Applied Ed: Fashion, Engineering, and Engineering to Innovate Children Literacy

“This project was a great addition to my Product Development course. Students in this course run through a simulated product development process with a fake department store, and it is greatly beneficial to be able to add a hands-on project that calls on the skills and knowledge they learn throughout the semester” said Professor Kayla Crecelius, the Director of the project, she is an Assistant Professor, Fashion and Management at Indiana Tech.

Tim Hostetler is a Manufacturing Engineering student at Indiana Tech. Together with Fashion Marketing students they came up with the structure components and design of the Literacy Book Blanket after a local community partner addressed the need for such a useful material.

This project was done by Indiana tech students in collaboration with the C3 Applied Ed program. The C3 Applied Ed program is a low-intimacy, low-risk, action-based learning opportunity to provide students with academic rigor and immediate practical application over the course of a 16-week course, culminating in a professional presentation to the community partner. The purpose of this program is to help students to be able to apply what they learn in class into the real world with practical projects.

“The main benefit in bringing these real-world opportunities into the classroom is the value it adds to the students’ education. They can apply knowledge learned through lecture and assignments to a real-world issue and work through the process to arrive at a solution. It is also a great opportunity for students to meet and interact with industry/community members.” Professor Kayla Crecelius

The motive behind the project is that every household should have a book. The book folds into a blanket. The blanket is for covering purposes and can be folded into a book which kids can look at and read at the same time.

Students expressed their excitement towards the project, they really liked working on this unique product. They do not necessarily benefit much from it as the product is for toddlers. But it will have a great impact on their practical learning experience. That is one of our goals as the C3, to help students to be able to apply what they learn in class into the real world with real life situations. Also, the project helps with Portfolio benefits for students.

“I have been enjoying the project, being able to create a children’s blanket book has been challenging but also exciting. Being able to create what very few know how to is a great feeling. The most interesting thing about the blanket project would be sealing the blanket together while keeping it child proof. Everyone in the real world started in the classroom but using other people’s creative ideas and intelligence and mixing with yours could help bring a lot of new ideas to the real world to help teach more.” Samantha Carter.

The finished product is particularly for hospitals, daycare, pre-school, nursery school and to be used by little infants. It’s a dream by a nursery teacher, Becki Carman. She dreams to see kids grow with literacy to read. Considering the modern-day age, most kids are missing out the value of reading books. Electronic gadgets are addictive and more appealing than flipping pages in a book.

“The most interesting part of this project for me was learning about all of the specifications and requirements that go into creating a product like this. Not only safety concerns for the user (infants/toddlers), but literacy standards and practices as well. It was great learning from Becki and helping bring her idea to life.” Professor Kayla Crecelius

Some of the challenges encountered with the making of the blanket is that, there are no Velcro belts for carrying the product around. Professor Kayla Crecelius Ritchie, the Director of the project explained that the closure part might also be dangerous to the kids, as they might choke themselves. Other than that, the blanket is comfortable, washable and flame retardant.