product designer


23.10.2017- Design Meets Fishbowl

This morning, I was asked to describe how I was feeling using just three words. Having spent the weekend- if not the past fortnight trying to navigate my way through the fog, I was feeling lost, bored and most of all- tired with this project. Much to my colleauges despair, I was delighted to hear I wasn't the only one feeling this way. My lecturers Jon and Lorraine, thought it was time for a much needed intervention-so they gave us one! Those of us who described themselves as tired were asked to stand in a row, to allow our energetic peers to give us a crash course on becoming awake. The result was my first warm up with 1980s lycra icon Mr Motivator and a sudden feeling of reassurance that I can do this! 

 Warming up with Mr Motivator 

Warming up with Mr Motivator 

As feelings of positivity began to resurface in the studio, we formed a circle around three people as they casually discussed their projects with one another. These people were in the metaphorical fishbowl and the rule was that as long as you were outside looking in, you couldn't intervine- unless you were tapping someone on the shoulder for them to trade places with you. The benifit of this excersise is that it gave those inside the fishbowl the opportunity to summarise their thoughts and ideas on their project, while those observing provide them with feedback using post-it notes.

 Observing the fishbowl 

Observing the fishbowl 

This exercise lasted for a good couple of hours, until everyone had the chance to discuss their project in the fishbowl. Once the discussion came to a close, we spent sometime by our investigation walls reading and reflecing about the comments our observers made. I was a little overwhelmed by the number of comments I had on my wall. Each comment offered some really interesting food for thought.

 Some food for thought courtesy of my colleauges 

Some food for thought courtesy of my colleauges 

Some of the comments made were:

  • What values does and AI need? How do you treat them? Why don’t we apologise to them?
  • How would you feel being given an AI instead of a human teacher?
  • How ethical would it be to use AI the responsibility of breaking languages in schools?
  • Class rooms are a same environment. How could AI be a guardian for pupils as well as a teacher?
  • We always remember our favourite teachers from school. What happens when AI is outdated?
  • Look at Duolingo language learning tool
 Insights to ideas 

Insights to ideas 

With these points in mind, I began generating some quick, rough ideas. Having spent the morning reflecting on my project so far, I realised that using Artificial Intelligence to teach language for real life scenarios is the direction that really excites and interests me. I like the idea of exploring how language can be taught through physical play and the incorporation of AI.

A few of the ideas I came up with include:

  • A physical Duolingo- can building blocks/ puzzle pieces be used to teach language? Maybe certain shapes/ colours can be used to add emotion or represent different types of words (e.g. adjectives, verbs etc) Perhaps once a sentence is constucted properly, the blocks will light up?
  • An AI companion that takes a practical approach in teaching language for real life scenarios
 Building on ideas

Building on ideas

Potential narratives for the story:

  • Voice recognition- Can it be used to express emotion/ add slang in language?
  • Grows/ learns with you- Can it age with you? Difficulty enhances according to the students progress? 
  • Analyses- Analyses the students strengths/ weaknesses?
  • Tests- Asseses the student over time?
  • Listens/ stores- Where does your voice recordings go?
  • Monitors- Tracks the students learning and sends feedback to teachers or parents?
  • Ethics- Hackability?
Rebecca Williamson