Tour + Workshop: Communication and Social Networks
By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, February 24, 2010
- Elementary School
- Language Arts
Arts and Communication
Standard 2. Knows and applies appropriate criteria to arts and communication products
Knows and applies criteria to evaluate industrial arts products (e.g., design craftsmanship, function, and aesthetic qualities)
Standard 3. Level II. Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual
2. Knows areas in which technology has improved human lives (e.g., transportation, communication, nutrition, sanitation, health care, entertainment)
3. Knows that new inventions often lead to other new inventions and ways of doing things
Standard 4. Level II. Understands the nature of technological design
2. Knows that group collaboration is useful as the combination of multiple creative minds can yield more possible design solutions
3. Knows that the design process is a series of methodical steps for turning ideas into useful products and systems
7. Evaluates a product or design (e.g., considers how well the product or design met the challenge to solve a problem; considers the ability of the product or design to meet constraints), and makes modifications based on results
- Visit the National Design Triennial: Why Design Now? and look at projects in the Communication, Energy, and Health sections.
- In small teams, be assigned a different demographic challenge card that needs communication solutions.
- Explore different sectors (i.e. Health and Energy) that can aid in communication.
- Consider ways to solve this current-day communication problem with creative and innovative options.
- Get-Together. Hilary Cottam, Hugo Manassei and Michael Tolhurst, Participle Ltd. United Kingdom. (in Health Section).
- Learning Landscape. Uganda, U.S. and Dominican Republic. Emily Pilloton, Heleen De Goey, Dan Grossman, Kristina Drury, Neha Thatte, Matthew Miller, and Ilona de Jongh, Project H Design. US.
- Nokia Open Studios. Younghee Jung, Jan Chipchase, Indri Tulusan, Fumiko Ichikawa and Tiel Attar, Nokia Corporation. Finland, Brazil, Ghana and India.
- Etsy. Founded by Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire and Haim Schopik. U.S.
- SunShade. Lianne van Genugten. The Netherlands (in Energy Section).
- Twitter. Founded by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, design by Douglas Bowman. U.S.
- Challenge cards
- Drawing paper
- Optional model building supplies
- Graphic design: the practice or profession of creating or developing print or electronic forms of visual information for areas such as publications, advertisement, packaging or websites.
- Log an identifying symbol (as seen in media formats such as print, television, business cards, etc.)
- Prototype: an original type, form, or instance of something serving as a typical example, basis, or standard for other things of the same
The purpose of this activity is to provide students with an opportunity to analyze a problem and brainstorm ways to solve it.
1. Divide the class into small groups.
2. Give each team a challenge card: 1. Elderly people living in an urban area; 2. Elderly people living in a rural area; 3. Kids and teens around the world who are studying different languages; 4. Neighbors from the same building or block who don’t know each other; 5. Local craftspeople in Bolivia with goods to sell.
3. Ask students to come up with a system to help the subjects communicate with one another, be it within their groups (challenge cards 1,2,4) or across the globe (challenge cards 3,5). The communication systems can be either a new invention, or build onto an existing technology.
4. Explain to students that the goal is to think creatively about an existing problem… Ask them to brainstorm why certain resources (options in the Health and Energy section) were included for communication solutions. It's the thinking process that is important not the feasibility of the idea. Be sure to stress the importance of audience to each group, i.e. Local craftspeople in Bolivia most likely have very limited internet access… how can their communication ideas apply to this situation; do certain groups even need technology?
5. Have teams write down all their ideas. Ask students to select one of the ideas and draw an illustration of its procedures. Give students extra time to create a brand name and logo for their product, make sure it is easy to read and interesting. If time permits and it makes sense with their proposal, you can provide materials for students to be able to create models for their communication system.
6. Provide time for students to share their ideas.
Each team should be asked the following during their presentations:
- What sustainable features does your communication system include?
- Is your system scalable – can it get bigger or smaller depending on use or population
- Does your system take into account the demographic of the user
- Would this system be an adjustment for people or is it similar (inspired by) a current system in use?
Enrichment Extension Activities
- Decide on most creative and applicable communication design.
- Find areas in school to display poster boards.
- Discuss means of different or more efficient communication (i.e. pictograms).
- Try to utilize a different communication system for one class period to see if designs are possible