NIRMAAN - EXPLORER KIT
Design Research Thesis
As a part of this research project, I worked on designing a learning kit by inspiration from Lego Serious Play. Implying the learnings of various researches to design a Learning Kit for primary student called ‘Nirmaan – Explorer Kit’ to build the world from their observation and imagination.
Design, Research, Documentation
Dr. Jayesh Pillai
Dr. Puneer Tandon
The aim of this study was to design an interactive learning method that will incorporate the activities as well as to channelize the child’s energy and interest in overall development. The theories of Constructivism and Constructionism enhanced by the philosophy of Epistemological Pluralism supports the work conducted in this project.
I had used a custom workflow for executing this project. The philosophy of Design Thinking and a generic product development process made the backbone of the work, and I added some more levels depending on the necessities.
In chronological order of the planned research and problem-solving activities, the following steps were taken:
CONSTRUCTIVISM AND CONSTRUCTIONISM
Learning theories of Prof. Jean Piaget and Prof. Seymour Papers form the foundation of this work. There are various flavors of these learning theories proposed by different Philosophers and Educators like John Dewey, George Hein, Jerome Bruner, and also Lev Vygotsky. But, the theories of Constructivism and Constructionism supported by philosophies of Epistemological Pluralism make the foundation of the work conducted in this project.
The engagements and learning of the child with the system depend on a considerable amount of how simple the interactions are with the system. As stated by Prof. Terry Winograd, three basic Interaction activities define how the human being interacts with the world around him: Manipulation, Locomotion, and Conversation.
After the ideation, the interactions which would define this system for the children and provide a Multi-Sensory and Multi-Modal learning tool for focusing on the students of age-group of 7-12 years i.e. Primary Education students in India are discussed in the figure here.
A set of various methods was implemented for conducting primary and secondary research to clarify many aspects of the problems at hand and available opportunities to use for finding optimum solutions.
After talking with different educational experts and students, we narrowed it down to the activity of map reading which is taught to the students in primary school. The need for improvement in the attitude of students toward the complexities of the topic us as geographical maps is important in this stage of learning. It will help these students in improving their observation and learn from their surroundings.
Considering the effective learning methods for children, we decided to teach the skill of map reading using the activity to create maps themselves.
Zilla Parishad Kendriya Prathamik Shala (Z.P. Central Primary School),
Chichgaon, Tehsil (Block). Ner, Dist. Yavatmal (Maharashtra)
50 Students of 3rd and 4th Standard (Age: 8-9 years)
We came down to the abstraction level from where it is possible to draw insights that will guide us through the design and development process.
NIRMAAN - EXPLORER KIT
A physical activity toolkit will make them more observant about the material they see and the structure they build. They will also learn to observe the events from their day-to-day life, like short trips to parks, or nearby hill stations, or even a story from their picture books.
PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN
Universal Design Principles are a set of guidelines proposed by a group of Designers, Architects, Engineers, and Researchers at NC State University. These guidelines are created for the design of products and systems to be usable by everyone, ranging from children to the user with special needs.
There have been researches for designing open playgrounds for children using the Principles of Universal Design. Children need a place to wander, jump, swing, explore, create, dream. These principles are the guidelines for designing a physical or digital system which will provide anxiety-free interactions
'Nirmaan Explorer Kit' is designed for children to explore their surroundings and construct it into their own world. It is imperative to take help of the guidelines of designing for all to be sure that the product provides them an appropriate and usable environment or learn.
"The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done."
- Jean Piaget