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Disclaimer: All information posted in this blog are original unless otherwise stated and remains valid for as long as I have not yet thought of a better way to present them. They are not meant to be prescriptive and used rigidly without forethought.
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16 July 2012

Tissue Dispenser Standard Project (Part 1): 'LID' Design Exercise - Tasks 1 to 3

Tissue Packet Dispenser 'Lid' Design Tasks

The Tasks (Explained)
The secondary 3 express class will be doing two standard projects this second semester. The first one is a Acrylic Tissue Packet Dispenser (See below for the Working Drawing). The second one (if time permits) shall be a cool 'Scotch-Tape' Dispenser (not shown in this post).

(Partial) Working Drawing for the Tissue Packet Dispenser Project

Completing the whole project without modification can be quite dry. So I had my students learn the beginning processes of marking out, shaping the acrylic, and finish the main body of the Tissue Dispenser minus the 'Lid'.

In today's lesson, I had my students to work in 3 groups to design (modify) and propose an alternative 'lid' design using the original one as a starter.

Students make use of the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. technique to come out with various possibilities (See Task 1).

Then time is given for each group to select the best idea and work on some development before selecting an 'ultimate' one for presentation (See Task 2). So each group presented their idea. Group 1 happened to have three very promising idea so we ended up with 5 ideas presentations.

In the final 5 minutes, potential ideas were pinned up on the board and students started to vote. And the winner goes to Eileen Lim's lid design combined with a tray storage for holding wallets (See Task 3). The rationale is simple: The wallet is placed right on top of the dispenser. When you take your wallet, the user will be reminded about taking a tissue packet along. So the user will minimize situations where he/she goes out for a meal and do not have tissue paper with him/her.

The Most Popular by VOTE

A good design is simple, practical and useful. Of course aesthetics play a very big role too in a product. Eileen's idea was a simple extension to the original design with value-added features to help users be reminded to bring both the wallet and a packet of tissue along out.

What's Next?
In the next lesson, students will work on some minor developemt to the 'chosen' concept and proceed with generating working drawings on their own (See Task 4). That should take about an hour or so. Finally, what is a project without realizing it? Students will proceed to finish their project complete with the new (modified) lid for submission (See Task 5).

Food for Thoughts

Why Standard Project? Shouldn't we be Focusing on Design Journaling instead?
There had always been debates on whether students should or should not be making standard projects since we have already evolved into the 'Design Journaling' era...

In my opinion, this is a viscious cycle type of problem.

If a student is not trained in making. How would he/she appreciate the process of design? How would the student take into consideration material usage and types, difficulty and time for shaping, jointing or making if he/she had such poor experiences of them? This also applies to 'drawing' (doodling and technical drawings included) skills. 

On the other hand, too much emphasis on months of design journaling (with a gross lack of experience in the practical aspect of materials characteristics understanding and making) often resulted in weak ideas and superficial developments. That is because the students do not know what to expect nor could he/she predict the diffculties, complexities, the time required and the outcomes of those decisions! 

So now what? Do or not to do? and Do what? The solution is a simple one. At least to me.

As long as balance is kept in check. Students who had the opportunities to learn the processes of making will definately be able to appreciate the design process better as they are being guided by their teachers. No doubt about that. The design process is part of our daily routine and such a lively process is already part of everyone's experience since birth! Unfortunately not many people recognised this routined daily choice and decision making process IS the 'Design Process' in action.

So we teach it and bring the awareness to the general public - like HERE. And to teach people other skills which they can use to enhance their ability to generate ideas, make choices and decisions better.

How we make better choices and decisions each day depends on what we actually do and learn from others and from mistakes. Our experiences from what we thought and did and learned in the past had everything to contribute to refining our future thoughts and actions. And therefore modifies our decision (process) thereafter.

Coming back to the chicken and egg debate on whether we should encourage students to make standard projects or not, or focus on design journal, etc... I will tend to be more inclined to the following:

Firstly, learn the various skills and processes. Learn to modify and change along the way. Design elements from needs to development can be brought in as and when relevant for discussion and learning. To understand and appreciate how the standard projects are being conceived: designed, developed and finally fit for making.

Secondly, students can design at the same time: students will be able to recall the experiences of making to make better choices and decisions earlier, more accurately and more confident (for sure).

Design Journaling: How does it Work in our Class?
My students work on their individual coursework with a theme just like any graduating students do. The difference is they attempt thier indivudual coursework offline rather than during the official class time. Class time is used for practical practice, mini-topical design workshops and discussions.

Consultations in groups of two to three students onces every fortnightly after school ensures more focused discussions and individual attention.

The students work on their individual coursework in the background and sub-consciously applying what they learned in the workshop. And if time permits, the students will be given time to complete their coursework together with the realized solution. If not, at least the students would have gone through a full cycle of the design process + lots of fun and experiences in the making process.

1 comment:

  1. Hi , I've read a few things on this site and I really do think that it has helped tremendously. There's still a heap I need to learn thus can continue learning and can keep coming back.
    tissue dispensers


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