2404 Views
  1. Teon Edwards
  2. Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. TERC
  1. Zachary Alstad
  2. R&D Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. TERC, Landmark College
  1. Gerald Belton
  2. Intern
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Landmark College
  1. Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki
  2. https://www.terc.edu/profiles/ibrahim-dahlstrom-hakki/
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. TERC
  1. Katherine (Katie) Hoder
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherine-hoder/
  3. Student Intern
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Landmark College
  1. James Larsen
  2. Co-founder of EdGE, Lead Developer
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. TERC
  1. Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-scheff-798742141
  3. CoDesign Intern
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Landmark College
  1. Stephen Soltero
  2. Co-Design Intern
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Landmark College

Broadening Participation in Informal STEM Learning for Autistic Learners and ...

NSF Awards: 2005447

2022 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12, Undergraduate, Graduate, Adult learners, Informal

Designers and researchers from EdGE at TERC and interns from Landmark College, a post-secondary institute for learners with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other learning differences, are co-designing a virtual reality (VR) game intended to engage a broad audience, including neurodivergent players, in STEM learning.

In this video, you will hear from current members of the co-design team as they reflect on what the co-design process has meant to them and how it has shaped the project.

Through the co-design process, individual team members have gained confidence, felt heard and respected, changed their own ways of listening and communicating, grown professionally, and shaped the game in both expected and unexpected ways. Notably, because of co-design, an emphasis on inclusive communication, empathy, different preferences and tolerances, and non-overlapping perceptions have joined STEM in the content and narrative of the game.

 “Nothing about us without us.”

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Discussion from the 2022 STEM For All Video Showcase (34 posts)
  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 9, 2022 | 08:06 p.m.

    This video was a team effort. Over multiple co-design meetings, we shared ideas for the video and what we wanted viewers’ take-aways to be. Between meetings, we interviewed each other, covering many important ideas about the game, the affordances of virtual reality (VR), the research, the unique perspectives and strengths of neurodivergent learners/players, co-design as a process, the importance of co-design, etc. 


    One clear theme came up over and over again: The co-design process was shaping a STEM-learning VR game and related research, but in addition, it was shaping us each as individuals and as a team.


    So here’s our video, which provides just the smallest of glimpses into some of what co-design has meant to the UniVRsal Access project and to us. It’s hours of ideas condensed into just 3 minutes. 


    We look forward to your questions.


     

     
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    Lorna Quandt
    D. Matthew Boyer
  • Icon for: jennifer Knudsen

    jennifer Knudsen

    Researcher
    May 10, 2022 | 10:55 a.m.

    great  glimpse into the co-design process and how meaningful it is for all ! I look forward to seeing more about the product, next year.

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
    James Larsen
  • Icon for: Karen Royer

    Karen Royer

    Graduate Student
    May 10, 2022 | 11:04 a.m.

    I really appreciate how you integrated neurodivergent designers into your project. We are impacted by the people with whom we interact. Your video clearly relates how you integrated the experiences of the entire team in your project. I am curious about how the VR environment was received by all people on the team. Were there any people who had to overcome discomfort during their VR experiences? Were there any special changes that were implemented as necessary for a neurodiverse player? This looks like a terrific team effort.

     
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    James Larsen
  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 10, 2022 | 09:01 p.m.

    Thanks for your response and questions, Karen. This past year, we had several team members who didn't want to use VR. One stuck with this position, reporting that they didn't like electronics around their head, which was more than fine. Indeed, one of the things we've been clear on from the beginning is that we're not trying to push anyone toward the use of VR; instead, we're trying to explore the affordances of the technology and inform the design of VR experiences to help make them worthwhile and inclusive for those who do use them. Another team member found a way to try VR on their own, instead of in the team context; this, too, was fine. Comfortable entry into an experience is important.

    More generally, we're designing around several factors like perceived movement while the player is stationary, which is an issue in VR for many participants, causing motion sickness. Previous research has suggested this might be especially common for neurodivergent participants. And our research is looking at various other sensory input factors, including levels of brightness, clutter, and noise, as well as color preferences. This research is ongoing.

    I hope this answers your questions, and thanks, again.

     
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    Lorna Quandt
  • Icon for: Maria (Mia) Ong

    Maria (Mia) Ong

    Researcher
    May 10, 2022 | 12:14 p.m.

    Wow, thank you for a powerful video that provides insight into positive outcomes that can arise when the design process is opened to perspectives of neurodivergent collaborators. I especially loved hearing Gerald say that his/their engagement grew throughout the process. What other changes in the designers' engagement or team interactions did you notice as you opened up the process? I look forward to seeing the product!

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
    James Larsen
  • Icon for: Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 02:52 p.m.

    Thanks Mia, we agree. I have worked on several other co-design projects with neurodiverse learners in the past but many other members of the team have not and for most of the students this was a new process for them as well. I believe this was a valuable process both for us as design and research professionals to get outside our standards modes of operating and to look at different and sometimes overall better ways of helping the team as a whole engage. I believe this was also a great experience for the interns who not only got to contribute to shaping this VR experience but also gained valuable soft skills such as working within a team, sharing ideas, advocacy, collaboration, and other skills that hopefully will serve them will in whatever they choose to pursue next.

  • May 10, 2022 | 12:57 p.m.

    Hooray for Co-Design!  These stories of collaboration are uplifting and inspiring.  I imagine that you probably faced challenges to bringing the team together during the pandemic.  Were there any particularly useful tools or technologies that helped you with brainstorming, documenting, etc. when you couldn't meet face-to-face?

     
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    James Larsen
  • Icon for: James Larsen

    James Larsen

    Co-Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE, Lead Developer
    May 10, 2022 | 01:17 p.m.

    Tara, thanks for your positive thoughts. As per your questions, the pandemic made it quite challenging to meet as a team. We didn't actually get all of us together at Landmark until this year! That was an exciting and long anticipated meeting. The energy in the room was invigorating! You are right that technology was an important part of our staying connected. Zoom, like many other projects I'm sure, was our prime virtual f2f tool. We also depended heavily on Miro--a very versatile visual collaboration tool. It was essential for brainstorming, documenting, and providing feedback on various ideas moving between team members in different parts of the country. 

  • May 10, 2022 | 06:51 p.m.

    I'm really interested in your co-design process. Do you have any suggestions for building trust at the beginning of the process, and for guiding discussions in ways that allowed everyone to feel comfortable sharing their perspectives openly?

     
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    James Larsen
  • Icon for: Rebecca (Becky) Scheff

    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff

    Co-Presenter
    CoDesign Intern
    May 10, 2022 | 10:08 p.m.

    I think what really helped me feel comfortable and trust everyone was having a space where we did sometimes get distracted and talk about other interests, and Teon or whoever was leading the meeting would also prompt or reference specific people during discussions. What also helped that they did was having break out groups that were smaller and changed each time so that we would all get a chance to work together in smaller groups, which certainly helped a lot, and to build off of that, us Landmark students would meet with 1-2 of the Terc team every week, separate from our main group meeting, and they help form connections that helped with comfort and trust significantly as well.


    Also, since the TERC team and other landmark students already knew each other when I joined, when they would tease or praise each other on things they already knew about each other, it did make it a lot more comfortable and feel a lot less like a rigid work environment. That feeling that everyone is friends definitely helped me trust everyone and feel a lot more comfortable.

    another thing that I think is really important and is often overlooked, is recognizing that not everyone is comfortable talking at all points. So while we would be pushed to share everything when needed and prompted to talk, if we were just having a day where we didn't want to talk or feel comfortable talking on a subject, it was never forced, and that definitely helped me trust the group more and feel comfortable.

     
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    Lara Hebert
    Teon Edwards
    James Larsen
  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 10, 2022 | 09:04 p.m.

    It’s finals week and the end of the semester at Landmark, so we each prepared some comments ahead of time. This one is from Becky Scheff, Landmark College.

    I was originally set on going into robotics or mechanical engineering, and studied it for many years before switching to zoology and animal behavior as my career goal. I hadn’t really had any crossover between my engineering and biology interests, and when I joined the codesign team, I found that I was using both interests in many different areas of the project.

    Working in the co-design team was very different from what I expected an internship to be like. I felt like I wasn’t doing something that was just going to be shoved in a closet or never looked at again, everything I worked on felt real and valued. Not just my work, but as an intern, I did not expect to be treated as a complete equal in any internship, and yet throughout my time working with everyone on the team, I never once felt less than anyone else on the team- Landmark or TERC- I never felt like I or my ideas were every disregarded, even bad ideas were always discussed and valued. That respect that everyone had for each other on the team meant and means a lot to me, and it created an atmosphere when working together that felt just like some group of friends deciding to do a fun project together, not as much like a job/internship.


     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Lorna Quandt
    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
  • Icon for: Lorna Quandt

    Lorna Quandt

    Facilitator
    Asst. Professor, Educational Neuroscience
    May 11, 2022 | 08:28 a.m.

    Hi all, and hi to Ibrahim! Nice to run into you here. I love the way that you created an accessible and collaborative team across multiple stakeholders, and thank you for sharing that testimonial quote above, as well. Could you tell us a little bit more about the goal of the game itself? What type of game is it, and are there any particular learning or other types of outcomes that you're looking for with this game? 

  • Icon for: Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 11, 2022 | 11:05 a.m.

    Hi Lorna, thanks for visiting our project page, it is nice to run into you here as well. This game is intended to be a mystery STEM science game aimed at deployment on museum floors. Our plans for working with museum partners have been impacted by the pandemic but we are finally able to start working with one of our partners the Boston Museum of Science on gathering some data on the impact of VR on the performance of museum visitors on VR tasks. The game contains a number of STEM puzzles aimed at increasing interest in STEM. Game puzzles include elements such as circuits, astrogeology, and astrobiology as well as elements informed by the experiences of neurodivergent learners including communication challenges and sensory difficulties.

     
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    Myriam Steinback
  • Icon for: Dan Roy

    Dan Roy

    Facilitator
    Research Scientist, Interest-based Learning Mentor, Learning Game Designer
    May 11, 2022 | 10:55 a.m.

    Great idea for a project. I've already shared it with friends. I'm curious to hear more about the co-design process. What level of definition did the idea have before the co-design team assembled? What parts of the design were already in place, and what areas where the focus for mutual creation? Did those boundaries shift over time? If you were to do it all over again, how would you improve that process on what you did this time?

    I'm also curious about the different types of neurodivergence and how that affected working in the co-design team? Also, how did the game design target and accommodate different types of neurodivergence? 

    It sounds like the game is mostly for neurodivergent people to learn various skills. Could it also be used for neurotypical people to learn about different ways of thinking?

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 12, 2022 | 11:47 a.m.

    Hi, Dan. Thanks for your comment and questions.

    The setting and broad nature of the game were predetermined — the game would take place on a science station on the moon Europa; the player would be alone there; the game would address STEM skills and concepts, with the purposes of building awareness of and interest in STEM; and it would specifically try to be inclusive of players with sensory, attention, and social differences. A mystery storyline for the game existed... but was thrown out almost immediately because of the earliest co-design sessions. Letting go of that story wasn't difficult, because the reasons and ideas coming from the co-design process were so exciting; however, getting to a new storyline was challenging.

    We didn't limit who could join the co-design team based on type of neurodiversity. And instead of focusing on a particular neurodiversity for the design of the game, we focused on sensory, attention, and social differences. This resulted in a range of in-game design choices, affecting elements ranging from user interfaces to major narrative points. For some sensory examples, (1) preliminary research suggested that both neurodivergent and (so called) neurotypical participants had very similar preferences in terms of brightness, but the neurodivergent were more consistent and stronger in their preferences. In other words, it's possible to get this right for a broad array of players, but getting it wrong will more negatively impact neurogivergent ones. The game is using this info to set default brightness levels, and in-game controls for brightness are easily and readily accessible — think dimmer switches. (2) The main fictional lifeform on Europa, a cephalopod-like creature called the Minos, are used to the darkness of the sub-ice oceans, where bioluminescence is one of the main sources of light. Thus, the Minos have sensory issues with light (both visual and UV), and exploring this and their tolerance levels is central to the story.

    The game is for a broad audience that includes, but is certainly not limited, to neurodivergent players. Indeed, the intent is to make a game that is as broadly inclusive as possible.

    Hope this answers your questions. I'd be happy to communicate with you more, if you'd like. Thanks, again.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Dan Roy
    Myriam Steinback
  • May 11, 2022 | 06:45 p.m.

    This is a very interesting project.  I'm curious about the students involved.  Was this part of a class or a paid research opportunity for them?  How did their participation affect their career goals?

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
  • Icon for: Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 10:06 a.m.

    Hi Brianna. This was part of a paid research opportunity for all our co-designers. Not only did the co-designer work as part of the design and research teams, but we also provided opportunities for them to directly interact with our development partners and dedicated some sessions for them to meet with the development team to discuss career pathways into various aspects of XR development. Several of our interns have expressed interest in pursuing careers in design and development. This opportunity presented participants with a view of the breadth of skills that are needed in those areas including UX design, storyline development, coding, graphic design, animation, etc. which many hand not seriously considered before.

     
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    Dan Roy
  • May 12, 2022 | 11:56 a.m.

    What an awesome opportunity for them, Ibrahim.  I hope you're doing well.  If any of the students are majoring in computing fields, we'd love to have them participate in AccessComputing's mentoring and career development activities.

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
  • Icon for: Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 12:36 p.m.

    Thanks Brianna, I will pass the information onto them.

  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 12, 2022 | 11:56 a.m.

    Here's another pre-prepared comment; this one is from Gerald Belton, who has been part of the co-design team from the beginning:

    This project has made both parties of TERC and Landmark College come together and come out as better learners and workers, and the skills and the wonderful ideas that were conveyed and discussed will be a showcase for the amazing project that's being developed. 

    Being in this project for 2 years and meeting and networking with all of the wonderful people I've met (present and past) has been one of my big highlights at my time at Landmark. I personally believe that I have grown to be a better learner and speaker and conversationalist because of this project.

    The networking opportunities for both parties has also been a drastic positive impact on me and my past and present colleagues at Landmark as I believe that this experience has improved our social skills, our work ethic post COVID, and gave us the sense that despite the circumstances that were brought upon us during the pandemic, we are not alone. And the new friends that we have made and watching the project grow is proof of that.

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
  • Icon for: Marcelo Worsley

    Marcelo Worsley

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 02:07 p.m.

    Very exciting project. I love hearing about co-design experiences that support everyone's learning. I am curious to know your team's next steps? Are you all planning to do some long term studies to see how people engage with the platform? If so, what are the kinds of measures you will be looking for?

  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 12, 2022 | 04:43 p.m.

    Hi, Marcelo.

    At this time, we don't have any plans for long-term studies, though I think this sounds like a wonderful idea. The closest idea we've considered is possibly adding some case studies to our research efforts. These might begin to get at some of the impacts of longer engagement, as well as more individual and deep perspectives.

    Thanks for your questions.

  • Icon for: Carol Lumm

    Carol Lumm

    May 13, 2022 | 11:41 a.m.

    Teon and the Edge @ TERC and Landmark Team: congratulations on your video and your work. I love how you've brought together a wide range of voices and perspectives onto your team.  You all look like you are enjoying each other and what you do.  Keep at it!

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
    Teon Edwards
  • Small default profile

    Anne Turner

    May 13, 2022 | 02:59 p.m.

    I love watching this video and seeing how much the participants clearly valued working with each other. I ended with a big smile on my face. Maybe one of the interns will one day be a researcher.  They certainly got a wonderful taste o what it’s like.

     
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    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff
    Teon Edwards
  • May 15, 2022 | 03:09 a.m.

    I love your focus on co-designing games with neuro-diverse individuals as a way to truly make those videos more interesting and useful - and I am not surprised that this turned out to be a learning experience for the designers and researchers as well!

    I am curious about what knowledge of technology (VR) the co-designers needed to have in order to participate - as an open question for me is WHAT is the minimum technology that non-technology people need to know in order to participate in interdisciplinary teams.

  • Icon for: Rebecca (Becky) Scheff

    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff

    Co-Presenter
    CoDesign Intern
    May 16, 2022 | 07:27 a.m.

    Hi! I was one of the codesign Landmark Students. I actually had never used VR before, and now I have only used it once- roughly last December my friend offered to show me with his VR headset. I found that most of the knowledge needed was about general video games rather than specialized VR knowledge. I personally treated a lot of it as if it was a minecraft style video game, where you do walk around and it has a similar feel to what I had assumed VR games are like. I did learn some thing and have to use that information that was specific to VR, but it was things like "writing and typing is really hard in VR" "dizziness is a factor" "lots of text/reading is not ideal for VR", which are things that I just had to be told and then could factor in.

    I would say that the minimum technology knowledge someone would need is the understanding of what VR is, having seen or played a variety of different video games or be willing to try some. :)

     
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    Teon Edwards
  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 16, 2022 | 08:03 a.m.

    Raffaelia, that's a wonderful pair of related questions.

    First, COVID had a major impact on this for us. The original plan involved a lot of in-person meetings, including sessions in VR and even the coding of some prototype elements. Instead, everything for the first year and more was over Zoom, and we were largely unable to get early participants into headsets. As a result, those early participants were largely "hypothetical" VR fans — interested enough in VR, game design, technology, and (often) computer science to want to work on the project, but without (much) actual exposure to the tech.

    More recently, we did start to get people into headsets IF they wanted (see response to Karen Royer's comment above), to have more direct interaction between the co-design team and our development partner, and to have team members choose to focus on VR-specific details, such as exactly how the grasping of objects will work in-game and what the strengths and limitations of this should mean for task and puzzle design. In an ideal world, I would have had this — and more — all along, but in thinking about your open question and considering your video, it's possible the non-ideal of the last two years led me to realize the minimum might be lower than I would have guessed.

    Once this is said, it'll sound obvious, but interests and skills in storytelling, drawing, STEM, psychology, etc. became things we valued more highly in later recruitment efforts, not downplaying the tech-aspects but further highlighting the design-aspects.

    Happy to communicate with you more about this, and thanks again.

  • Icon for: Shari Metcalf

    Shari Metcalf

    Researcher
    May 15, 2022 | 05:21 p.m.

    What a great project and a great reminder of the value of involving end-users in co-design - and for everyone involved to learn from each other. I can't wait to see the end-product.

    I would be interested in hearing any general tips or strategies you've identified conducting productive co-design sessions. Was there a structure you found useful? Any ice-breaking strategies? Did you also give participants materials to engage with before or between meetings - how much of the co-design happened face-to-face vs off-line, or maybe it varied among participants? 

  • Icon for: Rebecca (Becky) Scheff

    Rebecca (Becky) Scheff

    Co-Presenter
    CoDesign Intern
    May 16, 2022 | 07:48 a.m.

    Hi! I cant talk about creating the structure or any of it, but I can talk about what Teon used with us from my perspective, and one of the TERC people can probably elaborate on some parts too :)
    The way our process was set up was that we would have a group meeting once a week, a mentor meeting once a week that was more one-on-one with 1-2 of the TERC group and 1-2 Landmark student/s to talk about what they are working on, and then we would be given a task or task options for the following meetings (often we would have projects we were already working on individually, so we would often do that OR a specific task)

    The meetings were usually on zoom but the TERC group did come to Landmark College a handful of times. We didn't really need ice breakers, though my first week or two we had some. Most meetings started with us just chatting about life in general for the first 5 minutes, and we would get distracted or off topic all the time. I always found it fun to talk about randomly specific biology topics with Jamie since it's a topic we both know extensively, but the rest of the group didnt know as much- like just mentioning "siphonophores". To me, it felt as if we were a group of friends who decided to do a project together, rather than people who started working together for the purpose of the project. I think that atmosphere made it so we did not need ice breakers.

    For the material outside of the meetings- at first we were given specific tasks, things like "write a scenario if the player came across a computer that said 'incoming signal'", or a handful of tasks and we had to pick one of them. After a few weeks, we were given the option to focus on some tasks a bit more long term or keep doing the weekly ones, and most of us found things we wanted to focus on, and we would work on them between meetings and use the meetings as more of a share out discussion and feedback, and the weekly tasks changed to reflect that more.

    In terms of face-to-face; due to covid restrictions at Landmark, they were only able to visit once in the Fall semester, and then scheduling meant that the TERC group visited once in the Spring as well, with part of the TERC group visiting a second time. Occasionally us Landmark students would chat about the tasks or ideas when we'd bump into each other at school, but most of the co-design process ended up being on Zoom. 

     
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    Teon Edwards
  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 16, 2022 | 09:28 a.m.

    Shari, Becky has provided a wonderful response from the Landmark perspective, as well as a wonderful overview of the process we eventually arrived at, so let me simply fill in with some of how we got there and a few "behind the scene" elements.

    This project began in August 2020, so it was entirely proposed pre-COVID and entirely conducted post-COVID. We were figuring out our structures and processes as we went along. Moreover, the strengths and challenges of individual team members, at both Landmark and EdGE, varied greatly, shaping how we worked individually and as a team... and meaning extensive flexibility had to be built into our processes.

    I used icebreakers whenever new-members joined the team, but the EdGE team members didn't change and we kept Landmark team members for long enough stretches (one semester, two semesters, and even four semesters), so icebreakers were not a major element.

    Our agendas, tools, approaches, and schedules evolved over time, matching the needs and personalities of participants, as well as the stage of the work. Not everyone is comfortable talking in group settings; not everyone is as confident in or willing to express or stand behind their ideas, especially if someone else has already spoken up about something; not everyone can capture or share their ideas in the same ways; etc. This is always true, but given that many of our team members are neurodivergent, I couldn't "conveniently" ignore this. We adopted tools like Miro boards, and processes like simultaneous brainstorming (with specific questions, specific lengths of quiet time for everyone to generate and capture unfiltered ideas on digitial sticky-notes, review times where stickies were read and ideas that resonated marked, discussion time, and possibly another round). I encouraged the use of chat for those who didn't feel as comfortable speaking up, noting that even contributions like a simple "I agree" are invaluable. The proposal talks a lot about Design Documents, but a "document" could be something written, drawn, assembled, or audio/video recorded. Some members worked best talking through their ideas and having a partner help "capture" them, while others wanted their partners to be "hands off" their documentation, and still others had truly joint materials. During meetings, I often called on individuals by name. For some members, this involved additional steps before and during the meeting so no one was "put on the spot" (e.g., a simple, "Are you willing to go next?" in private chat was vitally important for one team member, with "no" being an acceptable answer, but usually serving as an opportunity for them to gather themselves). I credited ideas to the people who generated them, getting myself and everyone in the habit of acknowledging different people's contributions and building ownership in them. Even after team members left the project, their ideas would be part of the discussion and noted as such. I learned the importance of having very concrete agendas, and the pre-sharing of these, especially if they involved any shareouts. And as Becky notes, with our latest co-design team configuration, we spent time "off topic," joking around, checking in, and otherwise treating each other as whole individuals. Of course meeting time is precious, and not everyone likes the same types of group interactions, but designing is hard, so taking the time and figuring out the ways to let everyone feel as comfortable as possible was vital.

    Basically, I don't think any of what we employed in terms of strategies, structures, and processes were new or even innovative, but I think we were very deliberate and mindful about what we did and how we did it in ways that aren't typical. I spent way more time and effort preparing for meetings, creating tasks and related scaffolds, going through and processing what was generated, etc. than I expected, but I think it was worth it.

  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 16, 2022 | 12:35 p.m.

    Another few pre-prepared comments from the co-design team, this time from EdGE team members:

    It has been fantastic to see the amount of creativity that comes out of this group. Moreover, the kind of creativity that manifests when these smart students start bouncing ideas off each other and it starts to snowball. We are honored to have ever been a part of the process and can't wait to see how these students will continue to develop all these skills and talents. — Zac Alstad

     

    The greatest teachable moment for me during the co-design process was the reminder of just how central project-based and experiential learning is to all we do in education. The experiential side of this was a journey where we were all immersed, EdGE researchers and Landmark interns alike, in the project to create a VR experience that met the needs of the project while reflecting the strengths we all brought to the development process. I learned a great deal from the student interns and totally enjoyed the experience of seeing what could be through their eyes and lives. — Jamie Larsen

  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Project Director
    May 17, 2022 | 01:53 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this project, and what you all have been learning about the co-design process. I appreciate your transparency about how some of the designers' original assumptions about which parts of the VR game would be developed in what ways were checked early on, and that doing this work is both exciting and scary. I'm curious about whether part of the work will also involve the Museum of Science Boston and the Pacific Science Science Center, who I understood were also partners?

  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 17, 2022 | 03:52 p.m.

    Hi, Jamie. Yes, the Museum of Science Boston and the Pacific Science Center have been been part of the project since the proposal stage. Unfortunately, COVID seriously messed with our museum-related plans.

    I'm pleased to share that work with and at the MOS is scheduled to start the end of this month! We're using a specialized VR build, set in one room of our Europan station, to research the impact of different brightnesses, noise levels, and amounts of clutter on participant performance in VR. We'll be gathering data from participants who do or do not, by self report, have various neurodiversities, including autism and ADHD. We'll also be conducting this research on the Landmark College campus, which wasn't in the original plan. We're very appreciative of this, and we're excited to have one of our co-design interns, Katie, working with us on this over the summer.

    PacSci is only now beginning to reopen for the public. We've stayed in touch over the last few years, but otherwise let them do what they needed to be doing. Going forward, we'll certainly see if/when our partnership on this project might fit.

    Thanks for the question. It's important to acknowledge these partners, even if they haven't yet been a big part of the process.

  • Icon for: Teon Edwards

    Teon Edwards

    Lead Presenter
    Co-founder of EdGE & Game Designer
    May 17, 2022 | 03:56 p.m.

    As the 2022 Showcase wraps up, a big thank you to everyone who organized the Showcase, who helped facilitate the event, who viewed our video, who shared a comment or question, who voted, and who otherwise made this last week such a success.

    And of course, I have to end with thanking my entire team. You are the best.

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