Archive for the 'Design process' Category

Synthesizing Workbook and Project Portal

As Christian and I have been going through all the various deliverables and the different elements that we’re planning on including in each, we realized that there was some pretty good overlap between our plans for the Design Workshop and Capstone Project Portal, so we checked in with the head honcho and got the ok for a combined approach, so long as we hit the requirements for each. Sort of a design challenge in it’s own right to make it work as both, but we think it’ll be fun. Wanted to post about it here since Kylie mentioned other folks might want to take a similar approach. So, feel free to poach this idea!



Hitting up the literature to inform maker space design

So over the past week, Christian and I have been thinking about what sort of readings can support our work to come up with a redesign lab519. Wanting both practical as well as critical perspectives to inform the design of the fablab space, we ended up with two books that we’re going to focus on.

make space

The first, more on the practical side, is Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration, by Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft (2012). This book is a showcase of various design methods for setting up space to optimize collaborative design processes. The book is non-linear in its approach and can be picked up at any specific location, or indexed to specific areas of interest as they might relate to a particular design consideration that a reader may have.

Building Change

The second is called Building Change: Architecture, Politics and Cultural Agency, by Lisa Findley (2005). Filling in our more critical perspective, the book follows four architectural case studies of buildings around the world that address issues of power and cultural agency through how the space is manipulated. The book also highlights the ways in which the architects and designers are sensitive to and tend to cultural issues within, both the structures themselves, and the space those buildings reside in. We’re hoping going through the case studies and issues of power raised in the book will help us stay critical in our final design phase.



Looking forward to digging in!

Design Inspirations for the Hackjam


The room at the library is a double room. One side will have 30 computers (desktops and laptops), and one side will be for taking breaks and eating lunch. The room is spacious and well lit. Computers are set up two to a table, so there is plenty of room to walk around, but there is also opportunity for collaboration between participants.


Analogous Site: Bloominglabs
The hackerspace at Bloominglabs looked like a physical workshop with many people working on projects and getting ideas for new projects. It was messy and dirty, and you could tell that a lot of work goes on there. It is like they never know what projects will be finished and what ones will be started. There are tools and materials everywhere, but you don’t see everyone working at the same time. While work is done in this space, people talk to each other, socialize (and eat ice cream and cookies), and generally hang out in this space. So projects are stretched over long periods of time.

We learned that while the technical hours are Wednesday from 7:00-10:00 p.m., some people stay until 1:00 a.m. working and hanging out. They types of work range from mechanical to electric to woodworking, to computer projects. There is a space where people work with their computers and generally socialize, and then there are separate rooms for working with electronics, radios, and with mechanical tools.






Interviews: Experts: Jess Klein

What has been the general response to Hackjams that you have seen put on by teens? By schools? By parents?

“Usually the teens in these scenarios are self selecting and often already identify as hackers, techies, geeks, nerds, digital artists, and occasionally designers”

“…however teens tend to appreciate the subversive nature of the word ‘hack’ and own it. Schools and parents I would say are hit or miss. Often when people run the events there is the glance or look of – what are you talking about? HACKING?! But after the initial shock factor wears off, these events are often quite supported by schools and parents. Schools love that youth are taking ownership and forming  identities around technology and media, while parents are appreciate the innovative programming that their children are engaged in.”

In Hackjams for teens, have you seen any practices that work well across contexts? In other words, are there specific practices that you have seen in multiple Hackjams?

We need to find an analogous entity to introduce hacking and what it means to hack. We are thinking of using Impromptu to hack a song.

We are thinking of ways to engage older teens in the Hackjam without leaving the younger ones behind. We are thinking of having the young hackers contribute to a forum where they can post how to perform different actions as they hack, and to a troubleshooting forum throughout the day. Have you seen other Hackjams do this? If so, how did it work out?

Jess suggests peer mentorship as a way to engage everyone and help each student learn more throughout the day.

We created a wiki on for last year’s Hackjam where the hackers’ reflections and work live. Are there other such sites that we should/could look at?

“That’s fantastic. I have seen tons of other blogs and wikis. You might want to check out the recently launched Webmaker Teach: where Mozilla has compiled a ton of these kinds of resources.”

Interview: Users: Students

We sent a survey out to students who attended last year’s hackjam, and while responses are still coming in, initial responses are very helpful. It seems like they liked creating a webpage and using the knowledge they gained from hacking in a different context. This is good to know, since we weren’t planning on having them make a webpage this year. Now we are rethinking this.

The students also reported that toward the end they ran out of ideas for their hacks, and one student reported that she did not like writing reflectively throughout the day. Something for us to think about is that one student was disappointed that hacking was not something more scandalous than appropriating news stories. We don’t want to have them do anything illegal, but we should capitalize on the connotations of “hacking.”

Interview: Non Users: Phil Carspecken

Phil was also disappointed that he couldn’t learn how to hack his bank account, but he liked our project and the direction it is going.

He suggested some ideas for research: try to capture how children learn about the relationship between mean and form, for instance, in hacking advertising.

He also suggested that we frame this workshop from the perspective of critical pedagogy. This means having kids hack advertisements or newspaper articles, and then reflect on how the changes they made affect the original intent of the advertisement. Literally, we want the hackers to understand the meaning of the layout and how that affects what is communicated.


By interviewing different types of people and visiting an analogous space we have a better sense of how we want to design the Hackjam so that the young hackers get the most out of the day. We will take all of this information into consideration as we proceed. Likely, we will include a frame for the workshop and activities that continually ask hackers to come up with new ideas in new ways.

Our understanding of the terms “hack,” “hacker,” and “hacking” are developing as we go through this process. The activity of hacking is not new, but the appropriation of the term is. We are learning that to hack in the broader sense is to transform and tinker.

Visualization for BPS Makes Project

We gained a deeper understanding about our design project after the first interview with our core audiences- Christian and Rafi. The overall goals, needs and the core audiences of our project were specified, and our team mapped out a clear picture of the affordances and challenges of the current documentation system in BPS. Most excitingly, Christian and Rafi provided us a lot of inspiration that we could take advantage for our designing. Below is a visual map we drafted for our project in order to clarifying and checking out with core audiences.


The next step for our team would be:

  • Identify different forms/ purposes and audiences for documentation, and create a framework to use in the future interviews
  • Arrange interviews with core audiences (Norm, Daniel, Terray and Emily)–Talk to Norm to find out more we can do with the current technological affordances; group interview for Terray and Emily to understand the context of the Make work

*Again, thanks Christian and Rafi for their time and insights : )

Sophia & Yuhan

On dealing with critique

One of the things we haven’t touched on a lot yet in the course are the ideas of critique and feedback, ones that are both central to the discipline of design as well as to Papert’s theory of Constructionism. And of course, being a maker and a designer in a digital age means means being part of a culture where we share things we make regularly, and often with massive, sometimes invisible, audiences on the internet. This inevitably means that we’ll have to deal at some point or another with trolls, haters and general negative nellies. So, when I came across this wonderful video about how to encounter comments and critiques well online, I had to share.

And of course, feel free to critique in the comment section. ; )




RebeccaSwirl – Scratch Project

Well that was fun. I had an idea of what I wanted to happen with this project, but in programming it, I came out with something I like even better. I had intended the letters to be in a straight line across the bottom, to swirl, and to come back to the straight line. What I got was a diagonal, which is pretty neat. It took some playing with the coordinates to get them to line up correctly, and I had to play with the timing of the sound to get it to play the whole clip.

See my project here:


As Rafi and I begin to delve more fully into reshaping, and guiding lab519 toward the Fab Lab space it so wants to be, we are beginning to document the process here:

It’s a beginning, and a work in progress, but you’re always welcome to come visit.

— Christian —

Beginning to Design the Hackjam

Alejandro and I met to visit the Monroe County Public Library and visit the space where the Summer Hackjam 2013 will be held. The MCPL is a wonderful  welcoming space that hosts many events throughout the year to engage  and educate the community. The day we visited, they were hosting an event to help people with their taxes.

Chris Hosler met us at the information desk and showed us the room where the Hackjam will be held. It is a room with several computers and a projection screen. The room has a removable wall, and we will use the open space on the other side of the wall for lunch, snacks, and general break time throughout the six hour day. Chris also showed us where the 12 Hour Comic Book Day will be held the Thursday before the Hackjam. We are hoping to integrate the characters youth create during Comic Book Day into the Hackjam, so I intend to attend that event as well to get to know the youth who will be at the Hackjam and to learn about the kinds of characters they  create.

After seeing the library, we sat down to work out the logistics of designing the Hackjam. We made a list of goals, tasks, and created a detailed timeline. The timeline includes making community relationships and partnerships, redesigning the assessments, and refining the curriculum.

Here is the short description of the event that will go in the library’s program:

2013 Summer Hackjam Learn to (legally) “hack” the Herald-Times or any other online newspaper or webpage. Create and publish news or stories about you and your friends, family, team, pets, superheroes—whatever you care about.  Expert web designers, writers, and journalists will first help you create, write, edit, and design for the Internet.  Working individually or collaboratively, you will then find a newspaper or website to remix at Mozilla’s Hackasaurus site after activating their X-Ray Goggles in any web browser. No previous experience in web design is required.

Details:  Open to all youth ages 13-18.  June 29, 2013 at the Monroe County Public Library, 11:00-5:00.  Complimentary pizza lunch and snacks will be provided, along with all of the materials.  Sponsored by the Indiana University Center for Research on Learning and Technology and the Monroe County Public Library.  Please register by ___ at ____.  Space is limited; drop-ins welcome as space allows.  For information about this event, contact Christopher Hosler at ____  Visit to find more information and other hackjams, or to learn about hosting your own.

You can read more about last year’s Hackjam in the following blog posts:

Three Firsts: Bloomington’s First Hackjam, ForAllBadges App, and Participatory Assessment + Hackasaurus

Summer 2012 Hackjam: The Wiki

The Role of Artifact Reflections in Participatory Assessment

We are well on our way to designing an engaging six hour Hackjam for the young hackers of Bloomington.

Designing for community: stage 0

After a visit of my likely design space this week I am both surprised and excited. The Undergraduate Life and Learning center is an interesting place. It is home to many professional staff, graduate student advisors, and the hub for some of the undergraduate organizations. Lots of different people use this space and have differing agendas & goals. As the center has grown they have just made due with the space; as Hilary (one of the graduate student advisors and my collaborator for this project) mentioned to me very little in the space seems to have been done intentionally. The result? A functional but not optimal workspace, and a less than inviting atmosphere. The center wants to encourage community between the different users of the space, but the current structure and spacial design do not promote or really afford for (9)

Graduate Student Advisors’ work area – one thing that stood out to me was the advisors used giant sticky poster paper to post ideas and pictures, also colorful sticky notes were everywhere. They need whiteboards and bulletin boards!

image (1)

Main hallway – it is a very wide hall but gave the feeling of being in my old elementary school. There is very little on the walls, except at the very end there are some flyers for events. However, students rarely make it all the way down the hall. Undergraduates that show up to the center are usually there for something official like a mediation or applying for something.

It seems a redesign of the Undergraduate Life and Learning office will be both a redesign of the space and of the system. At least the users all seem ready for change. One of the undergraduates that works at the front desk put together some ideas that the undergraduates had about a redesign of the space.

photo (9)

The proposed floor plan shows more open space (most areas can only be accessed by keycode currently) and a much more lively hallway with bulletin boards, etc.

This is for sure going to be a fun and challenging redesign!