Learning Through Design Project: Designing Wisconsin Experiences

In Fall 2013, working with Jon McKenzie in English 177, our team continued its exploration of how mobile technologies propel design-based learning activities. Through a five-week process centered on the Wisconsin Experience at UW–Madison, a group of twenty students produced interactive, locative narratives in order to learn design principles. During this project, they conducted primary research in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society, iteratively designed a narrative from those sources, and represented that narrative in digital media in a way others could experience, using the location-based tool, ARIS.

Using a designed based research approach, a curricular design that facilitates this student activity was used and researched in the course context. In our first iteration in the Digital Literacies course with Erica Halverson, our team noticed opportunities to improve a number of curricular elements:

  • Reconcile student design visions with the affordances of the tool early in the process.
  • Prototype with non-digital media
  • Spread technical training throughout the activity for just-in-time learning of the tool.
  • Perform small warm-up design activities
  • Leverage the many communities the students have access to: Each other, Local technical support, the ARIS online communities, etc.

In this iteration, those lessons were addressed with a number of fundamental changes to the design.

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