Professor Garfield Prototype Demonstration
Literacy is traditionally understood as the ability to read and write. However, in recent years, the dialogue about literacy education has evolved. In the information age, digital skills are central to being successful in our highly connected Internet society. Therefore, the notion of literacy has expanded to include the successful use of digital tools for meaning making and collaboration in online environments. Today, technology use in the classroom remains primitive. Most apps simply replicate the function of paper worksheets on a touch screen. This does not teach children to think critically or creatively when engaging with the technology.
In its current iteration, the Professor Garfield website faces several problems. First, the website was constructed using Flash, which currently does not operate on mobile devices and some web browsers. More pressingly, the website lacks a unified vision, is cluttered with content and is not user friendly.
Using the tools taught in EMDD, students underwent a five-step process to tackle this challenge. First, our Garfield team led brainstorming sessions while conducting parallel research that would help them empathize with teachers and generate ideas. After defining the project goal, the ideas were rapidly prototyped and put in the hands of teachers. The ideas that tested positively continued to evolve. This led to the development of our first prototype. By involving teachers in the design process, their interest in the website and digital literacy education continued to grow because they felt a sense of ownership as they saw their ideas transform from thought to reality.