Sunday, February 25, 2018

ANU Project Bootcamp with Lego and User Centered Process

Students taking part in a  Lego Serious Play exercise at the Australian National University in Canberra
On Saturday I participated in the TechLauncher "Bootcamp" at the Australian National University in Canberra. There were about three hundred students who had been formed into about fifty teams of six students each, after Thursday night's team formation exercise. Each team has a tutor and a client, plus there as some mentors to help teams in areas such as social enterprises.

Dr Stephen Dann taking students through a Lego Serious Play exercise at the Australian National University in Canberra
The students went through a series of group exercises:
Dr Stephen Dann took the students Lego Serious Play in the morning and Dr Craig Davis on User Centered Process in the afternoon. The idea is to get the students thinking as a team (not individuals) and thinking about what will be useful for the client and their users (not what the team wants to build).

Students doing a Lego Serious Play exercise at the Australian National University in CanberraThis all took place in the same large flat floor classroom as the previous exercise. One limitation of the room is that the small single person tables are arranged in straight rows. An enterprising team of students at the back rearranged their tables in to circle for better group-work. To rearrange all the tables for group work would take considerable effort, as they don't have wheels.

I have previously been a student in one of Dr Dann's Lego exercises (and recommended it for TechLauncher). It takes a little while (and some faith) to accept that this is a serious educational activity, not just playing with bricks. The students were asked to build something to represent the project and their role in it, after each build describing it and answering questions from other students.

Dr Davis took the students through exercises to verify the product to be produced would be valued by the customer. This is a small part of what is usually a much longer workshop series (which I have been a student of). There is a version of this for researchers being run from March. The exercise where team members have to get up and interview members of other teams was a little hampered by the limited space between desks. 

Apart from the limitation of non-groups desks, the flat floor large room worked well. I moved my teaching on-line in 2009. With flexible facilities becoming available for flipped/blended learning, it may be time to go back to the classroom.

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