Project Manager & Designer
Lightswitch is an open, connected space to help students at TechShop better document their work across platforms and projects. Using an RFID-tagged badge called Lightswitch, the system activates Nightlight, Lantern, and Stagelight that automatically and manually capture the work process. The captured artifacts are synthesized into a narrative portfolio piece in Prism. Through Lightswitch, students can effortlessly document their work using existing mediums as a way to scaffold documentation practices.
Portfolios are increasingly available and used as a means of evaluating student work, especially within the context of “makers”. However, students, especially in the K-12 age range, often lack the resources to assemble coherent portfolios nor the knowledge of the significance of documentation. Furthermore, many students lack documentation artifacts from early points in their educational careers due to lack of open online storage resources.
Design Research & Synthesis
STAKEHOLDER ECOSYSTEM MAP
The first step was to research on the cultural space surrounding "making", including our client MakerEd, and portfolios. Stakeholder map helped in identifying which group of stakeholders to conduct user research with.
USER INTERVIEWS & INSIGHTS
We defined and interviewed four different user groups to explore the full range of design space.
User Group 1 : EDUCATORS
- Educators emphasized the positive impacts of project-based learning on students.
- Educators suggested the need for a common system to help students communicate their process through portfolios and to take those portfolios with them through their educational careers.
User Group 2 : UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
- University students are familiar with the necessity of portfolios and documentation on a professional level.
- University students made clear distinction between a portfolio and a more personal creative outlet, like a blog.
- University students felt uncomfortable sharing unpolished work or works in progress on their portfolios, as they felt these pieces were unsuited for the more “pristine” atmosphere implicit to portfolios. This distinction impacts not only the content, but also the styling and organization of the portfolio space.
User Group 3 : TECHSHOP EMPLOYEES
- TechShop employees believe that student portfolios could be a boon not only to the students themselves, but to TechShop as an institution.
- While incorporating documentation as a structured process at TechShop would require a bit of subterfuge on the part of educators, they suggested that existing technologies that the students already use might be leveraged to this end.
User Group 4 : TECHSHOP STUDENTS
- TechShop students suggested a need for a better consolidated space to store their work.
- The ad hoc methods of organization seem to be insufficient for the students’ needs.
The users were mapped into an xy-coordinate, where the x-axis indicates how much the user understands the importance of portfolio practices and the y-axis represents how much the user currently engages in documentation practices in their day-to-day work.
Based on this user mapping, our persona Eric was created. He is currently not aware of the benefits of documentation and is not involved in portfolio practice. However with the design solution, Eric is expected to move to the first quadrant of the coordinate.
With the insights from user research in mind, we started brainstorming design ideas. The ideas grouped around (1) automaticity/effortless methods of capturing, (2) giving guidance on reflections, (3) social aspect of portfolio such as sharing with communities, and (4) giving extrinsic incentives and intrinsic rewards to the users and prompting documentation.
Based on these ideas, we created storyboards and combined them into one complete story that we elaborated with details into an experience map.
EMOJI BUTTONS IN LIGHTSWITCH
We found it is important to allow users to manually capture the work process. Manual capturing helps users to be conscious of and appreciate documenting.
On top of the automatic capturing feature of Stagelight, Lantern, and Nightlight, we added Emoji Button as a method to manual capturing the work process. Whenever the users feel 'happy ', 'achieved', 'proud', or positive, they can press 'happy button', which then captures the work and put a happy label. Whenever the users feel 'sad', 'frustrated', or struggling, they can press 'sad button', which also captures the work and put sad label. These emotion labels are presented as an emotion journey of the project in Prism and makes richer portfolio contents.