DIY and Hands-On Learning with Technology

Owl Popup card with conductive ink and LED
Owl Popup card with conductive ink and LED created by Diane Simpson-Little

In my role as a facilitator of learning, I always aim to develop engaging and accessible methods for conveying ideas and concepts. At the University of Sussex, we have a lovely community for sharing experienced and techniques across the university. Through the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) group, I have been able to share my methods through a variety of their venues.

As part of Sussex's Innovation Week, I ran a Electric Paper Workshop with staff to demonstrate how to create digital interactive systems with paper, ink and graphite.

If you would like to find out more about my work with Maker techniques and gamification in learning please check out the podcast and interviews below:

  • Hands-On Learning with Technology: Technology Enhanced Learning Podcast where I discuss using game design and DIY technology to create interactive opportunities for learning and engagement.
  •  #DIWSussex Makerspaces: Here is an interview of the process and opportunities for using graphite, conductive ink and paper to create an interactive experience.

 


Tousle Monster - Soft Circuit Workshop V&A

Tousles at the
All the Tousles together!

We had a lovely time running a workshop at the V&A Museum that introduces soft circuits. The participants get to create their own Tousle Monster. Tousle has one eye and a tuff of hair. The hair is made up of two sections of conductive thread separated by regular yarn. When the two sections of conductive thread are "tousled" together, they complete the circuit. When the circuit is complete an LED light in the tongue lights ups.

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The grey threads are conductive thread in two sections on either side of regular yarn. This is the "switch"to turn on the LED in the tongue.

The participants had a good time learning how to create the Tousle and conductive materials. Some of the participants created their own version in the form of a fish. Everyone went home with a working Tousle monster to show their friends. They have a new awareness of the abilities conductive materials can offer the crafting community.

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Fish version of Tousle. The tail acts as the switch.

 


Etch-a-Sketch Ardunio/Processing Workshop

Etch-a-Sketch success for Lycée Eugene Livet students.

 

For the second year, Codasign and Lycée Eugène Livet collaborated on an Etch-a-Sketch workshop for Livet's student visit to London. The workshop is not only fun but relevant for the French students. André Cassagnes of France invented the Etch-a-Sketch.

In the workshop, I take the 25+ students through a set of lessons where they learn both Arduino and Processing. The workshop focusing on teaching how one can use serial communication to allow Arduino hardware and Processing software to talk to each other.

The end product is a system where the students use potentiometers (knobs) wired and programmed by the Arduino to draw on the screen in Processing.

This year, the students brought with them 3-D printed knobs and frames they made on their new 3-D printer and laser cutter respectively.

In addition, to learning code there is also an exchange of English/French terminology and humour in translation mishaps.

flickr: etch-a-sketch images

 


Electric Poster Workshop

Students present their LED infused paper poster.

 

Codasign and King's College collaborated to host an Electric Poster workshop for 30+ visiting university Chinese students. The university students are studying various areas in art and illustration.

The workshop was broken into two sections. In the first section, I introduced circuit design, Arduino and using conductive ink. In the second section, the students used their new found circuit knowledge to create interactive posters. They were experimental combining traditional electronics and conductive inks in their final creations. At the end, each group presents their poster.

flickr: electric poster images

 


Petchey Academy - Power to the People Project #5: Creating Thermochromic Ink Interactive Art

 

petchy

This was a collaborative project between four organization. Petchey Academy, Space Studios, Arts Catalyst and Codasign in London, UK

The project was developed as part of The Power of the People initiative by Space Studios. Codasign was brought in to provide the technology support over six weeks with the students. The students were enrolled in the school's product design class. We introduced Arduino and thermochromic ink to the students. We also designed and produced the printed circuit boards (PCB) with the students.

IMG_20140312_170813   IMG_20140313_185243

The students conceived of creating a modular image where they each took ownership of a square. When all the squares were assembled a single image was formed. One of the students drew a skyline of London. Each student was assigned a square to draw their interoperation of their section. All the images were outline with black ink. The color was applied with the thermochromatic ink. The students also conceived and designed their own button for the their square of the image.

The student programmed Arduino with a RGB LED. The programed the color for their LED when the button was pressed.

The final project was a gridded image. Each square of the image of connected to a button. When the button was pressed a LED lit up on the button and the color thermochromatic ink was heated up and became transparent. The result is the only the black outline are left.

The final project was unveiled at The Power of People #5 exhibition at the The White Building on April 2, 2014.

flickr: petchey academy images


Arduino workshop with Lycée Eugène Livet

 

french_arduino

The students of the Lycée Eugene Livet School, Nantes, France came for the second time to Space Studios as part of their annual London trip. Codasign designed a workshop for the students that combined Processing and Arduino. The school has a technology program that includes teaching Processing and Arduino. The students were a mix of experienced and newbies to both programs. There were two aims to the workshop: 1) teach how Processing and Ardunio can be used to together and 2) help the students understanding of the English centric coding language of both programs. There were two classes and the workshop was run over two days. One day for each class.

Codasign created an Etch-a-Sketch Project for the students to create. The project creating a drawing program in Processing and Ardunio to create the Physical Knobs to control the drawing on the screen. For more advanced students, who finished the project early, we introduced servos and piezos.

 

flickr: process etch-a-sketch images

 


Mobo Fashion

 

mono led bracelet  mono scarf

Mobo Fashion Pod ran as part of Quest2Learn’s after school program.  Quest2Learn (Q2L) is a New York City Public School that is focused on the translation of the underlying form of games into a powerful pedagogical model for its 6-12th graders.

 

As Q2L’s after school program, Mobo Studio is an enrichment space designed to activate kids' curiosity about creativity, design, and mobile technologies. Mobo Studio utilizes a project-based, studio-like learning environment to inspire kids to explore new topics and hone new skills. With a focus on digital citizenship, design expertise and community engagement, Mobo Studio extends Q2L's focus on tinkering, problem-solving, designing, and inventing.

 

mono qrc mobo fashion

Mobile Fashion Pod

I designed a mobile fashion curriculum for launch of Mobo Studio. I ran the Mobile Fashion Pod during the fall of 2009. The atmosphere of the pod was to create a professional environment. To reinforce the professional environment the following were put in place:

  • The students were referred to as “Fashion Professionals” (FP) by mentors and each other
  • At the first session, the FP drafted a code of conduct that was a series of guidelines that everyone signed.
  • Each session consulted the mentor and agreed on agenda that was written on the white board.
  • Each FP was assigned a task to ready the space for work: arranging tables, setting up sewing machines.
  • As new terms were introduced the FPs were encourage to use them as appropriate in conversation.
  • When conflict arose the FP came together as a group to devise a way to resolve the issue(s).

The Goals:

  • Participants be comfortable with technology: sewing machine, smartphones, building soft circuits
  • Learn industry terms regarding fashion and fashion industry
  • Concept, design, produce and user test products
  • Learn importance of collaboration and communication in the creative process

The Products:

  • Txt Scarf – A scarf with a pocket to store a phone or ipod so that the wearer could access the phone undetected. An added bonus is that it also served as a way to carry the phone when the user was wearing a dress without pockets.
  • Sema (QR) Code  Purse – A purse designed with an opening on one side to allow the camera lens of a phone to be accessible. This allowed user to take convert pictures or decipher sema-code posted in the environment. High tech passing notes.
  • LED bracelet – A felt bracelet that has three leds on it. The participants learn about how to control electricity in a circuit by prototyping on a breadboard. Then they build a soft circuit for the bracelet.

Resources:


Roles: Mentor and Curriculum Designer | 2009


Mobile Quest

06

Mobile Quest is a week-long game design camp where 5th graders created games using smartphones. During Mobile Quest students stepped into the role of game designers: playing, analyzing and creating games for their peers to play. Campers worked with professional game designers to experience first-hand how to turn great ideas into great games using smart phones.

I was a mentor and a game designer for Mobile Quest camp. As mentor, I had the opportunity to work closely with Institute of Play staff.  I was an active participant in the development of the curriculum for the camp and designing the mobile games for the campers to play.

We designed three games as an introduction to the three types of mobile technology we wanted them to explore: GPS, Bluetooth, and QR Codes (sema code).
Each day of the week was focused around a game mechanic and a mobile technology.

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Day 1 - GPS

Campers played Mega Scrabble a mapping game that require part of the team to be on the street sending photos and while the other half stay at headquarters to receive the information and create words. We then critique the game and determine what worked, did not work and did not work. The students then worked on redesign of the game.

Day 2 – QR Codes

Campers play Silent Semacodes. Each team has one smart phone and there is a maze of random QR codes posted on the wall. The teams use their phones to decipher the code and reveal a keyword. The first team to get to the winning keyword wins the game. We then critique the game and discuss other codes and ciphers. Students experiment with creating games based around codes.

Day 3 – Blue Tooth

Campers play Blue Samurai. Each member of a team battles the person opposite them on the opposing team by a Rock-Paper-Scissors match. The team with most winners out of 3 rounds wins. The losing team must send their avatar to the winning team’s phone. We then discuss trading mechanics in games and impact of technology on game play. Using the knowledge they have learned they begin creating their own games for Games Festival.

Day 4 - Found Objects

Campers make games from found objects and continue to work on their ideas for a game for the game festival.

Day 5  – Game Festival

Students finish up their games in the morning and in afternoon present their games and everyone plays other groups games.


Resources:

 

Roles: Mentor, Game Designer | 2009 , 2010