P4 initial idea: A vision statement

For class on Tuesday, January 27 we want your newly formed teams to bring a short document that describes an initial vision for you project. We will spend time in class discussing these individually with teams in studio format.  What you bring is not cast in stone. It is a starting point for discussion and thinking, so don’t agonize over decisions. 

The statement should have three parts:

1. Vision and scenario

Describe what your design will be/do and who will use it where.  Is it an individual toy for use at home? A group experience in a classroom? In a museum setting? A gang on the playground? On the network?  If it were on a product shelf or site, what would it be next to? What are the existing things that are closest to the same idea?

What will the learners do to use it?   This should be a very brief overview, not a play-by-play detail.  Boil the idea down into a few sentences that get across the essence of what it would look like to see it in action.

2. Educational goals and intended audience

What will kids learn from playing with your device?  What are the goals from an educational standpoint, and how are those suited to your target age group. Think carefully about developmental issues and age appropriate play.  Hayes has provided a nice “Cliff’s Notes” summary about toy design and play patterns at different ages . It can be a reality check when you’re thinking about play patterns for a target age range.


3. Technology platform

Given the practicalities of the course, what kind of prototype will you build, using what hardware and software tools?  Note that in many cases this will not be the platform that would be required for a final product version. For example if you are doing a toy that is held in the hand, you might choose to prototype by duct-taping an N810 onto the back to do the processing, which clearly wouldn’t be in a final product.  Or if your toy requires complex sounds, you might prototype with a Wizard-of-Oz device that has a speaker with a wireless connection to someone who makes the sounds.  The end deliverable for this course is a prototype that can function to really test the concept. Being clever about that testing can save you a lot of implementaiton.

If there are multiple components (e.g., a hand-held device that integrates with a networked application), think about all of them.  Describe both what technologies you want to try and what you see as the potential problems.

Once again, I want to emphasize that this is a starting point for discussion. Expect to revise all aspects many times as the project goes forward. If you have multiple alternatives, questions, and concerns, we’ll talk about them. If you are really torn between a couple of different projects, do a writeup for both of them. In many cases, going through the questioning required to write it up will make the decision much more obvious.

As an extra optional individual contribution, come to class with some examples of far-out ideas you've seen in the toy/education space. We want to start class just putting these out as examples of how we can all stretch our thinking.

Also, bring your idea logs to class and we’ll look through them, since we didn’t do so as planned last Tuesday.

Above all, Have Fun!