Correspondance and Meetings
(2/12/99) Our first email with Ms. Pietros. An example of Raj's eloquence. (He speaks Russian, too.)
(2/24/99) Notes from our first meeting with Ms. Pietros.
From: Roger Blumberg
Now that you've seen all the storyboards and hopefully have had a chance
to read the written comments from the other students, I wanted to add
a few thoughts. I thought your presentation was good, and the structure
of your program seems clever and interesting. I think the focus on
basic geometry in the lower grades particularly good, as it will allow
you to vertically integrate the different grades and topics easily
and without heavy reliance on text.
In listening to your discussion of the nature of Ms. Pietros' "classroom"
and how/when the students would use this program, I wondered whether
there were significant differences in the sorts of things you want
to accomplish with the program when it's used during the Art period
and when it's used at other times, in other classrooms or the lab.
Another question, which I raised in class, is how you'll handle the
reading levels in the program. Clearly, at VGES, the grade level to
reading level mapping is not isomorphic, and since many of the
architecture vocabulary terms are very important to the students'
understanding the content, the question of how to give every student
the opportunity to understand as much of the material as possible
is a difficult one. I'm sure you're considering it, and you might
talk with the Hasbro group (also dealing with a range of elementary
school ages) about ways to use visual information to support
difficult vocabulary. Andrea is the TA for the Hasbro group as well.
Again, I thought your presentation was very good, and I very much
look forward to seeing the program as it develops.
Some things said of our storyboard presentation.
navigation seems a bit vague. Is there going to be any sort of
"help" or a "what should I do now" button?
- is there a way to recap everything? take a look at all the slides later?
- how are you going to determine the appropriate reading level? testing on kids?
- construction workers as guides is really good -- add tool belt?
- pick up and drag shapes onto building to find out which ones fit.
- add color to navigation bar buttons - they look good otherwise.
- add pronunciation to new words.
- what is the hook? is there an incentive to learn material? idea for teaching symmetry - step-by-step origami project
- do students ever get evaluated/assessed on this material? or is this program just for enrichment?
- where do students use this - in the lab? teacher supervision?
- be careful about having too much text on the screen - it looks cuttered with more than two lines.
- the bug has 8 legs? spiders have 8 -- bugs have 6.
- STOP? Stop what? what is the stop button for?
- will there be any sort of form or direction to his, or will it look like an MCM course?
- your button labels are a bit confusing
- I love the characters! :)
- good job!
- "Do it"? hmmm...
- who is writing content?
- sounds like you guys have really thought your design through.
- your humor is great. you should make simple and universal jokes throughout the exercise.
- will the documentation inculde a "teacher's guide" so your teacher knows what materials the kids will need for the hands-on exercises?
- name: "Raj's Ravenous Rad-Venture"
- copyright? will you use or create graphics of buildings?
- metaphor of timewarp: can students understand that?
- name suggestions: I'm the Architect, SmartArchitect, Roaming Constructor (Ms. Pietros: the roaming teacher), ArchiTECH
Minutes from the Meeting 2/24/99 at V.G. Elementary
Ms. Pietros gave us
- an outline of her architecture curriculum.
- What It Feels Like To Be A Building.
- A Providence History Mystery.
- Text of the core curricula for the different grades.
- A Frank Lloyd Wright pamphlet.
- A printout of ArtsEdNet architecture curricula from the web.
by the Getty Foundation, these curricula emphasize disciplined
education encouraging the student to be able to talk about as well as
- Adventures in Art books for different grades, containing lots of hands-on projects.
- a reference to the David McCauley books in the VG library.
Logistics and other considerations (excluding computers)
Educational Architecture Software Already on the Market
To: Claudia Pietros
Dear Ms. Pietros:
As part of Brown's Educational Software Seminar, we have volunteered to
create the art history program that you had requested. We are all excited
to work with you and your students these next few months. As a first step,
we'd like to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss your ideas for
the project, and to also find out what sort of computer hardware you have
available to you. Please let us know, either through the e-mail addresses
or one of the phone numbers below, when would be the most convenient time
Looking forward to working with you,
Raj, Michael, and Matt