Life Cycle Consumer Electronic Project, Design to 3D (ITGS – Year 1)

All work below is belongs to ASM ITGS Class of 2017, please contact author for any permissions. (Shadrach thanks them all for their great work and permission to display them here. Great job!)

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For the last several years I have been teaching the 2 year IBDP course Information Technology in a Global Society at ASM.  As befits the current construction of the course my first year is largely composed of teaching the technology. Although the class is primarily a Social Science class, it does require a huge amount of technical literacy and the ability to complete projects. Therefore I have spent much of my planning time coming up with projects that combine technical skills with learning our content.  I am very proud of my new first term project for the course.  Students modeled a product in google sketch up, then converted the drawings and printed a 3-d object, then they researched the entire life-cycle of the project (creating blog posts documenting their research; see basic rubric here), and finally they created a poster with all information in Adobe Indesign. From start to finish the project took 5 weeks.

My conception of this project was based on these major goals:

  • Extended Essay ITGS students are not trained in research methods during the course itself (it is not in existing curriculum; as opposed to the other IB Social Sciences like History or Psychology).
  • Research is very difficult and most of us are stuck in our customized filter bubbles.
  • Companies/Media/NGOs/professors all have different motivations for publishing–or critically–controlling information about products
  • All projects every are done by diverse teams and require communication technologies and often international cooperation.
  • Consumer Electronic products are made up of different materials with different physical properties that from all over the globe (with social/economic/cultural consequences), they are also disposed of very differently with diffent environmental and health consequences..
  • Teaching the project design life cycle (design to product) by showing real world examples (and also showing the different types of “life cycles” used in the business world (product, sustainable, etc.).
  • 3d printed projects also have design to product phase
  • Teach students Google Sketch-up, 3-D printing formatting, and Desktop Publishing (Adobe Indesign)
  • By documenting their work on WordPress blog posts they continue building their comfort with basic web design skills (which will be important when they make their own websites later in the year).

The May 2015_ITGS_Paper 1_SL_Assessment (Question 2. on Buttercup) is what actually inspired the second half of this project. (I did a version of the both halves last year but I did not have a printer. This year I combined them both).  I gave students this exam question after the project was completed. I quickly graded them that night and then the next day we went over the exam with the mark scheme together and we spent the whole class discussing the paper. It was a perfect way to introduce the ITGS Paper 1s structure and how it builds on our activities from class.

The discussion that ensued illustrated the high level thinking required to achieve the upper bands.  We discussed how different stakeholders would be impacted by open source vs. proprietary systems. Students made parallels to their research experiences and how different stakeholders shared different information, we also discussed the google sketchup warehouse and all the other resources we used. One student discussed how difficult the Indesign learning curve was compared to using powerpoint (which I specifically didn’t allow).  I used this discussion and exam for “priming the pump” so to speak for later learning where we dive much deeper into open source vs. proprietary theories of innovation and concerns about Intellectual Property.

Our amazing librarian Liz Keating very helpfully set up a LIbguide page with lots of great resources for the research phase of our project. Students were encouraged to research a specific patent associated with their product. (This may be a requirement next year).  In truth it is a very difficult assignment to research and students learn that fairly. After the second blog post I posted a google classroom about why the reserach was tough and we had a discussion about research and filter bubbles.  Students learned how google customizes results, which many were totally unaware of. When one student opened an icognito browser he was shocked to see relevant results compared to the results he was getting when he was logged in to his browser.  See below for more student responses.

From the Prezi that introduced the research project (Click for link).

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And here are some of the final products (Note the minature 3d printer printed by the 3d printer–clever student!)

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Students LOVED learning Google Sketchup. Many of them did an excellent job.

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The research, however was very difficult. Even with helpful libguides.

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Some examples of the research blog posts:

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Some explanations as to why the research phase was so difficult (from the google classroom question).

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And some of the final Indesign Posters:

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And my personal favorite (because it was my personal camera that was researched…The Sony NEX 6 Poster FINAL)Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 13.21.53

Finally students completed a graphic organizer discussing electronic waste. (Next year I will likely consolidate this into part of the posters directly).

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