DesignIt evaluation in Estonia

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The testing for DesignIT software in Estonia has taken place in two iterations.

In Fall 2018 two groups of students were engaged into testing during the master level courses of International Perspectives to Educational Technology and Community Inclusive Technologies. In this stage DesignIT software was not completely ready – the review function was not yet applied. The design task given to the students had only one design phase. In one group the students had to design the smart learning environment/ the learning environment for health and wellbeing with digital tools, in second case they had to think of informal learning opportunities digital media offers for adult learners.

After the idea collection done in DesignIT boards, the students used the mobile devices, laptops and padlets to discuss the collected ideas, and to synthesize the models. This activity was done on the whiteboards of the class, since face to face discussions are found to be best way of narrowing down the design ideas. The tool functioned well in all the devices. The students provided feedback to the tool usage in groups. This feedback was provided back to the DesignIT developers.

In Spring term, two other testing settings were launched in Tallinn University. Tallinn University runs for all students at bachelor and master level a project based LIFE course, that is interdisciplinary design activity by nature, bringing together into teams different students from several curricula. The open project ideas are offered by supervisors and the external partners. Two ELU project teams were opened where testing of DesignIT software was done during the period from February until May 2019.

One of the LIFE projects explored the museums in Tallinn, their goal was to form 3 competing teams who offered design solutions for the children museum Miia Milla Manda, Tallinn Photo Museum and Kalamaja Museum. Each museum requested the teams to explore the problem situation in the museum, discovering visitor opportunties and needs, describing the visitor types, and finally offering the solutions how to change the museums according to the visitor needs.More than 20 students participated in this project, as well as the museum learning experts and two supervisors from different faculties (digital technologies and humanities).

For the task we divided DesignIT challenges into 3 phases – for idea generation, for persona description and evaluation of user needs, and the prototyping. The design thinking templates were generated to support these phases. These phases were to be evaluated by student teams at certain deadlines. In between evaluations we had face to face meetings to narrow down the problem and find thedesign idea, to evaluate the user needs in respect to design idea, and to complete for the museums the change offer as the paper prototype. The students were quite able to use DesignIT in remote settings and systematically, some issues appeared in reviewing the other teams and in some teams they got lost between the three levels and reported their task phase at wrong boards.

The final event takes place at Tallinn Photo Museum in old town at 24.05 where all the teams will present their design activity results.

The second interdisciplinary LIFE group with 12 students and two supervisors ( from Schools of Digital technologies and Education) was composed with the task to evaluate the DesignIT on the challenge of designing future technologies for learning spaces. The group was divided between 3 challenges. Each student group had three stages with design thinking templates in their challenge. The templates were similar as in the museum LIFE team, promting the problematization and idea search, persona descriptions and evaluating the personas regarding the project idea, and finally the prototyping. In completing each phase, the students had to write peer reviews, and we met in face-to-face settings to narrow down the results of the design phase on sheets of paper.

One of the extra tasks in this group was to evaluate the DesignIT tool usage while they work with it, and writing the evaluation report of their case. They also had to write a learning sheet about their design thinking activity. These two activities will be used as part of Estonian DesignIT usage evaluation report.

All the results of LIFE projects are getting university-wide interest during the pre-defences, poster presentations, and the LIFE project days. The final results – students presentations and poster – will be saved to the LIFE projects’ database of Tallinn University.

Both DesignIT evaluations in Spring term, 2019 indicated that the tool is applicable in project based learning.


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