Final Project Reflections
a. What are the specific questions you are attempting to answer in your prototypes?
- I began looking for ways to make math more accessible, using music and touch as modalities.
- This evolved into looking at what connections math and music had, and what areas would be interesting to explore. This entailed looking at aesthetics, concepts and handles on playfulness.
- When I found that the connections tend towards physics and required some form of sensing (through visualization experiments, electronic and digital means), I wanted to bring it closer to underlying math concepts, but found it too difficult for my target age group.
- Finally, I wanted to answer the question of how music making could foster the discovery of patterns in pre-teens, in order to help them develop skills in abstraction.
b. What the five strengths of your project?
- I had intended for the project to be a fun one and from the looks of my play testers, this was somewhat accomplished.
- I think the interactions have been somewhat self-explanatory. I did not explain to my testers on how to use it, and my testers did not need much guiding in order to use the project, but I think further testing would help to improve the UI.
- To do this while integrating tangibles, music and to a certain extent, math, I think this is a good start to what I intend to do in my 2 years in MFADT.
- The final product was simple in terms of the whole system, which was always a goal for my projects.
- I had tried to stick to my design values, and I think I have largely been faithful.
c. What are the five most critical issues for your project?
- Throughout the project I had focused on making math more accessible, but I was disappointed that the final project didn’t bring that across as much.
- The audio and visual patterns were not obvious as it could be to bring attention to them.
- The computer vision tracking wasn’t as reliable as I’d hoped, and it affected the user experience. The project, with all its rich precedents, would have benefitted from more originality, either in approach or in form.
- Users had to look at both the play mat and the projection (or screen), which was difficult. The original intention was to use a projected surface as the play area, but the video tracking made it impossible.
- While some testing had been done, none have been done with my target age group.
d. What can you do to address these issues, and to solidify the strengths?
- As much as patterns occur in music, I could have explored more closely at math pedagogy and how it relates to pattern recognition, forming, and creation. Then I could explore ways to bring focus to these areas.
- The connections between math and music are numerous but potentially complex, and the academic research shows likewise. More research into the salient concepts could be done in order to understand these complex aspects more thoroughly
- I could have experimented more with the materials, choosing a non-reflective one for the play mat and tokens would have been helpful.
- Infrared marker tracking would have worked better.
- More testing could be done, especially with my target user group.
e. What new questions do you have?
- How can I better draw links between different disciplines? This was a good practice in looking for interconnectedness and analogies across disciplines, although I was not as successful.
- How can I allow for fun in a rigorous and time-consuming program? The advice I’ve been given by several advisors was to approach from the perspective of fun, and I think learning to prioritize time and energy is key to that. Specifically, I need to be more mindful of which projects to invest in, and which to be just exploratory.
- How can I manage stakeholder expectations when it comes to innovation? There seems to be a long of encouragement and support with regards to pursuing goals for educational purposes, which I appreciate. But there also seems to be a certain expectation that I would succeed and produce something revolutionary, because there was visible disappointment when I wasn’t able to do so (I feel the same with much of edtech). As frustrated as I am that I have been unsuccessful so far, I believe that this exploration and experimentation takes time.
- More importantly, was I able to explore avenues and pursue lines of inquiry that I was not previously doing? Was I gaining insights by gaining new perspectives, processes and resources? Was I breaking out of my mold in terms of thinking and doing, trying to do different things, making different things, talking to different people? I think, for most parts, I could answer yes.
f. What questions need to be answered in order to create a proof of concept prototype?
- How will users create using this tool? How will they feel?
- What feedback given to the user would make the experience more engaging and educational?
- What aesthetics can I explore so as to make the experience unforgettable?
- Given the precedents, which aspects can I further explore in order to make the experience more unique?
g. How has this prototype allowed you to engage in your goals within this program? Does this feel like a possible future direction?
- I am glad to be able to work on several areas that I would potentially return to: education, computer vision, tangibles , making, music, visualizations.
- I had wanted to explore more computer vision tracking during this semester, and I am glad I’ve had the chance to do so.
- This prototype (and course) brought a lot of attention to areas that I need to work on. Time management, energy management, as well as expectation management (i.e. my own), needs to be improved.
- I appreciated greatly the opportunities to question my approach, and try out new processes, getting valuable feedback along the way. This would serve me well, in terms of how to ask for feedback, what areas of my process to look more closely at, and how to present information and concepts more coherently.