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Looking in greater detail..

For the Change by Design module we have continued researching and developing our ideas in response to the RSA brief  ‘In the Round’, from which we discussed ways of connecting young people with 3D objects. We thought of several ways we could accomplish this and decided we would spread an idea, a viral meme, with a ‘make your own’ instrument plan. This was a way of reconnecting children with the world and objects around them and removing them from their digital screens but exploiting the online world to spread the idea.  For assignment three we were asked to further research certain elements of our chosen product; I decided to focus my research on the potential benefits of this type of product; Improved spatial awareness, team building, ways to help understanding/following instructions and also ways of helping behavior problems in younger people and also the positive impact on a young teens social standing or mood. Using the Cross search method I came across a variety of books I found helpful but in particular; Emotional & Behavioural difficulties, Theory in Practice; Paul Cooper, Colin J. Smith and Graham Upton.

The book is fundamentally about alternative ways of education to motivate and communication with young troubled people; each chapter touches upon a different issue ranging from how teachers can affect performance, the stigma attached to troubled teens, seeing problems in context, the nature and developement of behavioural problems into the importance of relationships. All of these topics are vital and key to our ideas of spreading a viral meme.

The book discusses, which I think to be the most important issue, children with behavioural problems do not bring it on themselves they are usually in fact an outcome from a poor environment or lack the so easily overlooked acceptance and nurture teaching and home environments are meant to provide. When referring to troubled children they are exposed to the stigma of being ‘maladjusted children’, as they were categorised until 1981 Education Act, which reflects a perceptual model, a stereotype. The education system is full of these ‘maladjusted’ individuals and are singled out and segregated by their teachers either due to this stigma or the teacher is just not equipped or capable of controlling their students. Due to the changing perceptions of student versus teacher, student versus home life; the nature of the school system, and how its management may create rather than ameliorate difficulties in the learning and behaviour.  In 1945 being a maladjusted teen  was a category of handicap, maladjusted teens were those who ‘show emotional instability or psychological disturbance and require special educational treatment in order to effect their personal, social or educational readjustment’ (Laslett, 1983). This is something I strongly disagree with, the idea of sending a child to a special school will not heal any emotional damage or aid in any confidence building, if anything will add to their self-esteem issues and effect a future career or further education.

Another key chapter I found incredibly interesting as well as useful was the look into the importance of relationships in young developing minds. The author discusses the main corner stones of any healthy individual needing a strong and stable support network; family, friends and self-worth. Without any  of these features a child will struggle and could go on to develop coping mechanisms or even mental health issues such as Borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD in particular has no known original other than the similar family history relating to; physical/sexual abuse, neglect and mental abuse however, there is no medical proof this is the case there is also a possibility of being a female based hereditary mental health condition.

The importance of relationships I’m sure anyone can see is key in all ages of life, to a young developing brain even more so. Relationships as a child influence your future romantic, professional and social relationships; simple people skills. The author continues to comment on how this can be combatted in the early stages through dynamic psychotherapy, addressing the issue, assessing the issue and following relevent steps and phases to change the childs state of mind. These are unconscious processes to aid anxiety and psychic pain, defence mechanisms (which is the main reason children with behavioural issues act out), motivational drives; developement phases.

‘One of the reasons why emotional experiences are not assimilated into our conscious view of ourselves is the anxiety (psychic pain) which such material may cause. Feeling unloved or unwanted by one’s parents, for example, is not easy to accept. While it is possible for considerable amounts of anxiety to be tolerated, even for relativity long periods, and while a certain level of anxiety is helpful in fostering optimal performance especially in competitive situations, high levels of anxiety can produce serious emotion distress.’ This passage I thought was the most powerful to convey the importance of stability and how fragile and delicate young minds are without the correct type of nurture and guidance.

Drawing on all I had read and learned from the book thus far the most relevant information to my brief was educational responses and curriculum developement. This surprisingly short chapter discussing simple ways of helping children improving many aspects of their life and mood as well as thinking. As the author lists many alternative medicines and ‘special’ schools, he then makes an interesting point that subjects which are already party of every school curriculum were found to make the best impact and induce dramatic changes within pupils. These areas were; drama, physical education, MUSIC, ART and CRAFT. The author goes on to discuss why these specific areas help and what they help,

‘Physical education helps increase awareness of self through its concentration on bodily strength, fitness and co-ordination. Drama, like imaginative play, is an occasion for releasing feelings and discussing and interpreting them. MUSIC offers help in understanding changed of mood and the pleasure of creativity in making one’s own music. Art and craft activities help provide alternative means of communication, distraction and relaxation from all other tensions and the success which comes from overcoming frustration in surmounting difficulties and producing a finished product.’ This passage embodies all that our design ideas are based. Creating  an outlet for young people to vent and be part of something bigger, for this to be so simple is inspiring and yet heartbreaking. For all those people who have faced hardship and struggle with their adult lives because these symptoms were not recognised when they were a child and their requirements to be a happy individual were not met.

For my second research piece I found Cultures and Processes of Adult Learning, a book of articles which brings together a number of major contributions to the analysis and conceptions of learning during adult-hood. It highlights continuing debates and issues about educational policy and practice and also the relationship between teacher and pupil touching on topics like self empowerment. Each chapter looks at the topic is an analytical view of the subject drawing on sociology and psychology.

This article employs the same ideologies of  Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties -Theory in Practice however applies them in a different manner; Kolb also discusses alternative structure and teaching practice but has a much more simplified and less specialist method which could easily become part of a teachers arsenal or a completely new way of training teachers for young children.

After reflecting on what I have read I feel that I have a better idea of what our idea should do and how it can help those in need of release. Each of these writen works have inspired me and pushed my motivation to think of how to spread the word/meme . Our product is about a trend, people getting together and creating musical insturments that may not even make sound but it will be drawing young people together, giving a support network to those who may already have a happy and life but also give those who don’t a chance to have a happy future. It is imperative for this trend to be an outide school activity or it will not seem as ‘sticky’ or cool to participate in, if young teens are paranoid and anxious about being judged for joining in with a school activity we must take our product somewhere that all children can compelled to join in. By using our simple instrument making techniques and perhaps recording online tutorials, we will provide possible troubled young people with creativity which I have found can help work though issues and frustration. A type of art therapy.. The musical aspects of this idea also contribute to other aspects of perhaps the more technical than creatuve audience and could help promote competition and well as a ‘band bond’. I thuroughly enjoyed reading each of these peices and I feel it has benefitted and broadened my feild of research yet at the same time made me more focussed on my specific goal.

Paul Cooper, Colin J. Smith and Graham Upton, 1994, Emotional & Behavioural difficulties – Theory to Practice, London.

Mary Thorpe, Richard Edwards, Ann Hanson, 1993, Cultures and Processes of Adult Learning, Oxford, Chapter 9, The Process of Experimental Learning, David A. Kolb.

As a group we met up with another CBD group to discuss our findings and give feedback on eachothers new ways of thinking as a result from our further research.

The original critizm of our idea was  how to get it known without introducing it in school, and new ideas of posters without words have emerged, online tutorials or ‘catch-phrase’ songs which can be recognised from a far as a ‘The Battle of the Pop-Up Flash Orchestras’… for example, catchy theme songs, the Dr Who theme tune, Alton Towers -Hall of the Mountain King. Imigary: – Live long and posper, devil horns to a thumbs up. (Shown by Alice)

The Future can be invented..?

Our second speaker of Friday 13/10  was Professor Mike Press, completely awe-inspiring legend. Following on the theme of being outside the box and how to not limit possibility he began his talk with Isambard Kingdon Brunel. After a silent response to the obvious question what did he do, he proceeded to tell us about the rail line connecting LONDON(?) and Bristol which he built; what makes this track different from any other rail line? It’s completely flat and also uses the longest tunnel in the Uk. Professor Mike point was that it was an incredible feat of engineering but why go through all the difficulty making it flat? Why no minor inclines or trenches? -The concept was for the traveler to be ‘floating over the landscape’. Rather than thinking small, easy, cost efficient he thought with limitless ambition -BIG.

He continued with discussing William Morris the Father of the Arts and Crafts movement, mentioning how he aimed to answer the question;
How do you create an alternative model of day-to-day living?

From talking about how William Morris gave people work in creative practice and an alternative -Arts and Crafts.

I wrote so many notes during this lecture I was too intimidated to write it all up incase I got something wrong. 28 pages of me trying to keep up with this man’s awesome thread of thought.. Impossible to recreate without losing the enthusiasm. Not bad for a fan of Steve Jobs.

Sorry Mike Press I am only human, and not a very good one either.

Assignment 3 – Changed by Design

For our Change by Design module we were split into teams for assignment 2 , we were given the brief  ‘In the Round’ from which we discussed ways of connecting young people with 3D objects. We thought of several ways we could accomplish this and decided we should make a ‘make your own’ instrument kit. For assignment three we were asked to further research certain elements of our chosen product; I have decided to focus my research on the potential benefits of this type of product; Improved spatial awareness, team building, ways to help understanding/following instructions and also ways of helping behavior problems in younger people.

The aim of this assignment is looking into a new way of researching using the Dundee Cross-Search.Dundee.ac.uk and other facilities as opposed to purely web-based findings using Google. The Cross search website was overly complex and difficult to navigate which is why it easy to assume so many people refer to google, I personally found browsing the DJCAD library shelves a lot more rewarding.

Ronald B. Adler, George Rodman, 2006, Understanding Human communication, Ninth Edition,  Oxford, Chapter 8, Nature of Groups.

This chapter discusses the importance of group communication; role-related problems, social groups and implications, patterns of interaction and the illusive consensus within a team. These key themes relate directly to our product idea, linking people together without the negative aspects of gang mentality. The chapter goes on to discuss the different types of personalities which flourish within a group or are lost as white noise, Battle of the Pop-Up Orchestra is about giving everyone a voice and not to down other ou;t giving each contribute a sense of worth which will eventually become confidence building and could perhaps lead them to be more comfortable in Social situations. For example, Asperger’s Syndrome where a person does not feel comfortable or welcome in crowd, could also help build confidence in people with mental illness such as BPD.

Mary Thorpe, Richard Edwards, Ann Hanson, 1993, Cultures and Processes of Adult Learning, Oxford, Chapert 9, The Process of Experimental Learning, David A. Kolb.

This complete book was quite an interesting read with inspirational quotes and ideas laced throughout, each writer has a contrasting style keeping the book fresh and impossible to put down. ‘Experimental learning theory offers a fundamentally different view of the learning process from that of the behavioral theories of learning based on an empirical epistemology or the more implicit theories of learning that underlie traditional education methods, methods that for the most part are based on rational, idealist epistemology’; Despite being sincerely long-winded This directly applies to another aspect of out project which we wanted to develop; writing/seeing/hearing music. We discussed at great length different ways children could learn to write their own music and read it without learning music theory and sheet music; we lightly touched apon different ways shades of colours or patterns can relate to notes like in the popular game phenomena Guitar Hero/Rock Band.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time

T.S. Eliot, Four Quarters

Relating our theme back to the brief we were asked specifically to find a way of reconnecting young people with 3D objects, one particular benefit I cold imagine from you people using our idea/product of Battle of the Pop-Up Orchestra; improved spatial awareness.
Spatial Awareness and Disabilities
Children who do not naturally develop spatial awareness may have a physical or learning disability that is precluding this development. For example, Asperger’s Syndrome and Dyspraxia both often manifest a lack of spatial awareness. Sometimes this can be seen in children who appear clumsy, can not follow instructions or directions and can not tell his/her left from right.


http://www.kidsdevelopment.co.uk/spatialawarenessyoungchildren.html

Helping tackle this issue by introducing it to children while they are young may not solve the problem but be a way of helping them.

Stephen M. Alessi, Stanely R. Trollip, 2001, Multimedia for Learning; Methods and Developement, Third Addition, USA,Chapter 8, Page 277, General Factors in Games.

This book is actually a guide into the modern age and how to adapt to the modern digital ways of life, exactly what The Battle of the Pop-Up Orchestra is trying to avoid and solve, however this chapter I found particularly useful as it lists the critical factors needed in accomplishing an understandable or even  ‘viral’ game.
-Rules
-Goals
-Competition
-Challenge
-Safety/Comfort (Applied to our topic meaning surroundings)
-Players -Making friends.

Which tidily brings me on to my final point…
-EQUIPMENT!

Sadami Yamada, Kiyotada Ito, 1967, New Dimentions in Paper Craft, London.

A book about origami with brief blurbs into the history of the art and small descriptions of materials used and how to manipulate them. The fundamental target of our project is to make young people look at 3D objects in a new way, to look at a margarine tub and see a guitar, a wine glass as a flute; in this book the authors share the same eloquent ideology of materials. ‘We must know what possibilities paper has as a plastic material if we are to use it to express our ideas, call forth inner emotions and images, and express something plastically as we refine our own senses of the plastic while adhering to the commandments of aesthetic order and reason’. This is an idea we wish to spread, for something to be timeless and constantly reinvented, manipulated and changed by design.

Horses don’t make good designers.

Today as usual we had another inspirational talk for our Change By Design module, to open the morning of lectures we had a fellow DJCAD student, Douglas Kinnear, talk about his experience as an undergraduate design student specialising in jewelry. From the off he was a likable character who seemed moderately comfortable talking to a crowd of tired students first thing on a Friday morning.

He began talking about his expectations starting at the uni from doing and HND in art and Design at College, he describes his focus as having ‘blinkers’ on. This i could definitely relate to with past experiences at other institutions, confusing tunnel/narrow vision with determination and ambition while missing the big picture. After several years of dotting around various schools and different teaching styles as well as gaining and impressive pile of rejection letters from art schools across the country -I entered this course as open mindedly as I possible could. Almost will to take anything that came at me even if it wasn’t what I wanted to do, just to get somewhere in education, almost settling for Textiles over fashion. If anything I have learned over the last few weeks of the course it is that at this fantastic design school the course and what you study is what you make of it! Which I think is the point Douglas was trying to get across.

Douglas continued to talk about his ‘hallelujah’ moments when he realised not everything had to be strictly jewelry to relate to his craft. For his fourth year project he began working on the concept of medicinal jewelry: Something which would distribute medication while not looking like something which would instantly have a stigma attached ‘oh, what’s wrong with that person’. He began to see the wood for the trees so to speak, that design was about everything and anything around us which inspires us that can be changed for the better or taking an existing product/idea and using it in a different way to create something completely new.

His main point throughout his short talk was how to appreciate what we are being taught and to ‘absorb’ ALL the information given to us, not filtering out what we believe to be irrelevant to our chosen specialism. See everything as being relevant.

Be a sponge – Not a horse.

www.dougiekinnear.com

More notes from Friday to follow, there is a lot which has to be said reflecting on professor Mike Press’ excellent and awe-inspiring lecture.