“STEAM = Science & Technology interpreted through
Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements” (STEAM edu, 2015).
“The latest round of international standardized test results showed American students are lagging behind the rest of the developed world not

“STEAM = Science & Technology interpreted through
Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements” (STEAM edu, 2015).
“The latest round of international standardized test results showed American students are lagging behind the rest of the developed world not just in math, science and reading, but in problem solving as well. The 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test examined 44 countries’ students’ problem-solving abilities — American students landed just above the average, but they still scored below many other developed countries, including Britain, Singapore, Korea, Japan, China and Canada” (Bertram, 2015).
Lack of quality education, busy households, and limited time and money can all be factors of why children are not academically supported. What would it look like if children had access to a tool that helped them catch up if they fall behind? A tool that empowers children to solve academic and real-world world problems will help strengthen different cognitive and behavioral skills as well as create a more personalized educational experience, inside the classroom and out. This tool can be applied to the way we look at our formal academic education to help build new, creative problem solving strategies that are tailored to each student’s preferred ways of learning.

Proposed Research

My research is driven by the following question:

How do we create a tool for students that will help them maneuver busy and over-populated classrooms to help them learn better?

I am interested in studying the ways in which children in the age range of 11-14 play, specifically through video gaming, and using this influence to promote learning. By using children’s gaming interests to inspire education, they will be more inclined to participate in learning activities in the classroom. By exploring and observing how children problem solve in gaming, I will be able to pull techniques and methods from play in order to enhance critical learning. This project will begin in mid-May, and will continue after my thesis defense when I take this project into the workforce and am applying for jobs.
I will be taking a mixed methods approach to my research by using a combination of:
Qualitative methods: Observational data will be collected in many ways including but not limited to sketches, photography, writing, and film. After gathering base-level observational data I plan to use this, as well as my prototypes from the early phases of my product’s life to create a study to better understand users’ preferences with my product. This will include different colors, ergonomic shapes, part lines, and more to allow for a large range of feedback.
Surveys and interviews: I wish to interview and survey policymakers, educators, students, and other stakeholders invested in education to better understand their needs, in order to ensure that my product is feasible in the eyes of policymakers. It is important that my specific product not only serve as a tool for students, but also for teachers to learn as well. Making this product as something practical and scalable is important in terms of feasibility.
Thematic groups: Observing user groups interacting with my product/project will help me adjust to my general end goals.

Actionable Insights

After gathering data from interviews, surveys, observations, and product feedback, I plan to analyze this data and make sufficient changes to my project in order to better serve the community in which I am trying to benefit. Doing this will help my project be more effective and impactful.

Limitations will depend on rules on photography and interviewing. The timeline of the analysis of the data collected will be similar to the timeline provided for the senior studio class for traditional industrial design students.
Expected Outcomes
The proposed research will strengthen my design skills and expand my knowledge as a design student interested in the user experience, wellbeing, access to arts education, and much more. I will have a final outcome of a physical product that will be used as an initiative to help children studying STEM subjects to find new, creative, and different ways of solving problems.
As I will be doing this project in congruency with my senior industrial design studio, my schedule has been roughly predetermined.
Literature review and preliminary research will be taken care of during this part of my thesis project. I will also be contacting people I would like to see be involved in this project during this time.
1. Exploration
a. Assign01: Mind map + Visit the world
b. Assign02: Observations + Interviews
2. Making sense of the data + Concepts
a. Assign03: POG + Ideation
b. Assign04: Concept Evaluation + Selection
c. Partner School Determined
3. Concept Direction + Customer Validation + Research Summary
a. Assign05: Hard device and Screen Mock-ups + Customer Feedback
b. Assign06: Mid-term presentation of research + Life-Cycle
1. Form Development + Drivers
a. Assign07: Design Language + Out into the World
b. Assign08: Product Details + Function
c. Wire frames Due
2. Study Models + CAD Model
a. Assign09: Refined 3D Study Model
b. Assign10: CAD Model + Tech Drawings
c. Running Step-Through
3. Design Validation + Refinement
a. Assign11: Persona Check +CMF + Features & Benefits
4. Storyboard Development + Visual Poster
a. Assign12: Storyboard + Life of Product
b. Assign13: Poster + Presentation Outline
c. Assign14: Product Animation
5. Final Presentation
a. Assign15: Process Book
b. Assign16: Public presentation
This is the time I will use to have my code built out a bit more. I will come back into the next semester with a code that functions in my form that I have decided on.
This time will be used to run user tests on my product, and make desired changes to it in order to fully iterate and design my concept well and with data-driven desires.
I plan to meet with my studio professor, Dosun Shin, once every two weeks to discuss how my project is progressing. My second committee member will be Dean Bacalzo. My committee will be contacted on a monthly basis by way of email with updates on my project’s process. From there I will be able to ask for suggestions and schedule meeting times to further discuss my project.

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