Dolomiti Digital Camp
Design Thinking and Technological Workshop for 9-15 y/o children
My role: Workshop Facilitator
Team: PACO Design Collaborative and H-Campus
When/Where: 2016 - Italy
Dolomiti Digital Camp was developed by H-Campus for Borca Project in partnership with PACO Design Collaborative. It was a workshop of a week merging technology and design methodology with 9-15 year-old children and teenagers. The aim of the workshop is to offer a moment of learning new technologies, exploring the creative potential and developing new capabilities of design, teamwork and management activities, and of course, being a playful moment for them.
The children were divided in teams with the purpouse of re-imagining a specific place within the Ex-Villaggio Eni in Borca di Cadore designed by Edoardo Gellner in the late 50's, enhancing a greater regeneration of the space and identifying potential alternative functions for it.
The process was divided in five mains steps that were followed during the week: Learn, Discover, Ideate, Prototype and Deliver.
In this first phase, kids had the opportunity to participate of different workshops to learn new technologies, encourage their artistic side and teamwork.
The first activity was Geocaching, that is a scavenger hunt game using GPS. The kids customized their objects in order to camouflage and hide them. Using a GPS, they capture the position of guidelines and exchange with the other team to start the hunting process.
In addition to this activity, children and teenagers also participated in 3 workshops:
- Workshop with partner artists who taught their work to stimulate children's creative and expressive skills through tinkering activities and reviving forgotten objects recovered from the nature and abandoned places inside Ex-Villagio Eni.
- They could also practice crafts, learning different printing techniques.
- And, they learned how to model and scan in 3D; use LittleBits - simple electronic components able to connect the physical and virtual worlds; and use Minecraft to bring the Village to the famous video game.
Aiming to understand the history of the place, identifying the target members of Villagio Eni and recognizing their needs, goals, and mental models, the kids did an online research and interviews with employees who have worked and lived there for a long time. They had also a
guided walk through the building where they took notes and pictures of the places that interested them the most.
The ideation phase started with an explanation of the Brainstorming tool and its rules; followed by a group practice showing how to build upon the other persons' ideas and not depreciating them.
They have started the brainstorming very creatively using post-its to help them to organize their ideas. After the brainstorming, they have chose together the best ideas to prototype with basic materials. They were still very excited about the brainstorming. Therefore, the prototyping phase flowed very well. The kids presented their work to other colleagues in one minute, then their peers underlined the positive aspects of the project and gave constructive opinions.
The next day, the kids discussed in groups the feedbacks they have received in the last presentation. They refined the project and started the final prototype. By using technological tools they have learned in the first day, such as 3D printer, lights and motion sensors. They also had several available materials to work with and explore their creativity.
They have developed the Business Model Canvas with a simplified model created by the mentors, who explained to each group individually how to complete it. For some groups that was a simple task, they had just a few questions about it. Other groups had more difficulty and the mentors helped more.
In the last day during the morning, kids started to create the final presentation. They have finished the prototype, created a logo for the project, an advertising poster, and set up a video explaining the project and the development process.
In that last phase, the room was organized to display the prototypes of each group. Chairs were placed for families that went there to watch the presentations. Each group had 5 minutes to present the project: explain the concept, demonstrate how the prototype works and show the video.
The most difficult phase for them was the Discovery. In the begining they had difficulty to understand the value of researching, but as this step was being developed, they have overcome the prejudices they had regarding this step. Altogether, they have noticed that the research helped them to validate their future decisions.
They have demonstrated a great evolution towards their performance, such as teamwork, tasks division and take on responsibilities. Most of the kids were very excited about every new skill they have learned during this week.
As it was a very different activity for most of the children who participated in the workshop, in the end they were amazed by the outcome of their projects, for they could not imagine what they were capable of.