|Tangible Interfaces for Systems thinking learning|
|Key words : Physical prototyping, screen prototyping, Tangible manipulatives, children, play, learning, nature|
|Skills used: Physical prototyping, Flash prototyping, Illustration, game design, interaction design|
Mini Eco-Pods Overview
Mini Eco-Pods is a system that allows children to keep track of their class garden and natural elements over time. The Mini Eco-Pods system builds on outdoor education methods, in which children are encouraged to explore nature. Mini Eco-Pods enhances this method of teaching by allowing children to monitor their garden and allowing them to keep track of the changes of different natural elements. Using this information the children can compare and reflect on past events and their influence on the garden.
The system is composed of four monitoring devices (the Mini Eco-Pods) and an information display and retrieval system. The first three monitor (respectively) water, light, and temperature periodically. The fourth Mini Eco-Pods takes a picture of plants in its proximity. The information is stored in the Mini Eco-Pods until children retrieve it.
As children tend their class garden, they can pace their Mini Eco-Pods near their plants. As they do so, the Mini Eco-Pods start the tracking task. Each time children can take the Mini Eco-Pods and place them on the display and retrieval system. By doing that, the information stored in each Mini Eco-Pods is transferred to the display system. The display system allows the children to see the daily changes and understand the impacts of past events.
Through this playful, intuitive interaction, children can learn Systems Thinking core concepts, such as feedback loops, stocks and flows, and changes over time.
<div class="caption">The story tells the sad case of the explorer that lost his collection. this collection contained items he brought from all over the world. It had the hottest items, the coldest, and so on. Children were asked to draw their ideas about the different elements of nature.