Parsons The New School for Design partnered with MOUSE and Parsons Scholars Program on a series of workshops that offer a design-centered approach to technology education.
gadgITERATION brought together two contrasting groups, MOUSE teens, who self-identity as techies, and the Parson Scholars, who define themselves as artists for a series of four hands-on, student directed workshops on physical computing and electronic tinkering. The workshops are designed to encourage creative and artistic engagement with technology and deepen engineering skills through an iterative design process.
Youth were introduced to The NoiseMaker, an open source device to learn about the basics of electric circuits and switches. As they became more comfortable with the device and contributed their respective techie and artistic expertise, youth participants leveled up from making very simple switches to experimenting with complex sculptural gadgets, even creating playful instruments and musical interfaces.
For the final challenge, they took on the role of mentors and facilitated a gadgITERATION workshop for middle school youth. The youth worked in groups to brainstorm and design mini-projects that would engage middle schoolers in an exploration of basic electrical concepts and show them how to make interactive objects using The Noisemaker.
This project was funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust in 2012 and 2013.
The gadgITERATION project team developed a website to document the values, methodology, workshops and publications.
Louisa Campbell, a professor at Parsons The New School for Design and one of the educators and designers on the gadgITERATION team reflects on the documentation process on Hive NYC’s blog.