10 toys + 10 rooms
the first experiment for this thesis will consist of designing 10 pedagogical toys (step 01) and the 10 rooms in which they live (step 02).

step 01_design of 10 pedagogical toys
10 pedagogical toys/ objects are to be designed for and in the physical world. Each toy/ object shall respond to one or more items from the public elementary schools ‘core curriculum’ (mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, music, art, reading, physical education) and the ways in which they can be understood through a smart phone by kids from different and/or combined age groups.`

step 02_design of 10 rooms for 10 pedagogical toys
in the digital world, design 10 rooms, one for each object, aiming to adhere to standard classroom module of 22’-0” x 30’-0”

due dateish_jan 27

size: tbd // final media: multimedia toys + smart phone + digital drawings // working media: model materials + rhino + Illustrator + inDesign // inspiration: Century of the Child MoMA 2010 exhibition
before we begin_
I feel like I should take a sec to explain why and how the premise of the experiment began. I came up with this exercise by looking at the interactions between the architecture of classrooms and media-related content and technologies. To be honest, the architectural stuff that makes up a classroom has yet to change evolve to truly be integrated with media. There is something better than technological overlays such as laptops, tablets, projectors, and rolling media carts.

Thus the intent of the experiment became to create classrooms and “media” toys that would function symbiotically. The exercise seeks to devise ways for children to take the reins of their education through the use of technology.

Last but not least, the design of the rooms and toys is driven by research into existing web apps and media content related to the curricular item at play. A lot of the information found comes from elementary school teachers that blog and/or vlog... they’re the best!

science room (look-out valley)  
This room is like a digital camouflage fort which is inspired by the kind of reenactment children enjoy at the science museum. The toy component is the look-out, and it relies on a phone-dependent AR overlay as well as various pulls and levers which make different sounds that are recognized through the phone microphone. The kids inside of the look-out posts can see an AR overlay over what their peers are doing in the valley. Relying on a combination of imagination, media, team-work, and movement, the children can reenact and learn various aspects related to science such as the solar system, a DNA chain, dinosaurs, etc.
language arts room (alphabet city)  
Alphabet city constitutes a role playing space where children complete different language-related challenges through interactions with other children at each of the stations. They can also go through the stations individually using the toy/ smartphone. The smartphone interaction works through a series of puzzle pieces which are spread throughout the room. The challenges on the smartphone would indicate which puzzle piece the child should look for. These pieces also count as digital and physical tokens that are traded/ collected around the stations.
music room (polyphonic room)
The polyphonic room is in itself a musical instrument that plays with percussion, tension, materiality and acoustics. The toy component takes advantage of the phone’s microphone and speaker. Through the introduction of the phone, the toy becomes a synthesizer that allows the children to generate a sound library with which to recreate songs or compose their own.
math + music (mush-room)
The mush-room promotes the learning of math and music through the use of a sound + math puzzle game which interacts with the phone camera. The room in itself presents different acoustic scenarios for children to experiment with - there’s an echo tunnel, sound isolation mushies, individual pods, mounds, hatches and mushrooms. The puzzle parts are spread throughout the room and become room markers and path makers. Doesn’t hurt to add that combining math and music is a practice favored by many teacher bloggers.
art + physical education (hall of mirrors)
The hall of mirrors combines art and physical education through a series of alterable architectural objects. The architecture of the room as well as the phone activated wand motivates the children to create light paintings, dance and music through physical movement and play. Combining toys through collaboration with other children helps them learn about color, choreography, and teamwork.


questions // feedback // conundrums // constructive criticism // jokes // input // etceteras