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An Exploration into Future Learning Environments

JOT Work by Charles Law & Edward Yen & Krupali Raiyani September 2010 - December 2010

Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design & Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Intitute


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mposable echnologies ents with ity to learn m each other ain critical s?


The following summarizes a four month research and design project targeted towards collaboration, learning, and technology use in educational environments for young kids studying in Hong Kong Primary schools. The focus of the project was to investigate how kids learned, played, and communicated with each other in order to imagine and propose a conceptual design solution involving ‘Dynamic Composable Computing’ technologies.

This project was completed through the MDes Interaction Design program at Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design with the support and sponsorship from the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Company Limited.


DESIGN TEAM Charles Law Charles is from Vancouver, Canada and attended Simon Fraser University for his undergraduate studies in Interaction Design. Before moving to Hong Kong to study at the Polytechnic University School of Design, he helped global brands such as Nike and Visa captivate their customers in new and meaningful ways. Charles believes that interaction design is a process involving deep understanding of social and cultural contexts in order to stitch together complex disconnections with delightful outcomes.

Edward Yen Edward is from Taiwan, experienced living in Shanghai for three years and later attended Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his undergraduate studies in Industrial Design. Due to his interest in user-experience studies and system design, he moved to Hong Kong to study Interaction Design at the Hong Kong Polytechinic University. Edward believes that the study of human behavior and application of cultural studies and social sciences to design can create a better life.

Krupali Raiyani Krupali grew up in Bombay, India, where she graduated in mass media studies and explored advertising and photography while discovering her passion for design. In her advertising avatar she’s put together integrated campaigns and worked on brand strategy, before channeling her skills to interaction design. Her work at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University involves solving real world problems by designing meaningful experiences. She is a keen observer of human behavior and believes that interaction design is about designing experiences that are sympathetic to human nature and context.


PARTNERS The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design The School of Design is at the forefront of applying Asian innovation to global opportunities. It is committed to sustain excellence in design education, practice, consulting and research; to harness the legacy and dynamism of Asian cultures in creating solutions for human needs; and to create strategic models for products, brands, and systems in local and global markets. The school has over 1200 students and is the only institution offering design education at the higher level in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute ASTRI was founded by the Government of Hong Kong SAR in 2000 with a mission of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness in technology-based industries through applied research. In April 2006, ASTRI was designated the Hong Kong Research and Development Centre for Information and Communications Technologies by the Innovative and Technology Commission with special goals to perform leading-edge R&D for technology transfer to industry, develop much needed technical human resources and act as a focal point bringing together industry and university R&D assets.

Fung Kai No.1 Primary School Fung Kai No.1 Primary School was founded in 1932 and is located in the Sheung Shui district in Hong Kong. It comprises of over six hundred students from primary one to primary six.


PROCESS

Introduction

Discovery

Secondary Research Prototype Iteration Participatory Design Workshop

Camera Journal Testing

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Class Observation

Student Workshops Prototyping Primary Research Synthesis

Initial Concepts


Introduction Brief 12 What is Dynamic Composable Computing? 14

Discovery Secondary Research Synthesis 18 Primary Research Outline 24 Participatory Design Workshop 26 Camera Journal 36 Class Observation 38 Student Workshops 40 Insights 43 Future of Education 44 Experience Guidelines 46

Initial Concepts 60 Immersive Environment Room Connected Pen 64

Jot Problem Statement 61 Introducing Jot 62 Eco-System 68 Values 70 Why the Pen Form? 72 Scenario 74 Prototyping 76 88 Reflections


PROJ INTROD


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BRIEF Explore the use of ‘Dynamic Composable Computing’ technology solutions within the context of local Hong Kong schools and collaborative learning. To approach the project as “researching as designing” and apply user-centric principles and methodologies during the design process. The outcome is to propose a concept demonstrating a clear thoughtfulness of research and synthesis to enhance interactivity and collaboration in and outside classrooms.


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WHAT IS DYNAMIC COMPOSABLE COMPUTING?

‘Dynamic Composable Computing’ (DCC) is the impromptu assembly of a logical computer from wireless components that are nearby - enabled by wireless links and automatically assembling networks.

Three emerging technology pillars that will support Dynamic Composable Computing: • High-bandwidth wireless communication • Effective processing • Platform sensing


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It allows us to re-think how people interact with the environment and one another.

DCC allows users to easily and seamlessly extend the capabilities of their mobile device with the nearby resources in their environment, and further allow its resources to augment other devices in the New technologies will enable electronic devices to seamlessly connect to one another and affords many new opportunities and possibilities for people to

extend the capabilities of their mobile device with the nearby resources in their environment, and further allow its resources to augment other devices in the locality.

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CURRENT HONG KONG CLASSROOMS

The Hong Kong education system has a similar system to that of the United Kingdom, and can be said to be extremely competitive by global standards. However, as more research is being done in the areas of education reform and child learning, there are new criticisms over certain aspects of the schooling system. In particular, the major critiques of the system include: Memorization as a means to evaluate Schools in Hong Kong lay great emphasis on performance in examinations and frequent tests. More importance is given to memorization and evaluation than learning itself. As Dean of Studies at the prestigious Diocesan Boy’s School, P. L. Lau,  argues “ Hong Kong students have been ‘spoon fed’ [to the point that] they don’t know how to really interact within the society” (Ye, n.d). In order to cope with the stress and demands of competitive exams, most students attend private coaching after school hours. A 2005 survey by the University

of Hong kong found that “70 percent of highschool students and about 50 percent of primary students had hired private tutors” and numbers have increased since then (NG, n.d). At various levels of schooling, major examinations determine the opening up or closing off of certain options for the student’s next level of schooling. In Hong Kong, local students take territory-wide examinations at Primary 5 and Primary 6, Form 5 and Form 7, to determine placement in upper levels of education. Depending on the results of these examinations students are allocated schools that are separated into three “Bands”, with Band 1 being the best schools (“Hong Kong’s Education System”, (n.d).  As a result of this examination culture, the approach towards acquiring knowledge is pivoted around memorization and not understanding. Teacher centered learning To branch away from rote memorization, Hong Kong educators need to go beyond traditional teacher-centred approaches in the classroom.


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In many Hong Kong classrooms, often the teacher teaches and student listens. There is a lack of group engagement due to the old thinking of the teacher as task-maker with students as their subordinates. For education reformers, “...there is a dire need to focus on individual students’ needs and self-expression” (Traditional Education, n.d.) Hong Kong has been actively promoting a student-centred approach since the 1980s but evidence show that is “mere rhetoric and has not been successfully applied” (Yeung, 2009). Teachers have expressed frustration over the the lack of substantive support from the Hong Kong government to implement changes in the system (Yeung, 2009). “The class size was too big, manpower and resources were too limited, teacher training was so inadequate. All these constraints discourage teachers to strive for more ambitious development of the pedagogy” (Yeung, 2009).

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Limited task based activities Once of the methods in creating a student centered classroom environment is through implementing task-based learning. Originally developed by N Prabhu in Bangladore, as a means to learn language, task-based learning is based “on the belief that students may learn more effectively when their minds are focused on the task, rather than on the language they are using” (“What is ask-base learning”, n.d) However, as a result of using testing as the main means to evaluate children, there is a lack of task based activities in Hong Kong curriculum education. This has been a recognized problem for over a decade, as the Hong Kong Development Council has itself written that “...learning is more effective when learners take an active role in the learning process” (Hong Kong’s Education System, n.d.), however there is little evidence to reveal the required systematic and educational content changes required to apply such a transformation.

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UNDERSTANDING HOW CHILDREN LEARN According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children ages seven to eleven are in what is known as the “Concrete Operational Stage.” Children are beginning to understand explicit and concrete concepts, but still struggle with abstract and hypothetical ones. “The term concrete does not mean children must see or touch actual objects as they work through a problem, but implies that the problems they deal with at this stage involve objects that are identifiable and directly perceived or imagined.” As a result children learn best from and about things that they can understand firsthand, through trial and error, and are constantly sorting objects based on their properties and relationships. At this stage, children also learn and remember better when more of their senses are being triggered, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. When considering how children learn and learn how to think critically, educators should also consider the domains outlined in Bloom’s taxonomy. Bloom outlines six domains or levels of intellectual behavior in learning: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. Knowledge, the lowest level in Bloom’s Taxonomy, is defined as remembering previously learned material. It is associated with skills such as, observation and memorization. At the top level of Bloom’s taxonomy is the Evaluation Domain. Evaluation is concerned with the ability to judge the value of a material for a given purpose. Learning at this level is highest in cognitive hierarchy since it incorporates all the skills involved in previous levels (Bellis, n.d).

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TOPICS OF INTEREST After an initial secondary research phase, we decided to focus on three key areas to begin exploring and keep track of through primary research: Learning through play Multi-sensory learning Group dynamics

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PRIMARY RESEARCH OUTLINE

Research Objective To gain an understanding as to how Hong Kong children live, learn, and interact with one another and their environments. We hope to understand our topics of interest from the perspective of primary school students, teachers, and parents. Primary Target Users Kids aged seven to twelve (Primary School) • Struggling to make sense of abstract concepts • Learn through seeing and doing. • Learn through trial and error. Secondary Users Primary school teachers and parents


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SOME EARLY RESEARCH INQUIRIES Kids learning and teaching each other • How do kids learn? • What are kids taught in school? • Who do kids learn with? • How do kids learn through play? • How do kids learn through teaching other? • How are kids encouraged to group learn? • How does multi-sensory learning work in the classroom? Kids Interests • What kinds of games do kids like to play now? • What kinds activities and interests do kids like to do outside of school? • How do kids like to interact with one another? • What kind of things do kids like to do? At school and out. • How do kids behave in presence and absence of guiding adults? • What influences their interests? Kids outside of school • What do kids do outside of school? • How do they spend their time with family and friends? • What do kids learn outside of things they learn at school?

Teachers and School Environment • What is the teacher student relationship like? • What are the responsibilities of a teacher? • What are the teaching tools used in a classroom? • How does a teacher support students at an individual level? • Is there any learning outside the class? How? • What are the teacher’s goals and priorities? • What is the school environment like? • How do students spend their time in school? • How involved are parents with the school? Sharing • How and what do kids share? • Sharing habits? Technology Use • Technology habits. • Internet habits. • Online interactions. Media • Media consumption habits • Media creation habits • Adaptability to new media • Education through media?

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PARTICIPATORY DESIGN WORKSHOP What

Participants

To engage four primary school kids with a series of activities, in order to begin an understanding of our topics of study in a three hour participatory design workshop. We designed four activities that tested our initial assumptions about our users and their environments, to express themselves without inhibition about our topics of interest, and hoped to inspire creativity and imagination through sketching, drawing, and brainstorming.

4 kids total. International Students. 3 kids aged 10 in primary 3. 1 kid aged 7 in primary 1.


Participatory Design Workshop Activities Spin the Bottle Day in the Life Card Sorting Group dynamics


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PARTICIPATORY DESIGN WORKSHOP Activity 1

Spin the Bottle What

Why

An ice breaking game to get to know the participants better while setting the mood of comfort among the participants.

Kids get nervous when they meet strangers and especially adults. Making them feel relaxed and making friends with them is important in establishing trust and being able to participate in their natural habitat and activities.

Questions were framed with an element of fun and prepared on cards that players took turns to pick and answer. Our team participated along with the informants in order to build an atmosphere of ease and trust through the course of the rest of the workshop.


Results Kids did not feel that they are having an interview but rather like they were playing a game. They were very to answer questions and felt comfortable in conversing with our research team. We found this to be a great method to ask formal questions to kids in an informal way. In fact, our participants did not want to stop playing but due to time constraints we had to move onto the next activity. This game allowed the research team and participants to become familiar with each other and subsequently allowed both sides to converse and communicate informally and easily, which helped us when completing further activities. Aside from gaining information based on the kids answers to the questions in this activity, we started realizing the power of game mechanics, and how to engage through ideas involving play.


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PARTICIPATORY DESIGN WORKSHOP Activity 2

Day in the Life Card Sorting What

Why

An exercise to map the activities and feelings of a typical day of our target user. Our participants were asked to arrange a series of cards representing objects, actions, places, people, and interactions involving their daily routine. Pre-written and blank cards with pens were provided to allow flexibility in sorting and communicating their expressions.

To identify and prioritize elements to focus on and further address. After our team’s journey framework brainstorming exercise we realized that a better grasp of the everyday life a child’s school day was required. Through this activity, we wanted to compare our assumptions to the results of our participants card sorting. Their organization and actions will reveal expectations and priorities about our interested topics of study.


Results This was one of the most fruitful activities during the workshop. While the activity yielded a rather generic glance at the activities of our participants daily lives, through the execution of this method the research team was able to communicate, interact, and consider the behaviour of our participants and how they worked together as a team to accomplish this task. Through this activity we were able to delve deeper into the lives of the kids and their feelings by asking them questions about what and why they were creating cards for and why they were moving them around. They revealed detail about their past experiences in classes, how they viewed certain activities, and provided intuitions and answers toward our topics of study. One surprising observation from this activity was how our participants loved to draw rather than write on our cards in order to express themselves. As well, the kids originally thought we were giving them origami to play with, and started to fold our cards in unexpected ways. This affirmed our prior readings regarding how kids will interact with objects in unexpected ways and it is important to design for kidsin a way that they can explore. We were encouraged by how comfortable kids were with drawing and writing, and by how much they enjoyed these actions. Through this activity, we not only learned about the daily life of our participants, but also how they acted, expressed, and communicated with their friends. These observations during this activity were important because it helped the design research team begin to become immersed in the culture of our target users.


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PARTICIPATORY DESIGN WORKSHOP Activity 3

Performance Skit What

Why

To act out and involve our participants in a future classroom role playing scenario and obtain feedback and additional ideas. The design team put on a performance set in a future classroom and demonstrated early immersive learning concepts through real lessons. For example, tablet sized cardboard cutouts were handed to the ‘students’ and were demonstrated in future learning scenarios. Participants were encouraged to follow along and voice their opinions and ideas during the skits. Other skits involved gesture based interactions that controlled the environment and various new device based ideas. As we explained and acted out different scenarios the kids were asked to imagine what they would do with the demonstrated magical objects and environments.

To illustrate our ideas and concepts to kids in a tangible way. By enacting the activities, within a real or imagined context, we can trigger responses to the scenario that otherwise may not be provoked if simply imagined through words. The design team hoped to gain insight into the scenarios as well as inspiration about new ideas from the participants. It was vital to demonstrate ideas to kids through an experience in order to correctly communicate our intentions and to gauge their reactions.


Results It was important to properly communicate our ideas to the kids before they can properly inspire us, so this method was very useful to in creating an environment to focus their creativity and new ideas. During our skits, we had some instances where we did not have a working or fake prototype yet, and hence asked kids to imagine objects working in the heads. This turned out to be less effective because kids were unable to imagine scenarios if they didn’t believe that what they were holding or seeing was real, which was both surprising and disappointing. They dismissed instances that were imaginative, and hence were taken out of the scenario. However, we learned that it was only important if the participant believed that their experience was real, even if it wasn’t, so instances where we “faked” scenarios worked well and created a “wow” factor that inspired them. Through this method, one major insight was that kids were very excited and comfortable with new technologies in the classroom and were eager for interactivity in their lessons. When we demonstrated an idea where drawings could be wireless in the environment onto various walls, and successfully “faked it,” there was a moment of disbelief and the kids suddenly became very engaged in discussions and idea sharing, opening up and giving their own thoughts on future classroom scenarios as well as their current situations.


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PARTICIPATORY DESIGN WORKSHOP Key Observations • Schoolmates are the most immediate resource when kids need help. • Kids manipulate and touch objects in unexpected manners. • Strong interest in creating and consuming media. Noted Observations • When kids know there is reward, they will change their behavior. • Drawing is an excellent method for kids to express themselves. • Group dynamics changes how kids behave. • In group work, a leader will usually emerge. • Kids love to collect things. • Kids want straight answers to questions. • Kids are very comfortable with technology. • Parents like to get involve in kids learning.


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CAMERA JOURNAL What

Why

Provide participants with a disposable camera and ask them to take photos of objects and places that are important to them.

To reveal points of view and patterns of behavior about personal feelings that are not possible to obtain through design workshops or interviews. Participants 2 kids, aged 10, both in primary 4.


Results There needs to be clear instructions and constraints when giving assignments to kids. If this is not the case, the results may be difficult to parse. In our case, we presented kids with loosely defined instructions that asked them to take photos of objects and places of importance. While we did get some interesting photos, many of the kids photos were taken hours after receiving the camera. More focused instructions, and making the desired results more gamelike with objectives would probably have garnered a better result. We had hoped for diverse photos and a different look into the life from the eyes of a child. While we did get that, many of the photos taken were around or inside their home. It might also help in the future if we provided a tool that allowed kids to take photos and draw on them, such as a Polaroid camera. The limitations of the disposable camera, 24 photos per camera, turned out to be a bigger constraint than the research team originally imagined. Still, through this activity it was very noticeable that kids love cameras and taking photos. By using these disposable cameras as prizes during our participatory design workshop, it helped us focus our participants during creative brainstorm activities. Noted Observations • Love to take photos. • Amusement from object collection. • Creates stories and meanings about the things and people around them.


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CLASS OBSERVATION What

Why

Observed a general science class being taught in a computer aided room to primary four students. The design team sat in the class to obtain a first hand experience about how computers are used to teach students in Hong Kong schools.

Witnessing and capturing our target users habits, behaviors, and actions firsthand in their natural environment, in this case the classroom, is immensely valuable to ground the design team’s assumptions and thinking towards the context. Participants Class with 30 kids, aged 10 and 2 teachers.


Results

Noted Observations

Many unanticipated issues and revelations were procured from the design team through this activity. For one, we were surprised that schools were already using computers to teach many general topics through digital content software produced by various local content companies. Although rudimentary, it emphasized that teachers and students were already comfortable with e-learning and that there is a growing need to make sure that the design, experience, and interactions of such learnings be fruitful. Through observation and conversations with the students, they were more engaged with the content due to the extra layer of media and interactivity that digital learning entails. The class used Google Documents in order to share programs, which every student had to log on to in the beginning of class. This expressed a need, for a schoolfriendly content management system for teachers and subsequently for students to access digital lessons in class easily. During the lesson, there was a combination of students working individually on their computer and the teacher taking control of the class to explain and show parts of the lesson. The teacher also had control of all the screen’s in the class, which for him was important because he could focus the students when he needed to as well as show content to everyone easily. In additional to digital lessons, students all had their own workbooks that they wrote and drew on. We realized that it was very important for students to write things down, to draw, and to have something physical to study outside of the classroom.

• In many classes there is little chance to ask additional questions to the teacher. Classes are short with many students, and the priority of the teacher is to get through the lesson. • Kids were engaged with digital learning content due to animations, media, sounds, and interactivity. • There is a need for students to access digital lessons easily in class. • Teacher needs to be able to access all computer screens in the class to focus students as well as show them content easily. • Workbooks are written and drawn on for later reference. • Many students do not enjoy lecture based note-taking classes. • Students first ask neighbours and friends for help in class before teachers. • Students don’t have time in class to ask teachers questions even if they wanted to. If kid’s miss something, they have to ask their neighbour. When classes end, they have little time to go to the next class. • Students treated computer equipment roughly and playfully.


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STUDENT WORKSHOPS What

Why

Creative brainstorming and interview sessions with small groups of students in similar age groups at school. Held informal discussions about their thoughts and feelings about their current school experiences as well as discuss their ideas about new devices and tools to help kids learn. Three different sessions, filtered by age, thirty minutes each.

To obtain the viewpoints of our target users and listen to their experiences and frustrations early on in the project. The goal of the workshop was to understand what kids were going through at school and gain empathy for their struggles and real life scenarios. Participants 3 sessions with 9 kids total. Session 1 : 3 Kids aged 8 in primary 2 Session 2 : 3 Kids aged 10 in primary 4 Session 3 : 3 kids aged 12 in primary 6


Results Speaking with public school students provided the design team with a different outlook than those generated from the prior participatory design workshop with international students. In particular, the local students seemed less technologically sophisticated than the international students. Not surprising, considering the income level differences between the two groups, but it was unexpected that some students were unfamiliar with even what an iPhone was. Comparing kids of different ages, we noticed that there was a large discrepancy between their attitudes, values, behaviors, and expectations about school and the world around them. With regards to school, primary two and four students were less concerned about homework and taking notes in class, rather they were encouraged by how to explore the environment and objects around them. Speaking to primary six students, who were aged twelve, they expressed the importance of homework and taking notes in class. Through this observation, we can infer that our ideas must further target specific age groups due to their diverse attitudes, needs, and interests. Regarding this research methodology, we realized a couple things to rectify if given the chance. Firstly, the school seemed to have given us their best and most responsible students. With the chance to execute this activity again, it would be recommended to specifically ask for different types of students, as to to gain a better understanding of student diversity and interests.

Noted Observations • The actions, motivations, and values of kids in different grades are drastically different. In particular, as kids get older they are more concerned with taking notes in class and memory based learning. This may be obvious, but it is an important observation to grasp in the early design stage. • In group learning, eventually someone will always take on the lead role. • The experiences and values of kids differ sometimes drastically between international and public Hong Kong schools. • Many kids don’t ask their parents if they have homework questions, but many do as well. • During class, kids prefer to ask their friends and peers before the teacher. • Many students attend after school tutorial classes. • Kids expressed interest in having better ways to follow along with the material that the teacher is going through in class. • Kids demand playful and interesting experiences. Whatever the learning material is, if it is presented in a compelling fashion, kids will be interested in it. • Kids want instant feedback for everything.


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INSIGHTS FROM PRIMARY RESEARCH • Kids have a natural instinct to explore various uses for different objects.

• Kids pick up and learn how to use something very quickly. • Kids will use an object in many different and unexpected ways.

• The idea of something physical for students to take and bring around and modify, such as notebooks and • Learning through play is workbooks, is very important. powerful. • Group dynamics : somebody will assume the lead and others will follow.

• Group learning is powerful.

• Multi-sensory experiences result in more engaging and memorable learning.

• Kids enjoy being hands on more than sitting, reading, and listening.

• For many kids, their support structure is with friends first, then parents, then teachers.

• Kids like to participate in activities with each other.

• For some kids, they cannot rely on their parents at home for homework help. • For some kids, they cannot rely on the teachers for homework help.

• Doing is learning.

• Kids form groups and there are different roles within the group. • Kids are more engaged when learning with media. • Many kids love to collect objects.


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FUTURE OF EDUCATION Steps towards education reform are creating frameworks that enable students to acquire critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication skills. An education solution that is designed with these values in mind should provide tools that encourage and inspire self initiated learning, task based activities, multidisciplinary content and peer support. We believe the future of education is leaning towards allowing ‘immersive learning’ aspects over ‘passive learning’.


Immersive Learning Group participation Multi-sensory Experience the content Multi-dimensional Encourage experimentation

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Passive Learning One way Reading and listening Memorizing Single dimension Rigid structure


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EXPERIENCE GUIDELINES Inspire and engage me to learn. Interest children to explore the world around them. Teach me. Don’t tell me. Act as a guide and enable children to learn naturally with others. Don’t treat me like a kid. Deliver compelling experiences that make kids feel good about themselves. Respond to my actions. Provide meaningful and instant feedback.


INIT CONC


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IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENT ROOM What

Why

A specially designed room in schools equipped with dynamic composable computing enabled objects and displays meant to teach specially designed lessons and offer unique learning engagements for primary school students.

To allow for tangible virtual multi-sensory interactive lessons to be experienced by students. By providing an interactive environment, we wish to encourage self initiated exploration, group learning and learning through play.


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Immersive Environment Room Scenario 1

Undersea Adventure Pre-scripted undersea adventure to learn about the animals and plants that live there. The teacher acts as their guide as each student receives a tablet like device and sets forth in a field-trip like experience. Clean the Ocean Students descend down the ocean and learn about pollution in the ocean and how it affects the life there. They are given the task of picking up garbage in the ocean. Nets appear on the screen of their devices and students go around the room finding and removing garbage from the ocean, saving the life there. Learning about Ocean Predators To learn about ocean predators, they have to work together as sea anemone or else be grabbed by an octopus and be forced to start from the beginning. Through this activity students gain collaboration and communication skills as well as knowledge about sea creatures.

X-Ray the Ocean Once students successfully evade the octopus, they are given a gift on their devices and have the ability to ‘x-ray’ the ocean. From here, kids can go around the room and learn about the anatomy of various fish and sea-life with their own x-ray device.

Lean about Ocean Life Students must work together to collect information about many objects in the ocean and find out their names and definitions.

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Immersive Environment Room Scenario 2

Open Canvas The classroom is an ‘open canvas’ for students to pain, draw objects, and create their own stories by programming their own creations into the environment.

Color Mixing Kids can learn about how colors mix together while painting through mixing and matching.

Play and Paint Various dynamic composable computing devices can be used, such as soft objects to throw around to paint and effect surfaces in the environment.

Animating Objects Kids can draw objects on their device, send them to the environment, and use simple gestures to create animations and a lively environment.

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CONNECTED PEN What

Why

A dynamic composable computing enabled device in the form of a pen that allows students to open up their personal learning management system (LMS) on any enabled surface at school in order to access and manipulate digital learning material and tools. The new LMS system will include dynamic access to learning materials, personal notes, and social content all accessible anywhere at school through the connected pen and at home through a web-based interface.

To rethink the way students connect to one another, how interactive learning materials are presented and experienced, and reconfigure classroom dynamics in the school.


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Connected Pen Scenario As students enter into the classroom for a lesson, they can sit anywhere and connect to their learning management system through their connected pen on any surface. Kids simply sign their name with their pen on the surface and can summon their digital objects. This includes contextual interactive class content, community functionality with the rest of the class, and private note taking applications. During the class, the teacher has full control over everybody’s digital spaces and may either provide learning content or limit certain functionality such as social networking and sending messages to others. As well, for any assignments during the class, immediate feedback can be given to many. Desks and digital spaces may be connected together to allow for easy group collaboration between students. For example, a large area can be produced for many students who have to work together to find and draw all the constellations in the sky. Outside of the classroom, students can also share their work in common areas around the school.

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SELECTING THE CONNECTED PEN CONCEPT The ‘Connected Pen’ concept was selected for further advancement due to the scalability of the idea, impact of intended interactions, and prototyping possibilities. The ‘Connected Pen’ allows us to explore how children can: • Naturally interact with new forms of interactive learning content. • Access digital learning materials in many new surfaces and environments. • Collaborate with others both physically and digitally.

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TH CONNE PEN CON JO


HE ECTED NCEPT : OT


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PROBLEM STATEMENT Support a student centered, task based model of learning. To provide students with the opportunity to learn with and from each other in order to gain critical thinking skills.

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INTRODUCING JOT Jot re-imagines how students, teachers, and digital content will interact with one another in future learning environments. It enables access to digital learning materials and tools on many surfaces at school with the Jot pen and focuses on both physical and digital collaboration. The Jot pen acts as the direct input tool for students to access dynamic class lessons, learning materials, and community content from classmates and teachers. Students may use their Jot pen on any Jot enabled surface at school, which are represented as regular objects for kids to interact with, such as classroom tables, collaborative Jot boards, and public environment pieces. We envision the Jot pen to be used during class lessons, collaborative learning sessions, personal learning explorations, and various sharing applications in the school. Outside the school, students may access Jot content through other Internet enabled devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers. Jot enables students to naturally and creatively interact with one another with the Jot pen through engaging digitally enhanced experiences.

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Students at Fung Kai No.1 Primary School trying out a prototype of Jot for the first time. They are arranging virtual planets around to form the correct order together using the Jot pen and surface.

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Primary two students at Fung Kai No.1 Primary School playing with a sample planet coloring application.

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Sending the newly colored planet from the table to another surface.

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JOT ECO-SYSTEM With Jot, the pen and objects in the environment. The purpose of the Jot eco-system is to enable a future learning infrastructure that supports accessible engaging digital content, social networking, and physical collaboration. The students’ personal link to the learning management system is in the form of a pen, a tool that allows access to learning material and encourages creative exploration. Various surfaces in the school such as desks, tables, and boards serve as display surfaces through which the pen allows interaction with digital content.

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enable digital and p collaboration in the

off campus access future learning management system content and tools anywhere

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Jot Elements Users Primary school students. Jot Pen Dynamic composable computing enabled pen for each student to connect and digitally write on surfaces at school to access digital learning content.

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Jot Enabled Surfaces Access digital learning content with Jot Pen around the school. Jot Learning Management System Cloud based content management system that stores and allows access to learning materials, tools, and community elements. Internet Devices Enables access to Jot Learning Management System outside of school without the Jot Pen or Jot Enabled Surfaces.

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JOT VALUES Engaging Content

Accessibility

Jot is a platform that allows educators and content providers to rethink how to deliver learning material to children. To captivate and capture a child’s imagination, content creators must go beyond simply digitizing current learning materials for screens. Lessons should be designed to allow student participation, peer collaboration, instant feedback, reward based learning and high levels of engagement. Jot is both a system and interaction platform to support new and meaningful learning experiences.

Engaging content is only meaningful if it can be accessed anywhere and everywhere. The Jot concept extends digital learning content access outside the classroom into other school environments through digitally enabled surfaces. At school, students only need a Jot Pen, and outside, any Internet enabled device can connect to their personal learning management system.


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Enabling Collaboration The primary focus for this project was to focus on how technology can enable real collaboration between students to express their creativity, solve problems, and learn with and from each other. Jot emphasizes both on digital and physical real world collaborations.

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Balance between Digital and Physical It is important not to restrict and push interactions towards screens and digital objects alone. Jot is designed to encourage real world interactions between people and in the tangible environment. At the same time, with Jot, students and teachers enjoy tools and content that are more enabling and enriching than the present day books and learning material. Jot balances the advantages of better feedback, control, access,and interactivity of the digital with the advantages of tangible and interpersonal interactions in the physical world.

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WHY THE PEN FORM? The pencil and pen form has been a vital tool humans have used to communicate for centuries. It is a crucial instrument that aids not just writing, but also thinking and creative expression. Over time, with the advent of the personal computer and digital devices for many uses, we have replaced or supplemented the pen with keyboards and touchscreens. We believe that a keyboard or a screen based input and interaction system does not allow the same level of comfort and creative freedom as the pen does. We wish to propose a pen plus touch based input system that imitates the experience of using pen and paper. Finger based touch interactions are efficient for non-precision based actions such as moving and pushing digital objects. However, the pen permits both freedom and precision with regards to activities such as writing, sketching, drawing, and controlling digital objects. The freedom and instinctiveness of using a pen is an experience that is comfortable to humans.

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SCENARIO Rumming is a grade 3 student at Fung Kai No.1 Primary school. On school days, she brings her Jot pen everywhere. It contains all her digital books, notebooks, schedules, everyting she needs. When she gets to class she can use any table as her Jot surface. All she needs to do is write her name on the table and then her class lesson, notebook, and school tools appear. During class, Rumming follows along on her desk as the teacher shows her various videos, photos, and interactive graphics. She likes how there is no need to write down everything the teacher says. Jot remembers and records what was talked about in class. Rumming has to find a partner to learn about the order of the planets by playing a game. Tom and her work together to solve the puzzle. After solving the puzzle, they both got a new clothing piece for their digital avatar, a spacesuit! Rumming is very excited and uses it right away. Next, she is working in a large group to find all a constellations. She helps to find Orion’s Belt and saves it to her pen. After class, Rumming excitedly goes to the school sharing wall to show off her new finding to her classmates. Back home, although Rumming cannot use her Jot pen, she can still access Jot content through her laptop to see all her school materials and notes. She enjoyes to help her classmates with any questions they might have and share what she did in class with her mom.

View video online: http://bit.ly/iiaJLz

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PROTOTYPING What

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To prototype and test the Jot concept on ourselves, peers, kids, and teachers.

To enable pen based interactions with digital elements on surfaces, we made use of available software to connect infrared pens to a surface. We were inspired by Johnny Lee’s low cost multi-point interactive whiteboard Wiimote program and eventually settled on a program called Smoothboard to track our infrared pen’s inputs. We projected interactive Adobe Flash created digital prototypes onto various surfaces to test and used both custom made and commercially produced IR pen’s as the direct manipulation input method.

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Pico Projector

Infra Red Sensor (Wii Remote)

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Making of IR Pen.

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Using the Wiimote to capture the IR pen and send to the computer.

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Demonstrating the Jot prototype to a primary school teacher.

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Primary three students drawing with the Jot prototype.

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Observing primary two kids using the Jot prototype.

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Testing the sketch interface.

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SKETCH UI What

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To prototype and test the Jot concept on ourselves, peers, kids, and teachers.

We created our prototypes in Adobe Flash due to the interactive elements we needed to portray, such as a planets alignment game and painting planets with our input device, the IR pen.


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REFLECTIONS Charles Law This project was a lot of fun for a variety of reasons. First, to have the freedom to dictate our own design process proved to be valuable and allowed us to really become immersed into the project. Taking the time to talk to both our users and stakeholders, hold participatory design workshops, observe local school class lessons,, and then to later be able to test our early prototypes with kids and teachers in a school environment was enriching to take in. The time spent with our users, both primary school children and teachers, yielded a lot of thoughtful insights and really assisted our level of empathy and understanding during brainstorming and design sessions. While many insights seem obvious in hindsight, being there really allowed us to truly believe it. This project affirms to me the importance of designers being apart of first-hand research related activities because by being there when users ‘do it’ really makes a big difference. Through time spent with kids and classrooms, I also saw first hand some of the flaws regarding the current education system and platform in Hong Kong, and how drastic change is needed. There is not nearly enough emphasis on task-based learning, and at the primary school children age, this is a travesty. Adding in new technology will not remedy this issue, there needs to be a fundamental philosophical shift towards education reform in how we teach kids in the classrooms, and assign them learning activities outside the school. As well, the teacher is more important than ever, and any technological proposals in the classroom have to assist them to better do their job. For them to work with kids in their education, rather than as the primary task-maker. The idea of Jot is to re-imagine how students, teachers, and digital content will physically interact with one another in a future learning environment. I think that we achieved some breakthroughs in interaction, especially with how kids could interact with one another, in groups, and with educational content in the classroom. A project like this requires many iterations and trials in order to progress from idea to reality, but I believe we have laid the initial groundwork and proved through our prototype that the physical manipulation of digital content in the classroom is highly engaging, and that there are many possibilities around how this content could be delivered and experienced.


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Edward Yen “Design thinking is changing our culture, not only in its external manifestations but in its internal character.” “The Idea of Design”, Victor Margolin and Richard Buchanan I used to be an industrial designer designing products. Those products I designed are based on an actual problem. However for this project, we don’t know the situation of primary school education in Hong Kong, we don’t know is there any problem or not. We have to go to school to obsreve and hold workshops with kids, learning their life and to define the problem which is a breakthrough for me. Due to our target is primary students, we design workshops instead of formal interview to learn their life and how they learn both in school and off school. What we found interesting is during the workshop, how they express themselves and communicate with other student. It is because of us, designer, joining the research in person can learn their behaviors. Doing research in person helped us define the problem and more importantly created a passion to keep doing the project because we believed that our design could really help and improve what we experienced about their current situation. After coming up with the idea, we prototyped our concept and created some sample content to testing on kids and teachers. When we saw how they used the prototype and were delighted in doing so, we gained confidence for our design concept. As well, we were able to quickly incorporate their advice to improve our prototype quickly. Without a prototype, it is difficult to let users understand our design and obtain useful feedback. The Jot project lasted for four months, during which we went from defining the problem to the concept solution. I learned how to apply various design methodologies to apply to my next projects. Lastly, I appreciate working with two great partners, Charles Law and Krupali Raiyani. I learned a lot from them especially how to work as a team and their specialities.

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REFLECTIONS Krupali Raiyani Jot has been one of the most fruitful projects that I have participated in. Creating something for a target group that we knew so little of, has taught me not just about technology for kids but more about the process of discovering relevance in design. This project has been process oriented, with the aim of understanding the needs and existing behaviour and letting the desired experience guide our design thinking. Our team has been fantastic to work with, each with our own strong approaches and opinions, proactively taking up roles individually and together. Our compatibility helped us arrive at a common vision which was crucial to making a strong concept. Jot developed from the recognition of the fact that kids learn from each other, and learn by doing. There is a need to support collaboration, participation and engagement in learning activity. The system in schools needs to shift from passive receiving of information to immersive learning that is student-centric. Jot supports these values by allowing access to engaging tools that support digital and physical collaboration, and encourage greater participation in discovering knowledge together while supporting individual development. Jot embodies these principles by allowing access of digital learning tools on physical objects in the school environment through the Jot pen. Designing for kids has brought forward new challenges. We discovered creative ways of arriving at insights, and learnt to modify our research to suit their lifestyle. The constraints of the project brief were taken as a challenge and were interpretated as facilitators of new behaviour. We broke down the technology of Dynamic Composable Computing into meaningful actions that it can support. We stepped back from requirements and understood the gaps in the education model and kid’s learning behaviours first, and then applied the values of the technology to the opportunity gaps. Once conceptualised, prototyping and testing the idea was important to us. We were able to communicate the bigger picture of the proposed solution effectively by demonstrating a working prototype. Seeing school children pick up the use of Jot effortlessly was the truly rewarding.


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SECONDARY RESEARCH REFERENCES Bellis, M. (n.d.). Benjamin Bloom - Critical Thinking and Critical Thinking Models.Inventors. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://inventors.about.com/library/ lessons/bl_benjamin_bloom.htm Bloom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom Brock, M., & Walters, L. (1993). Teaching composition around the Pacific Rim: politics and pedagogy. Made in Hong Kong: An Imperialist Rhetoric and the Teaching of Composition (pp. 28-29). Clevedon: Multilingual Matter. Children’s Websites: Usability Issues in Designing for Kids (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox). (n.d.). useit.com: Jakob Nielsen on Usability and Web Design. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/children.html Druin, A. (2009). Mobile technology for children: designing for interaction and learning. Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers/Elsevier. Hong Kong’s Education System. (n.d.). Study HK. Retrieved December 2, 2010, from studyinhongkong.edu.hk/eng/01hkesystem.jsp Lazaris, L. (n.d.). Designing Websites for Kids: Trends and Best Practices - Smashing Magazine. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://www. smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/27/designing-websites-for-kids-trends-and-best-practices/ Life as a teacher. What is Task-Based Learning?. (n.d.).life as a teacher . Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://teachingenglishzone.blogspot.com/2007/12/what-is-task-based-learning. html NG, Y. (n.d.). In Hong Kong, Cram School Teachers’ Image Rivals Pop Stars’ - NYTimes.com. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/business/global/01iht-cramside.html Pong, W., & Wong, J. (2002). On the pedagogy of examinations in Hong Kong.Teaching and Teacher Education, 18(2), 139-149. Radio Johnny (2010, August 16). Debral Gelman on Designing Digital Experiences for Children. Podcast retrieved http://johnnyholland.org/2010/08/16/radio-johnny-debra-gelman-ondesigning-digital-experiences-for-children/ TED Talks (2010, July). Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education. Podcast retrieved http:// www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html


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Thomas, R. M. (1979).Comparing theories of child development . Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co.. Traditional education. (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Traditional_education Ye, F. (n.d.). Hong Kong Education: All Change. HK Stories - JMSC - HKU. Retrieved February 22, 2011, from http://www.hkstories.net/fall2010/?p=6805 Yeung, S. (2009). Is student-centered pedagogy impossible in Hong Kong? The case of inquiry in classrooms. Asia Pacific Education Review,10(3), 377-386.

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SPECIAL THANKS The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design Project Supervisors Dr. Xiangyang Xin Michael Lai Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Primary Contacts Tristen Zhou Rainie Wang Client Supervisors Chao Shen Chang I.S. Tang Albert Lau Christina Chan Edward Lor Fung Kai No.1 Primary School School Staff Liu Chi Leung Wong Tak Yin Students Chan Ching Ho Siu Lok Hang Wong Ka Suen Chan Chun Ho Chu Tsz Yan Wong Lai Kit Leung Chak Yin Chong Yee Lam Workshop Participants Ruomin Xin Qingzhu Xin Jason Au Argus Chiu Video Narration Ruomin Xin And to everybody else who also helped out, thank you!



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