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After synthesizing my field research, I developed a framework for what I believe creates healthy play experiences for kindergarteners. The Formula for Complex Play Patterns is a combination of intangible and tangible components that must be present for play.

Formula Explained

In the classroom, the intangible conditions are Play is Valued and Time for Play. Teachers must value play and see its benefit in the classroom as a critical part of the curriculum. In addition, teachers see play as a significant contribution to the overall well-being of their students. Classrooms that value play dedicate time every school day to free play giving kindergarteners the freedom to choose their own activities.

The tangible conditions in my framework are Variety of Experience, Variety of Materials and Variety of Space.

Variety of Experience

I spoke with teachers who told me that enhancing play often means giving students exposure to the world around them through fiction and non-fiction books, images and field trips. These experiences could also include the entertainment they consume, the toys they own and the games that they play. I also believe that play can be enhanced during playtime by introducing narratives, challenges and obstacles. I also think that the more experiences a child has, the more complex and sophisticated the play scenario gets as storytelling and narratives emerge.

Variety of Materials

Kindergarteners need the right toys to play. For creative play to exist, toys must be modular and adaptable to a child’s play scenario. Furthermore, children need access to supplementary tools such as paper, textiles and art supplies to complement their toys. These supplemental tools serve as a means to expand the play scenarios that they create.

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Photo Set

Since our group project is focusing on productivity and how people achieve tasks. I took photos of my co-workers to-do lists.

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this prototype relates to one of my earlier sketches. I like the idea of doing something flexible and as well as using a metaphor. this prototype would not work like the other prototypes, this would help users determine their moments (time) of optimal productivity per project.

Users could move the different projects around and immediately see their most productive times of day per project.

materials: origami paper, magnets, plastic, stickers

Photo Set

using my prototype at work. prototype a took up a decent amount of space on my desk and it was also hard to push in the thumbnails.

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This is a smaller version of protoype A made with a stainless steel ruler, magnets, and origami paper. This version would work in the same way as prototype a, but as a smaller display could be more private and personal to the user.

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This prototype is a large color display that would track accomplishments towards goals.  The colors are similar to the ones featured in Csíkszentmihályi’s Challenge vs. Skill diagram. The object would live in a user’s workspace and be connected to a website that would keep track of my tasks and goals. As I complete my specified goals, the clear “buttons” would move closer to to the right (flow). This is a visual status display of my progress.

Prototype A is large so it is possible that using this at work in a public area, would make a user’s goals visible to others which may or may not be intended.

This prototype was made with a piece of wood, origami paper, and push pins.

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Flow state and productivity are related.

I am currently reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. Ferriss discusses creating dreamlines as a way of figuring out how much the goals you want to accomplish and the things that you want to buy will cost (lifestyle costing). With each dreamline, you define a plan to reach the desired goal by seperating the steps into now, tomorrow, and the day after. Each step closer to the goal gets challenging (relatively speaking), but no less harder to reach.

In theory, this is very similar to Csíkszentmihályi’s thoughts on increasing challenges in in a specific goal to maintain interest and attention.

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I’m starting my flow research with this book by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

I haven’t finished the book, but one of the key components of achieving flow is setting goals. I am incorporating this theme into my physical object prototype.

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First sketch after deciding I wanted to explore an object for Flow State. The most direct metaphor is water so the sketch explores how that object might look and behave.

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Flow is achieved when there is appropiate balance between the challenge of the task and the goal of the person.

Looking at Csíkszentmihályi’s diagram, I am wondering if this is an appropiate metaphor to translate to a physical object.