Hi! My name is Wei Gong, a graduate student in HCI Institute, majored in Educational Technology and Applied Learning Science. I will explore the application of NFC technology in informal learning contexts this summer. Specifically for the Learning to See Project, I will design a popup kit for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to engage kids in macroinvertebrate identification.
I will graduate in 2 months, so this will be a super busy summer for me, but I'm excited about it! My personal goal in doing this summer research is to explore the design opportunities in museum settings since I'm a museum fan.
To get started with the project and to gain an understanding of the design challenge, I did an macroinvertebrate identification task using various resources including field guides and key printouts.
Identified four bugs in total. In order to experience different materials, I tried nearly all the materials at hand. Generally, the overall experience of the ID task is fun. It took much less time than I thought I would, which was a relief.
Regarding the materials for the ID task, I personally found the flashcard most helpful and the big field guide book ( An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America) least helpful. The flashcard is quite straightforward with big images of the bugs and just right amount of text explanation. When I was using the flashcard to identify the bug, my process was to first visually match the specimen with the order level identification in the flashcard, and then observed the specimen in more detail, found its obvious traits, compared it with different families on the flashcard until finally distinguished it. I barely read the texts unless it's really necessary. I found the big guide book least useful because there's too much information which scared me away, and I think if only for the task of identification, it's not necessary to provide so much information.
The key insights I got from this task are:
1. We can deliver to the kids the idea that the macroinvertevrate ID is not scary or time-consuming, but can be fun.
2. We should reduce the cognitive load for the volunteers/learners to identify the insects. One possible way is to utilize more media like comic/animation/image than text.
An interdisciplinary team