The group has formed around shared interest in creating something which will either prepare students for work after education (educating them about or providing them with intra-personal skills) or will help students make more informed choices about their futures while still in education.
Who to target and why?
There have been many discussions around how our target audience should be. We had initially focused our plans on 3rd level students who are possible in the final year of their courses or about to graduate. It did come up that group projects and soft skills (intra-personal skills) do already form a good part of college work, we may have been trying to fix a problem which is not as big as we thought it was.
Our attention then focused more towards students in second level. All members of the group have either experienced first-hand or seen people close to us go into 3rd level courses which didn’t quite suit them, either their research into the course was lacking, they felt pressured to go to college rather than take some time out after school or they just weren’t fully aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.
In following group discussions we decided to focus our attention towards a 2nd level target audience, in particular Transition Year students who haven’t yet made their Leaving Certificate subject selection.
Transition Year Students
All members of the group had experience of filling out the DAT’s aptitude tests in school, which gave feedback about what our academic strengths were. There is also the QUALIFAX test (which is a bit after my personal second level time) where students select what career paths they are already interested in.
Some of our initial discussions were about the possibility of creating some sort of artefact which was based around the idea of personality types – such as DiSC which gives users feedback on what their dominant personality traits are e.g. introvert or extrovert, task driven or results driven etc.
This was something that I was personally very interested in since I had taken part in a DiSC personality test workshop very recently. I liked the idea of raising the awareness in students of the fact that not everyone they will deal with in professional life beyond college will be from the same discipline as them, have the same agendas or deal with challenges the same way. It is something that I have learned from my own experiences working that it does take time to get your bearings in a new work environment. The issue I saw was the fact that, in particular with the creative industries, there isn’t necessarily the luxury of time to get to know your colleagues and find your feet. Instead of starting a job which you could potentially have for 10 years you are more likely to start a contract which could potentially only have a life-span of a couple of months.
We decided that a potential project idea would be to take what is already existing in Irish schools (i.e. DAT’s tests) which focus primarily on academic aptitude and incorporate elements of personality profiling.
We arranged a meeting with the Retention Officer in the college who has also extensive experience in ARG’s (a possible application of our idea). He was very helpful and seemed to think that we may actually be on to something with our idea. Dropout rates in the first year of 3rd level education are quite high. At this point we are not exactly sure of the reasons behind these drop outs so in order to find out more we have arranged meetings with the college councillor (who would have first-hand experience of dealing with students considering leaving), the college’s Careers Officer and the Schools Liaison Officer who works with promoting the college to secondary schools around the country.
Our hope is that gaining some insight from these experts will help us come up with a more solid idea and hopefully they will be able to tell us if the need for what we want to create actually exists.
Application of the project
We talked a lot about the possibility for creating and ARG (after a very inspiring lecture from the college’s ARG expert). It would involve a vast amount of work, and with all ARG’s the success is almost completely dependent on whether it gets picked up by the public. This was a risk that was perhaps we were not that willing to take. If an ARG was to be created we felt that it would have to be delivered to a captive audience, such as a voluntary secondary school class who were willing to commit a group of students and a few hours of their time to our project.
We have since been exploring the idea of either a trans-media artefact or an interactive narrative where the users engagement will give them feedback about their personality characteristics or guidance on possible areas of study.
Scale of the project
It was suggested to us that it could be branded specifically to DkIT, so that the user upon completion will be directed towards which DkIT course best would suit them. This does bring up some issues. DkIT does offer quite an expansive selection of courses but there are some obvious gaps, such as fine art, architecture, medicine, and teaching. It would need to encompass more colleges, perhaps all the NUI institutes?
There is also the other option of rolling our project put as a prototype, making it very clear from the outset that it is just an example of a part of a much larger project (scale of which would be unfeasible for us). This does have the advantage of allowing us to do a small part really well rather than something larger which is compromised by our time-scale, limited budget and persons involved.
Our group came into life this week, individual Pecha Kucha presentations about ourselves/interests and then another 3 minute individual presentation about what we want to work on.
We’ve formed around our shared interest in providing alternative education (our targeted demographics range at the moment from second level to graduates – this needs to be refined).
We want to create something which involves collaboration between multiple users, or providing real life skills which are valuable in the real world (specifically working life rather than the structured environment of education). In particular, the problem that we have highlighted is the fact that very little emphasis is placed on teaching students how to work/collaborate with people of other professions or backgrounds.
I’ve come at this from the angle of someone who has experienced professional life. Previously, when people were more career based you had the luxury of time in a new job to get the lay of the land, figure out how to interact with your workmates and how to read each client. But now as working life is more precarious, particularly for Creative Industry workers who move from one freelance project to another, you don’t have this luxury. Workers are required more and more to make very quick judgement calls on how to best work with other people. I know from experience that it could take 3-4 months to get settled in to a new job, now jobs may only last 3-4 weeks.
We’ve all agreed that whatever we create we want it to be fun. If it involves user interaction, then it should be informing through experience rather than just providing direct information.
We batted around the idea of an ARG (alternate reality game). This would involve an extreme volume of work but I’m pretty confident in saying that all 4 members of the group are notoriously hard workers.
We got a small introduction to ARG’s last week, there is actually a member of staff in the college who graduated from our course who specialises in the subject – we might try to arrange a chat with him soon to get his expert opinion.
We haven’t discarded the idea of making some form of installation – though we have discussed the fact that we would like this project to exist beyond Fis – so it shouldn’t be too experimental or “out-there”. We’re all pretty comfortable and competent with making things so an installation isn’t an unreasonable proposition.
We set ourselves the task over the weekend to each come up with 10 ideas (nothing at this stage is impossible so they can be as crazy as we want). We’ll present them to the group in class next week and hopefully there’ll be plenty of overlap and something more solid can come out of it.
This is a fictional website created in Adobe Flash for a Multimedia Authoring class. The brief was to create a website for whatever subject interested us, it just needed to contain at least 4 pages, have images, video and sounds.Being a big craft enthusiast I came up with the idea of the site which could be a resource for people wanting to get into crafting. I wanted it to be colorful and inviting. There is a seperate page for paper crafts, sewing and baking along with videos and resources pages. The actual text content is simply copy and pasted from other website (there was no actual marks going towards writing the content yourself, this was an assignment on how to build a functioning Flash website). The cover design was a photograph I took of one of my own sewing projects.
Several craft posters created using handcut paper and stencils.
I’ve been brainstorming recently ideas and looking into areas that interest me in relation to the SRvD project.
I recently took part in the Honeycomb Creative Buzz Bootcamp in Derry.
We had a workshop which aimed to give us an insight into understanding different personality types and how to interact within a group. The DiSC model was used to split all 20 of us into our dominant personality types.
I ended up in the Conscientiousness corner. My dominant characteristics mean that I am a “Person places emphasis on quality and accuracy, expertise, competence”.
I do actually feel that it was a perfect fit. The interesting thing to come out of the workshop though was learning about what motivates the other personality types. It’s interesting to hear that the person you had previously thought is just a loud mouth who loves the sound of their own voice is actually motivated by interacting with others, that they get energy from being around others whereas I, as an introvert, gains energy from being alone and able to think.
I had almost wished that this exercise was offered to us during our second year, before we started to work on group projects. It’s a very valuable exercise. It doesn’t necessarily give you the power of insight, communication barriers still exist, but it does however make you aware of the barriers.
I like the idea of exploring this further in a project. There are several approaches that could be made;
- Translating what someone is saying in a way that comes across clearly to the other 3 personality types
- Stripping all emotion from what someone is saying and just delivering the facts
- Simply making people aware of personality differences
- Converting a message into something completely abstract – highlighting the fact that everything communicated comes with hidden messages only visible to the person delivering the message – that nothing is ever fully appreciated or understood as the person delivering it intended – everyone applies their own history when sending or receiving a message.
This could be a totally abstract project or it could take on a more practical form. Going back to the idea of preparing students properly for group work it could be taken further. Group work in college tends to be between students in the same program. There are not many jobs out in the real world which only requires you to work/communicate with people on the same wavelength as you. Even in creative industries, creatives will have to deal with project managers; people whose number one priority is delivering a project on time and within budget. Bringing my own personal experience into it; I studied Architectural Technology for 3 years and after graduation went straight into the workplace. I had no preparation for working on construction projects which had multiple consultants from varying backgrounds each working toward separate goals. The opportunity to work on a theoretical project where my work needed to be co-ordinated with that of Engineers, Consultants and even local authorities would have been invaluable.
We carried out a media audit in class this week, to get a feel for what issues are in the forefront of people’s minds; locally, nationally and internationally.
I worked in the group dealing with local issues. We went through local papers from the last few weeks and cut out headlines and words which we felt captured the essence of what was going on (or what at least was being reported on).
In terms of volume, people carrying out charity work were definitely reported on a lot.
This could be attributed to the recent international phenomenon of the “Ice-Bucket Challenge”. People are definitely in a more giving mood these days. A lot of the charity work being carried out was physical, such as long distance running and cycling. I feel that this can also be attributed to the current trend of keeping fit. Drive through the town and surrounding areas at pretty much anytime of the day and you will see people out jogging and cycling. Aldi and Lidl’s special offers are increasingly related to fitness equipment also. I do feel that the volume of reports on raising money for charity is a result of the combination of both the trends in fitness and charity events.
On the negative side there was mention of social and financial issues such as cuts in services, local property tax, and increase on rents and evictions.
The suicide awareness charity SOSAD was mentioned on a number of occasions. There could definitely be a connection made between the above mentioned issues and the number of stories relating to drug and alcohol abuse, robberies and assaults. Its not surprising that SOSAD comes up many times.
It wasn’t all negative though, there were stories about initiatives to rejuvenate the arts in town, international firms based locally offering services to local businesses.
As positive as these stories are though, they do have bring to mind the efforts of a town trying to get back on its feet rather than a town in the midst of a golden age. It’s great to read them and it’s good that people are seeing positives efforts being made.
In terms of areas which would be interesting to explore in relation to our Socially ResponSIVE Design project, I would like to look into project ideas designed to raise people’s hopes, create a positive atmosphere, or raising awareness about those in the community who are still struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.