The workshop »Design und Informatik begreifen« (»Grasping Design and Computer Science«) aims to train the digital competencies of schoolchildren in a playful way. We want to show how our world is increasingly merging with a digital world. The workshop is explicitly aimed at schoolchildren with no special technical training and prior knowledge.

 

In more detail, we investigate the technologies that drive digital products, which are increasingly dominating people's everyday lives. To do this, we take a look at topics of design, IT and electronics. These disciplines are largely responsible for the design of Internet applications and smart, sensor-based, networked products, and so on.

 

More information (in German): https://diginaut.at/blog/design-und-informatik-begreifen

‘Design Digitaler Systeme – IoT’ is a new Bachelor’s program at the New Design University in St. Pölten. It combines the disciplines design, computer sciences and electronical engineering to educate specialists in shaping applications that involve both information technology and physical artifacts. I was responsible for shaping the teaching methodology / didactics of the study program.

 

In this German article, I describe the underlying teaching philosophy for educating upcoming digital designers and computer specialists in the light of the digitial transformation:

Hurray! I have finally completed www.diginaut.at – the webpage for the new Bachelor’s program »Design Digitaler Systeme – IoT« at the new Design University in St. Pölten (Austria).

 

Read More: »www.diginaut.at« (2020)

 

LightSight is a new interactive toy for children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) that we built in the course of the Schaukasten project. To be precise, the device was created by the three Master students Hana, Konstantin, and Niloufar who could use this as an exercise and to get an certificate for a comprehensive course named 'Building Interaction Interfaces'. The development of LightSight is a good example for a project-based teaching process, where students independently conduct research to solve a probleme and hence discover or construct new knowledge. In the case of LightSight, the problem space was defined by the needs of children with CVI.

Children affected by CVI face different challenges in their perception and processing of information, and it is important to provide them with appropriate tools to train their vision skills and related competencies. To address this need, a tangible and illuminated dice was designed by Hana, Konstantin, and Niloufar. The dice wirelessly communicates with a game running on a tablet (dice and game together form LightSight). This concept should provide a playful way for the children to train their vision and a range of related motor and cognitive skills (e.g. manipulating the device with their hands, learning shapes etc.).

Read More: LightSight (2018)

I created the UbiKit for my teaching. Its main components are a screen in a wooden casing named the UbisScreen and the UbiUbi, which can be connected to the screen via USB. UbiScreen and UbiUbi together form the UbiKit (UbiScreen + UbiUbi = UbiKit).

The UbiUbi is an enhanced clone of the MakeyMakey, i.e., it is a keyboard and mouse emulator that can turn conductive materials into human input devices. To this end, various connector-ports on the UbiUbi allow connecting switches and keys by using alligator clips. For instance, a button made of Play-Doh could be connected to the ‘left-click’ port and a banana could be connected to the letter ‘a’ port (and so on). Touching the Play-Doh button would then result in a ‘mouse-clicked’ event and biting into the banana would type the letter ‘a’. This again, could trigger the display of different screen mock-ups on the wooden box. In summary, the UbiKit depicts a set of devices and tools to be taken home by the students and to be transformed into a rapidly developed tangible prototype. Here, The main focus is on screen-based interactions and on prototyping innovative and often playful interfaces for user input. UbiKit was made for early design explorations and removes heavy engineering or coding from the process.

Read More: UbiKit including UbiUbi (2016)