One of the beauties of teaching

A year and half ago I left my  job as a University professor in Mexico to become a student in the masters in graphic design at NC State. During my time in the program, I’ve been learning a massive amount of information related to design research, design research methods, and design education/pedagogy. I feel like I’ve grown as a designer and as an individual. However, I feel this semester is special because besides preparing my thesis and taking classes, I’m also a teacher assistant (TA) for two undergrad courses related to design and technology in the College of Design. My TA experience made me realize how much I missed being a teacher and the kind of learning that comes from that. A specific type of learning that I was thinking of yesterday – or more than learning, a lesson that I shouldn’t be forgetting– is to be more self-reflective. When you are preparing a class, you have to review pieces of knowledge that you think you are an “expert” on, and acknowledge that there’s always something new that you might not explored enough. Then you have to create a layout for that information in a way that makes sense to someone that have never seen it, this is the hardest part, and the magic of teaching, it’s about empathy.

Unfortunately I’m not talking about empathy this time, that’s for some other blogpost. Today I’m being a little bit more selfish and thinking about the beauties of teaching for teachers. When I review the content of a class and I’m creating a layout on how to present it, I begin to think about that time when I used to do all these design decisions in a more conscious way (just like when you first learn how to drive). Then I look back to what I’m currently doing and see if I’m actually following my own directions for the class. This is the self-reflection moment I was talking about in the beginning of this post. I often find myself reviewing my work and finding out that I’m not quite applying from what I’m trying to communicate in class. So I readjust my design according to what I think I should be doing. It’s kind of a tune up or a way to keep up my own standards. Because, even though I see teaching as a rewarding activity where you see students acquiring new knowledge and the different ways in which that knowledge can be applied, I also see teaching as a way to remind ourselves that there’s always something that can be re-learned.

Diagrams and lists

I’m still trying to figure out how each stakeholder is related to the objectives I want for the children with CP. This is a “refined version” (although I don’t know if refined is the right word since it looks super messy right now) of the diagram I added in the last post. In this version I created more connections between stakeholders>objectives>strategies>design.

The stakeholders are the participants who are influencing in someway the child’s objectives. The strategies are the actions the stakeholders need to do in order to achieve the objectives. Finally, the design aspects are the ways in which the environment will facilitate the performance of the strategies.
Diagram of the relationship between stakeholders>objectives>strategies>design


I’m also really into collaboration and how it can be combined with competition. In these two pictures I’m mapping out the social experiences one can have through collaboration and competition and I’ve highlighted the ones I found more interesting for my research project.

Mapping Social Experiences through Collaboration

Mapping Social Experiences through Competition

Proto- diagrams of the design environment

I’ve trying to diagram the design environment for my thesis. The purpose of this is to find ways on how my design system can be aligned to my subquestions.  This is the one that is making more sense for now:

My thesis project is about creating a fun, challenging, competitive system that provides status and encouragement to increase physical activity an social interaction in children with Cerebral Palsy.

To support the diagram above, I’m making some lists to cluster stakeholders, goals, and how design would intervene in the process to help stakeholders achieve the goals.

Researchable Question – Revision #7

RESEARCHABLE QUESTION:

How can the interaction design of a collaborative-competitive environment promote physical activity and social play in children (6-9 y/o) with cerebral palsy?

—-

KEYWORDS

-Gamification / social play

– Collaborative Competitive Environment

– Physical Activities

SUBQUESTIONS

1. How can strategies of #interaction design engage and reward children with CP to enhance their Physical Activity levels?
—- Strategies of interactions refers to rewards and the game mechanics (the tools used to create the environment)

2. How can the #interactive behaviors of an #interface stimulate Social Interactions and Physical Activity of children with CP?
—- Interactive behaviors refers to social engagement loops (a motivating emotion that leads a player to re-engage with the environment), and game dynamics (how players interact with the experiences in the environment)

3. How can a collaborative-competitive design environment encourage Team Building among children with CP?

—- Collaborative-competitive design environment refers to intergroup competition, where they collaborate with team members (in the same physical space) and compete against other teams (in a remote location)

4. How can the design of a mobile App help teachers and parents of children with cerebral palsy measure progress of their fitness level?
—- The mobile app allows the parents to keep track of the children’s progress to involve them in their development

MAIN IDEAS

– The people involved in the child’s development, and their #environment.

– The mediation of facilitating physical activity and social interactions

– Fostering of skills, empowerment, and confidence

 

Researchable Question – Revision #6

MAIN QUESTION

How can the interaction design of a collaborative-competitive environment promote physical activity in children (6-9 y/o) with cerebral palsy in the process of learning arithmetic?

KEYWORDS –
  • Gamification
  • Socialplay
  • Collaborative-competitive learning
  • Arithmetic
  • Physical activities
SUBQUESTIONS

1. How can strategies of interaction design engage and reward students with CP in the mastery of concepts of arithmetic?

2. How can the interactive qualities of an #interface foster the physical activity of students with CP in the mastery of concepts of arithmetic?

3. How can a #collaborative-competitive environment encourage #team building among students with CP?

4. How can the design of a mobile app help teachers and parents of children with cerebral palsy keep track of their status and progress when learning arithmetic?

MAIN IDEAS –
  • The people involved in the child’s development, and their #environment.
  • The mediation of learning arithmetic
  • Fostering of skills, empowerment, and confidence

Justification for my thesis project – first try

So this is my first stab in the intent to write a justification. Nothing fancy, just bullet points, no citations needed (yet):

  • Learning is primarily a social process mediated through interaction using tools.
  • Around the age of six, children with CP may have a hard time keeping up with the explosion of physical activity that occurs during the preschool years. Some of them would express their frustration over this by asking “Why me?” 
  • In the case of children with cerebral palsy is important to explore alternative ways of learning, such as learning through play. Social play-based approaches can make learning more effective while developing their social skills.
  • Six to eight-year-olds find participation in group activities, including team sports, and participation in organized activities is often extremely important to this age group. Children with CP may perceive themselves as different and isolate themselves from social situations so they will not feel hurt or excluded.
  • Through design we can create funchallenging, and competitive tools that provide status and encouragement to increase capability and a sense of confidence in children with CP.
  • The design of a collaborative learning environment can foster a “can do” attitude being a tool for explorational growthcuriosity, and creativity.
  • A collaborative-competitive learning could be used as a methodology. On one hand collaboration is defined as a social process through which performances is evaluated and rewarded in terms of the collective achievement of a group of people working together to reach a particular goal. The environment would encourage the children to play in teams, and have social interactions. On the other hand competition is a social process that occurs when rewards are given to people based on the basis of how their performances of others doing the same task or participating in the same events; it implies the achieving of goals through a challenge –in this case with collaboration from peers. The combination of collaboration and competition can stimulate the students to engage with the learning activity.
  • Children with CP are not sufficiently physically active. Children with hemiplegia frequently underuse their affected limb regardless of its functional abilities. This tendency referred to as developmental disregard poses a significant challenge to rehabilitation and the advancement of functional skills, which hinges on consistent practice and the use of the hemiplegic limb.
  • There’s a relationship between motor and cognitive variables and arithmetic performance of children with CP. Children with CP were found to be delayed in arithmetic compared to their typically developing peers.
  • The design of an educational interface could incorporate exercises that promote physical activities and mobility.
  • If the learning, physical, and social activities are being developed through this design environment, then it could be also automatically measured by the system. Feedback is an important part of encouragement, so the children can keep track of their progress and keep engaged with the activities. Also, the parents and the teachers can take advantage of keeping track of the children’s status.

Researchable Question – Revision #5

MAIN QUESTION

How can the design of a collaborative-competitive environment promote physical activity in children (6-9 y/o) with cerebral palsy in the process of learning arithmetic?

—-

KEYWORDS

– Gamification / social play

– Collaborative-competitive learning

– Arithmetic

– Physical activities

SUBQUESTIONS

1. How can strategies of interaction engage and reward students with CP in the mastery of concepts of arithmetic?

—-

2. How can the qualities of an interface increase the physical activity of students with the limited mobility resulting from CP?

—-

3. How can a collaborative-competitive approach encourage social play among students whose access to groups is limited by CP?

—-

4. How can the design of a mobile app help teachers and parents of children with cerebral palsy keep track of their status and progress when learning arithmetic?

MAIN IDEAS

– The people involved in the child’s development, and their environment.

– The mediation of learning arithmetic

– Fostering of skills, empowerment, and confidence

Researchable Question – Revision #4

MAIN QUESTION

How can the design of a collaborative-competitive environment promote physical activity in children (6-9 y/o) with cerebral palsy in the process of learning arithmetic?

—-

KEYWORDS

– Gamification / social play

– Collaborative-competitive learning

– Arithmetic

– Physical activities

SUBQUESTIONS

1.How can the design of an online interface make solving arithmetic problems engaging and rewarding for children with cerebral palsy? Not sure this is all about the interface. How about this… How can strategies of interaction engage and reward students with CP in the mastery of concepts of arithmetic?

—-

2. How can the design of arithmetic exercises using collaborative-competitive learning increase the engagement of children in social play?

—-

3. How can a design interface incorporate physical activity into social play for children with limited mobility?

I got feedback related to this question:

I think you can separate the issues of social play from physical interaction in two statements (rather than combine them in question 3). That way you can explore the two behaviors and then integrate them in the final. So question 2 and 3 would read as… How can the qualities of an interface increase the physical activity of students with the limited mobility resulting from CP? How can a collaborative-competitive approach encourage social play among students whose access to groups is limited by CP?

—-

4. How can the design of a mobile app help teachers and parents of children with cerebral palsy keep track of their status and progress when learning arithmetic?

MAIN IDEAS

– The people involved in the child’s development, and their environment.

– The mediation of learning arithmetic

– Fostering of skills, empowerment, and confidence

Researchable Question – Revision #3

MAIN QUESTION

How can the design of a collaborative-competitive environment promote physical activity in children (6-9 y/o) with cerebral palsy in the process of learning arithmetic?

—-
KEYWORDS

– Gamification / social play
– Collaborative-competitive learning
– Arithmetic
– Physical activities

SUBQUESTIONS

1. How can the design of an online interface make solving arithmetic problems engaging and rewarding for children with cerebral palsy?

—-
2. How can the design of arithmetic exercises using collaborative-competitive learning increase the engagement of children in social play?

—-
3. How can a design interface incorporate physical activity into social play for children with limited mobility?

—-
4. How can the design of a mobile app help teachers and parents of children with cerebral palsy keep track of their status and progress when learning arithmetic?

MAIN IDEAS

– The people involved in the child’s development, and their environment.
– The mediation of learning arithmetic
– Fostering of skills, empowerment, and confidence

Researchable Question – Revision #2

MAIN QUESTION

How can the design of a collaborative-competitive environment promote physical activity in children (6-9 y/o) with cerebral palsy in the process of learning arithmetic?

—-
KEYWORDS

Gamification / social play
Collaborative-competitive learning
Arithmetic
Physical activities

SUBQUESTIONS

1. How can social play make solving arithmetic problems engaging and enjoyable/rewarding?
2. How can a collaborative-competitive environment encourage participation and foster social interaction among children?
3. How can a design interface incorporate physical activity into social play?
4. How can a mobile app engage parents and teachers to participate in a collaborative-competitive environment?

MAIN IDEAS

The people involved in the child’s development, and their environment.
The mediation of learning arithmetic
Fostering of skills, empowerment, and confidence