socially conscious design
Dos’ and Dont’s of socially conscious design by Cansu Akarsu
- Socialize with the culture you are designing for
- Get your hands dirty; prototype
- Document each step of the design process
- Bring in multiple prototypes to get comparative feedback
- Get defensive about your idea. When asking for feedback from users, designers should not defend the idea they have presented, but be open to as much critical feedback as possible.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
Nothing dulls faster than the cutting edge.
Stationary collection by Nendo
The team was tasked with rethinking the mundane.
I really dig two tone markings on the ruler. Great execution with some A+ presentation..
KEY KEY Designing for Humanity Final Project
KEY KEY is an educational tool that serves the needs of primary school teachers in Ghana with limited access to teaching resources. This tool will help teachers to keep students engaged and excited about learning, while providing the encouragement and a thirst for knowledge vital to the pursuit of further education, future success and lifelong learning.
The resources are provided for free distribution here
The goal of this project was to design something addressing a need in a global scope. With the sole constraints being that it was made of locally available materials, it helped at least one person, it was socially significant, and based on real need.
Early in the design process I got caught up on the issue of e-waste in Ghana and when my group members (Karl Friesen & Sandra Manrique) and I put our ideas together, I pulled them down the rabbit hole with me. The entire issue of E-Waste seemed too big to take on in a single sweeping blow, but we soon realized that it could be an asset to us.
Looking at primary school ages kids in Ghana we recognized that they were likely to fall into three categories; those whose families could readily afford school and the costs that come with it, those who could not afford it and instead worked to contribute to the household, and then the largest group made up of students whose families struggle to make ends meet while providing an education for their children.
Once again the most obvious and glaring issue was the students who weren’t in school, but addressing this would mean tackling the complex and immeasurable issue of poverty.
Instead we focused on the largest group, whose parents make sacrifices every day to keep them in school. How could we keep them from leaving school and joining the working children? It was determined that a likely cause of a parent pulling their child from school was a lack of engagement. If he or she just wasn’t ‘getting it’ or showing an interest in learning, than they would better contribute by working, freeing up money for other expenses or another child’s education. This problem is made worse by the fact that many parents grew up before the education systems reform in Ghana, so they have a harder time seeing the potential value of an education - ‘I started working when I was your age and so you should too’ is all too common of a sentiment.
This free tool for teachers helps to engage, educate and inspire students. It’s inexpensive and constructed of available materials, so students can take them home or build their own for next to nothing. The gamification of critical thinking and language skills provides a fun learning experience. The casual, stress-free atmosphere in which the game is played allows the teachers to accurately assess students.
The simple letter cubes form the basic building blocks of a simple game - spelling words from the letters rolled on the dice. From here the teacher moderating the game can introduce new rules to keep the game challenging and engaging. Some examples include:
- setting targets (length of word/number of words/ types of words)
- limits (time/ number of dice)
- conditions (as a group, teams, or individual/ physically arranging letters, shouting words, or writing quietly)
With our vision clouded by the idea of using keyboard keys from the Agbogbloshie E-Waste dump (where many drop-outs end up inhaling toxins while salvaging precious metals) it occurred to us that a very similar game could be made without the keys. After creating a quick cardboard and ink prototype we concluded that this version lacked the intrigue and tactile feel of the keyed cubes, though the overall objectives and outcomes could still be realized where access to keys is a challenge.
The game helps teachers to realize the overall goals of education. By adding an element of excitement they can change struggling children’s attitudes and inspire new approaches to learning, instilling a determination to continue in the pursuit of education.
I think we succeeded in creating a modern tool for teachers who lack resources, stretching available assets to improve what we are beginning to see as an archaic and outdated education system.
Any enticing experience has 5 stages - Entice, Enter, Engage, Exit, Extend
KICKSPOTTING: [organi] Organizational System
The [organi] project really seemed interesting to me because of it’s simplicity and the sustainable nature. I think the way the simple modular bits work together are ideal for a kids room or a university student.
We’re product designers, that means one day we want to charge people small fortunes for black ping pong tables.