Being a designer and an educator at once. Designing to dispense knowledge in a more efficient, more human way. Working with children. Here are the main ingredients that fuelled my project about learning, a project where I hoped to create tools for a better motivation in the education of children aged 8 to 10.
To respond to that idea, I worked with children, parents, teachers and specialists to create four “step by step learning tools”. In 1996, a psychological study by Drs Cordova and Lepper concluded that motivation in the process of learning could be strongly enhanced by the presence of “contextualisation, personalisation, and choice” ; these became my three guidelines. I would create objects that worked as a frame for a learning experience by breaking it out and clarifying the step by step aspect of it. So I started, working with an 8 year-old who obstinately refused to do her homework. Plan 1 was created.
I/ “What do you like”
A child discusses degrees of liking for learning activities with a tutor. There are 3 levels of liking, linked to three colours : GREEN, like, ORANGE, it’s okay, RED, dislike. A board with the three colours becomes the way the child navigates their learning. If they like calculus and the board starts with a green circle, they can start with a calculus exercise. Once they have finished, they may colour the circle in.
II/“What do you imagine”
A child tells a story, and the designer-tutor makes the story into an object. With every activity, the child gets a character or a place from their story. They can then customise the object they were given. For example after a calculus exercise, set by the tutor, the student receives the penguin king, made out of MDF. They can colour the king in and put it on their path.
III/ “What would you like to know about”
A child is invited to ask questions, not necessarily curriculum specific. The answer to that question is integrated in a curriculum-centered exercise, and developed through the different steps of that exercise. What are we made of? would for example prompt a worksheet about atoms, which would feed into the curriculum notion of decimals (mathematics) [img 3]
IV/ Make it digital (Covid-19 problematics)
A child is at home, a parent has little time to dedicate to their learning experience. The child chooses what they will work on, the website clarifies the steps. An interest in the universe for example would be a reason to choose the “planets” path, which teaches long multiplications with a training around the solar system and its numbers. The website is a sort of virtual museum of the everyday.
I used animation to communicate my work around this project.