Technology and Design
In this teaching activity, students will generate future scenarios in order to imagine and analyse potential widespread consequences, long-term effects and societal impacts of their own or others’ designs. The activity will lead students to envision at least one use or user scenario that goes beyond what they would normally describe as the intended use of their design. By applying their understanding of potential consequences and effects, they may rethink their designs and design decisions.
When focusing on users and user experiences, students may approach their own or others’ designs from a single, narrow perspective without realizing its potential impact on a broader society. Evidently, designs can have widespread consequences and long term effects on various stakeholders beyond the stakeholders initially imagined, both in positive and negative ways.
If students lack an understanding of the broad impact and long term effects of their designs, they run the risk of inadvertently causing more harm than good in society.
For this teaching activity, envisioning prompts are used as a tool for developing future scenarios to analyse and explain a use or user situation based on four criteria (stakeholders, time, values, pervasiveness). Each envisioning prompt will draw students’ attention to a particular socio-technical issue that is important yet easily overlooked (e.g., diverse geographics, political realities, obsolescence).
The teaching activity builds on the Envisioning Cards (Friedman & Hendry, 2012) developed by the Value Sensitive Design Research Lab at the Information School at the University of Washington. However, since these cards are not freely available, the main concepts are explained without requiring purchase of the cards.
After the teaching activity students will be able to:
To assess whether the intended learning outcomes were attained by the teaching activity the following assessment activities can be carried out (in class or after class).
Assessing students' learning by asking them to apply their learning about future scenarios on a case study (summative assessment) by imagining and analysing potential consequences, long-term effects or societal impacts of a design through a value scenario using relevant envisioning criteria (including values) and prompts. Ask students to focus on use or user scenarios that go beyond what they would normally describe as the intended use of the design.
Assess students' learning by asking them to hold a value-based exhibition or public workshop (authentic assessment) presenting 1) the original design, 2) their envisioning prompts and their particular socio-technical issues 3) the developed future scenario and how it makes them rethink the designs.
In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:
Friedman, Batya; and Hendry, David (2012). The envisioning cards: a toolkit for catalyzing humanistic and technical imaginations. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’12). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1145–1148. https://doi.org/10.1145/2207676.2208562
Nathan, Lisa P.; Friedman, Batya; Klasnja,Predrag; Kane, Shaun K.; and Miller Jessica K. (2008). Envisioning systemic effects on persons and society throughout interactive system design. In Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Designing interactive systems (DIS '08). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1145/1394445.1394446
Netflix (2017, Nov 25). Black Mirror - Arkangel Official Trailer. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yef_HfQoBd8