This toolkit is designed from a practice-led approach which means that all the content made available originates from decisions, actions and reflections made by beginner to experienced educators working in partnership with students. Traditionally, a toolkit is what it says on the tin, a collection of tools providing resources, skills and artefacts to be used in different ways for a particular purpose. In our case, because we have tried out first-hand the ideas embedded in this toolkit (Find out more) and because we know well the kinds of workloads educators have, we wanted to be more explicit about how educators and students might make best use them and offer advice about their implementation.
So this really is still a toolkit but with a bit more help and clarity to assist those of us who are short on time or want to try something new and would appreciate a little more scaffolding.
The toolkit is designed in a series of Phases and Activities.
The main phases relate to Discover – Define – Develop – Deliver with every two phases forming a diamond shape. The first and third phases are exploratory, while the second and fourth are for narrowing the scope and defining focus. These are part of a well-known model devised by the UK Design Council. Find out more…
There is no need to follow this specific route if you are interested in experimenting with one or more activities, especially if you already cover some of the areas of Discover – Define – Develop – Deliver in your existing programmes. However, the activities in each phase were originally used in that order as a complete curriculum for learning about ICH and HCI, so they also work well followed that way. For us, they were the focus of an 8 day summer school.
Some of the activities work well on their own and can be embedded into your existing programmes, others work well as follow-up or extension activities to others as they provide a space for students to demonstrate learning and for educators to assess this. We have indicated if an activity works well as a follow-up on the Activity thumbnails and the order of the activities is reflected on its placement on the page.
What is an activity and how should I use it?
An activity is made up of a number of learning components relevant to how educators design for learning across many different sectors and take into consideration principles of learning design such as Learning Outcomes as well as more practical considerations like Materials, Challenges and Assessment ‘How to’. In each of these sections on the activity pages, we provide a short description of these principles.
Each activity was initially designed as an hour long activity, though there can be variations based on your local context.
Each activity includes to a greater or lesser extent some ideas about the challenges faced when designing and delivering them in diverse contexts. In general, when experiencing a different kind of learning environment for the first time, our own experience has shown us that students need to see the personal value and relevance of merging ideas from other disciplines (Humanities based or Computing Science based) with their own learning. Students in one particular discipline will have had years of learning and development in that area and so both the topic matter and the ways in which they meet new ideas will be heavily influenced by previous experience. The main challenge this toolkit also addresses is enabling both educator and student to think more flexibly about teaching as something they also contribute to, as well as ‘done by or to them’. You may find it worthwhile to have an open conversation about this with your students and relate their experiences to real-world career contexts of working with different disciplines and people.
A further element to note is that when participating in very student-led activities, especially over a short period of time if you wish to apply a number of activities together, students and educators may find the experience tiring. The Ice-breaker Activity is a further opportunity to talk about ‘working smarter not longer’ – again with an emphasis on employability skills.
We have found that it is not actually learning new topics which students find hard but the implications of those topics on new ways of learning, like merging two areas. So supporting ‘learning to learn’ is of central importance to support your students through the process and help them make the best of what they can contribute to the learning experience.
Community of Users
To get the best out of this toolkit, students should connect with a community of users to design for. Community is to be interpreted broadly and can be represented by students’ family members or groups they belong to. Activities such as the ones in the Develop or Deliver stages are proposed on the basis of the availability of a group of people coming in to collaborate with students. Preferably, the community of choice should be characterised by a distinctive intangible cultural heritage so as to more easily identify the motives of the documentation. For instance, our students collaborated with the Bedouins of North-Central Egypt, whose distinctive heritage is at risk because of unstoppable societal changes. This configuration helped the students in detecting what was in need of documentation from the Bedouins’ standpoint. Besides, the Bedouins showed a peculiar use of technology that made the design process overall more interesting, fun, and challenging.