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Digital graphic representation of the cards that contain information about different components of the computer.

Esme Magnier

Project title

PC: Unplugged

Module

T217 Design Essentials

About me

I am 20 years old and a full-time student studying BSc Computing & IT and Design. I have studied Computer Science and Design since GCSE and I hope that I can keep combining these two subjects after I graduate! I look forward to using what I have learned in these past design modules and applying them to my next computing module TM356 Interaction design and the user experience. 
When I am not studying, I enjoy crafting such as crochet, knitting and jewellery making. I also love video games, and baking. 

e-magnier@virginmedia.com 

I chose to design ‘a product to help children under 12 years old learn’. After researching the subject in in an earlier assignment, I developed my idea of an educational learning aid, focusing on teaching computer science to children without internet connection or using electronics (unplugged computer science). 

My problem statement was “Design product to help children under 12 years old to learn about an area of Computer Science in an ‘unplugged’ and hands on way”. The digital divide prevents some children from accessing the internet or computers. Computer science should be fully accessible, regardless of this divide. 

I noticed that most toys on the market had a focus on software and programming. There was a significant gap for affordable, unplugged products that teach the hardware side of computing. Holding a focus group and a user trip highlighted to me what parents were looking for and how current products help teach children. I sketched my ideas, narrowing them down using selection matrices until I had my final idea of “PC: Unplugged”. 

Children need to understand how computers work, not just how to operate them. “PC: Unplugged” is a hands-on learning aid that allows children to build and rebuild a model PC. The components replicate the real thing, with cards explaining each. No electronic components make them safe for children to handle. 

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