30 September 2015

Designing the I.C.E. Lab—From Me to We


We just completed our first full month of our I.C.E. Lab class. I thought it would be good to provide a little update of some of our progress. The goal again is for students to be a part of the whole process, to own every aspect of this space, right from the beginning. So we did not start with a pre-made, pre-setup, pre-designed space. We are doing it from scratch, and hacking and problem-solving as we go along.

Problem 1 | Project 1: Design the Space

The first Problem we needed to work on, since we started with an empty space and a bunch of new technology, was:

How Do I/We Design a Creative Space?

The goal was to get the students thinking about the design process by getting them to start with what we have, think about what we may need, and categorize our inventory list in a way that would help create different micro-environments within our space. 

Students had to come up with their own ideas first, then the problem moved from "I" to "We." 

To facilitate this, we needed to start our first project:

Design our I.C.E. Lab

We tried to use some principles from Creative Confidence by David Kelley and Tom Kelley to help us. We also used some ideas from NoTosh.com to help with the prototype process (specifically the 1 Hour Prototype).

What did we find out from this process? Well over a month in, and we are still the process of setting everything up! We have had to beg, borrow, and "steal" to get extra furniture and supplies. Instead of being able to focus exclusively on setting up the Lab within the first few weeks, we have instead had to start and stop many times on specific goals because of the realities of living and working within a system that has constraints. And a school is a system with many constraints!

Learnings

We were told we cannot permanently modify the space in any way, which has become a good problem to hack around.

We were not given a budget so the students had to come up with one and set-up a meeting with the director to ask for one.

We were not given any storage so a few of the students were tasked with coming up with the measurements of a prototype cabinet to present to the director.

Our DIY 3D printer was missing parts so we have had to mothball our biggest project until we can get the missing parts shipped to us.

We initially attempted to create a few different micro-environments (as suggested by the Kelley bros) but found the space had limitations (like outlets and not modifying) so we have more or less put that goal on hold.

The space only has one outlet so there is a maximum of one station that can have electronic equipment plugged in. Our current hack is to try to get maintenance to use the existing and unused projector mount connection to create a hanging, retractable ceiling outlet.

We have a Problem/Project of effectively sharing and communicating our ideas with various audiences. We have created a class blog structure but the idea has yet to take off.

Some students are not as into programming and robotics as others so they have had more difficulty finding projects to start now that we are not focusing on designing the space and the 3D printer.

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