Contextual Inquiry: Observation
Part of these packages: Observe and design
Supported by these technologies: Dropbox,
Based on their design brief, students identify who and what to observe to inform their design result, for example practices or environments of particular people or animals. Their choice depends on who they are designing for, what they are designing and the initial challenges they want to address. Student teams perform their planned observation by using digital cameras, notebooks and microphones to document what they see. They share their collected media files and analyze them. Based on their collected information and analysis, the students refine their design brief, especially the design challenges and design results. They then record a reflection and update their blog. Classroom time needed: 1-3 lesson(s)
TERMINOLOGY – An inquiry is an act of asking for information. Observation is indicated to be the way. In our design activities, the word contextual refers to the circumstances that the students would like to design for or place their design into. So, here, the students use observation to collect information about the situation and factors of their design and that may inform their design.
1. Getting started
- Look at the blogs of each student team, especially their design briefs.
- Support the teams that have not updated their blogs and design briefs.
- Listen to the reflection recordings of each team.
- Identify suitable locations and settings for each team, to support them if needed.
- Introduce the activity/the workshop to the students
- Tell them that all of their senses need to be there when observing the people, practices or environments they identified.
- Make sure that each team has documentation equipment (cameras, notebooks, microphone etc.)
- Make sure that each team has selected people, places and/or practices to observe.
Teams go out to do their observation, either together or individually.
Teams sort through the media files and notes they collected, they group and annotate them.
Teams analyse their notes and record design challenges and design ideas.
Teams discuss the following questions: 1. How did the workshop go? What interesting information was collected? Does the design brief still make sense or does it need changes? How does it need to change?
Students write their Design Brief 2 and record their Reflection 2.
Teams find more information on the topic (from books, internet, etc.) and collect it to a shared space.
Design Brief blog post: Students add their Design Brief 2 to the blog and label or tag it with “design brief”.
Design Process blog post: Students use their reflection recording to write what they did, what challenges they had and what challenges they can foresee. They label or tag the post with “design process”.
Design Results blog post: Students add their collected pictures and other media files to the blog and describe what these findings mean in relation to their design. They may include drawings of design ideas. They label or tag the post with “design results”.
TIP: Teachers who tried this activity reported that it presented a great opportunity for reflecting with students about the pros and cons of using ICT tools in school. Try that with your students.
This post is also available in: Turkish