Tuesday, October 12, 2010

VIS ADVOCACY | Rapid Prototype Testing 01: Reactions, Brainstorming, + Reflection

Today I had the opportunity of meeting with Joshua to present the rapid prototypes for my 3 proposed solutions. I received some great feedback and we also have a great brainstorming session on how the ideas might evolve, how the kids might perceive the ideas, as well as other avenues / platforms these projects could take.So, here is a breakdown of Joshua's reactions and perceptions, as well as the main points we discussed and brainstormed.

Overall Joshua liked the idea of somehow instilling ownership of the community within the hands of the kids. This ownership could in turn create a better sense of community, inspire kids and parents to get out more, and could demise the perception of Rosedale being a dangerous community. He also liked the fact that for the most part my solutions have very little administrative overhead for easy implementation as well as cost considerations. Joshua also mentioned the strength these ideas and other might have by being implemented into a pre-existing system such as the Healthy Kids Club. As we discussed the solutions in more detail we both began to see connections build between the idea which could lead to strengthening one idea for the proposed solution.

01. SPORTS EQUIPMENT KIT DESIGN – facilitating the limitation of equipment on an individual level by possibly providing soccer, football, and basketball equipment.

The reaction here was that the equipment could facilitate the need, and Joshua was very keen on the idea of the journal for self-reflection / expression and envisioned it as being something very useful for teachers to bridge the gap between physical and mental exercise. Big picture in health subjects at schools might work well and to establish some "Active Heroes" that the kids can relate to and have the option to pick one relevant to their interests. Giving the kids this relationship to "heroes" gives them a chance to be inspired and dream, as well as a sense of relation in seeing how people like Michael Jordan succeeded in health and life. These could take on roles of the larger idea of play and their benefits; the sports bags and equipment might facilitate groups with some sort of parental organization. There was also discussion as to how this might be implemented onto the physical real estate of the bags themselves and how they, like the journal, might cater to different interests whether someone like sprinting, riding bikes, or soccer.

02. SOCCER BRANDING SYSTEM – here I would address safety first and foremost by utilizing the school system and create either an community wide branding system or one the works into each elementary school to build a sense of pride and motivation within the captive audience of the schools.

The large interaction here was to the inspiration wall mosaic idea and how it would be inspiring to the kids to see their friends personal expressions and diverse thoughts regarding sports, it would work to build a sense of community and would work well in a school setting. In regards to the branding, it was not a question whether or not this needs to happen but a question of what should be branded; the community as a whole (this could lead to collaboration with Lance & Mo) or whether it be a certain activity such as the Healthy Kids Club. Joshua agreed that doing so does give a sense of belonging and motivation to be involved and may serve as a unique idea to brand the kids within the HK Club as "Athletic Kids" or something of that nature, this could then inspire how the kids think of themselves.

03. HEALTH KIDS CLUB – the concept will promote creativity & imagination with physical activity; the idea would allow the kids to create their own sports-related activities within certain parameters. 

This last solution proved to be the one both Joshua and I are most excited about and can really visualize the endless possibilities of such a system. Ironically enough, after visiting the Healthy Kids Club last week Joshua and I took away this exact same observation; that the kids took ownership and joy in the games they invented themselves and overall was very positive. This idea in particular sparked the idea of ownership and belonging within the community in a way that you utilize your surroundings to make these games happen. Joshua brought up the idea of having some sort of menu / choice generation platform that would introduce the kids to the idea and then leave room for their own input leaving lots of blanks for them to fill. We also agreed for the idea to be less form / fill in the lines format but more visual so that they can better explore their options. The idea of a concept tree arose, following a path that narrows the selection and this spread to the idea of the "element of play" and how there are set parameters such as equipment, boundaries, rules, and actions that serve as loose boundaries for the kids to define their very own game. For instance the game may use a volleyball, the action of jumping, in the grass from sidewalk to sidewalk (boundaries), and you are not allowed to use your hands (rules).

Joshua and I also had a conversation on the idea of kids as game designers versus game players; they have to come up with the means of the game and not simply play it, they are fully involved. In a sense this is essentially how sports were invented in the first place. This idea of taking ownership not only gets the kids more involved with each other and the community but its also an outlet for creativity and learning from each other. Another plus to this idea that Joshua mentioned, that really seemed to help him out while running the activities at HK Club, was the fact that when they create their own games they are more self-correcting and are able to govern the play of the games by themselves; they are more intrigued by the game than who might be cheating or who's the winner and who's the loser.

In the midst of this conversation, Joshua mentioned the Walking Club organized by one of the P.E. teachers, Peter Wetzel, and how it has gained great popularity recently with anywhere between 30 to 50 kids, parents, and teachers. The design problems surfaces with out to (1) get more kids, parents, and teachers involved in this outdoor activity and (2) how to keep the kids engaged. This goes back to the idea of ownership and knowing you community, Joshua when on one of these walks and tried to keep the kids engaged by utilizing their surroundings. He mentioned in his childhood they would name trees, hills, and create & play with different found objects, thinking of the community as a resource. This whole idea could inspire things outside of the club and create a safer more cohesive community; the system could be adapted in a design sense to then be exported to other school in the Rosedale community and create activity at a very simplistic level that could ignite endless possibilities. The idea of an interactive adventure and find+share immediate crossed the minds of Joshua and I.

Now, this being a somewhat new idea branching off the idea of game creation, may or may not be addressed.  I will need to follow up with Peter Wetzel to get more insight and his thoughts on the matter if this idea is considered to move forward with. Getting feedback from Chris and Tyler will ultimately drive this decision.

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