative environment for Social Studies teachers, will partly be a Learning Management Platform (LMP) around the Historical Thinking framework introduced by Seixas, Morton, Colyer and Fornazzari in their book The Six Big Historical Thinking Concepts. Teacher will have access to resources about the Historical Thinking concepts through video, text and activities they can use in their classroom as well as for themselves. This video is a short introduction on how I see that section functioning.
In order to get some feedback from users and fellow classmates it's best to build a prototype of the design. Instead of putting a lot of work into the prototype in the beginning, it can sometime be helpful to make a low-fidelity one to show and get feedback. Those comments/suggestions/questions can then be used to make iterations to the design before building more high-fidelity version.
In the following video you can see how the user can go through the collaboration space to get to the textbooks they are using. There they can make comments/notes and look at other peoples comments on the same text.
I jumped into the deep end by being the first one to enter the "Design Studio" in our thesis class group. I didn't show any of my ideas for the actual design but did my best in explaining the problem, my target audience and learning goals in under 5 minutes. The group had about another 5 minutes to note down learning theories, design principles and inspiring ideas that came to mind during my presentations. We had a nice talk about generally applying the learning sciences to our design process.
A friend of mine told me of a book she read about the experience of writing a thesis. It talked about mountains, valleys and forests, all in the context of getting lost or feeling like you can't go on during specific parts of your journey.
I just stepped out of a forrest, after traveling through a valley. I am aware of the mountain in front of me but at the moment it just looks pretty (as we say in Iceland: "Fjarlægðin gerir fjöllin blá"). But enough about scenery - let's talk thesis.
In the past weeks I've been busy trying to fill in the gaps about my targeted audience; social studies teachers in grades 8-10 in Iceland. I sent out a survey and as I'm writing this, 28 people have responded. I of course hope to have more responses but I do have a pattern emerging. Some of the questions are giving me the answers I was anticipating, others are surprising me (but in a good way).
My design might change, but I have decided on focusing on a learning platform where social studies teachers will be able to share notes, comments, ideas and outside links about a specific topic or chapter in a book. The social learning community will be a big part of my design, as many social studies teachers claim they are not part of a learning community in relation to Social Studies.
In terms of content I will use the ideas of Historical Thinking to bring a new idea of Social Studies education to the teachers, but the goal is to do so through an 'under the radar' approach. More on that later...
What is it? Why is it important? For whom? Am I going to work on it alone?
I aim to design a learning environment or experience that focuses on teachers’ professional development in Iceland. My reasoning is that continued education of teachers is equally (if not more) important as formal schooling that leads to a degree. Anchoring the ideas and theories to a real life experience in the classroom, not to mention being able to test those ideas right away, increases the likelihood of the learning experience having a positive effect on the participating teacher.
At the moment, there are two problems that I am interested in, but needs-analysis and the design process will determine if I will be able to address them both. If that is not the case, I will focus on the first problem.
The first one is related to the gap between cognitive science research on learning and actual lesson planning and teaching in the classrooms. This gap is a known problem all over the world but on top of that, I believe that pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is specially not integrated enough into the modern classrooms in Iceland. Through my own professional development, I have often been spoon fed ideas and tools that are based on learning theories and cognitive science, without anyone explaining in detail the research or thinking behind them. There are some courses, within the the School of Education (University of Iceland), where pedagogical content knowledge and cognitive science comes up according to syllabus, but I will have to research their content. Even if that will result in an extensive introduction to cognitive science and learning, those classes do not benefit the bigger part of the teachers working in Iceland today. Due to my experience in social science, I would focus my design on bridging the gap between what cognitive and learning science have discovered in relation to historical thinking and actually teaching the subject in the classroom.
The second problem focuses on subject teachers in grades 8-10, that have limited opportunities to interact with other educators who teach the same subject. In many cases the problem lies in the fact that there’s only one teacher for that subject in the school but other reasons can contribute to the problem. Social science, natural science and foreign languages (English and Danish) are the subjects that are most likely to fall into that category, not to mention arts and crafts. Because of the limited number of teachers, the focus of professional development is often very broad and teachers are asked to adapt their learning to individual subjects instead of having learning experiences that are aimed specially at the problems they face. Again, because I am a social science teacher, I would focus my design on that subject.
I have started working on an e-survey, which I plan to send to social science teachers in grades 6-10 in Iceland. I plan to examine two things in the survey: 1) teachers’ wishes for professional development in relation to social science and how they would like that to be conducted and 2) if they believe they have enough understanding of how their students learn history in relation to cognitive and learning sciences. The second part of the survey is turning out to be my biggest challenge at this point.
Although I believe in the power of peer team work, I don’t think this particular project would benefit from it, seeing as I my target audience is an isolated group of teachers in my home country. The only way is if a similar survey and design would be implemented for social science teachers in the home country of my fellow student. I do however believe it would benefit me to pair up with another student who was looking into the same learning theories for his/her project.
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes
the existing model obsolete."
- Buckminster Fuller
When I started pursuing my degree at the Digital Media Design for Learning program I of course had some initial thoughts about where my life was heading. You usually don’t move to another country and start a masters program without some idea of what you want to get out of it at the end. I know I’m not the first one to think that way, and definitely not the last, but one of the wonderful things about learning is the path it takes you down. Usually it’s over a period of time, so you don’t see it until you stop and look back. You wake up one day and see your chips lined up. The best things is when you realize you had most of those chips in your pocket from the beginning.
In this section of the e-portfolio I will reflect on the process of my thesis project over the next two semesters (2014-2015) . They are bound to change (as is the wonderful and sometimes frustrating thing about design) in relation to needs analysis, literature review and feedback from other people. Please feel free to give me your comments and thoughts!