Once again, I happily collaborated on this project with my peer and dear friend Julia de la Puente. By building relations (social, material, natural), we engaged a process of embodied learning with two extraordinary young girls as our co-creators. The project's goal was to design an interactive and flexible system that could facilitate and empower children to learn curricular content.
For the project, we would be meeting our co-creators on limited occasions at assigned dates. Therefore getting to know something about them and introduce ourselves beforehand was important. We made Co-Creation Kits, and we had fun and went all over the place with the elements of our kit. These are some of the activities we included.
Through what we got back from the Kit:
-We noticed that we could communicate more efficiently by providing them with examples. 
-We also perceived our co-creators as organized, respectful, and responsible people.
Also, we became interested in social sciences, and we wanted to begin integrating ideas related to this curriculum into our activities. We thought of integrating teamwork and strategy. We started looking into the BC's Grade 6 social science curriculum, we both agreed this subject was the approach we wanted to take.
When we met our co-creators, we brought some tools and activities. We brought back the elastic from our Co-creation Kit—this time with a more active approach, similar to the one we used to play as kids. Yet, instead of having a routine as we knew the game, we came up with different positions that you could combine as you like. They seemed to enjoy the challenge, and when we asked them if they wanted to keep something, they decided they wanted to keep the elastic. Which was a good thing; it allowed us to challenge them to create new positions themselves. The next time we met them we were amazed! They came up with some new moves, and they had also brought more people into the game. We made more elastics that were longer and had different colours. We gave them the elastics and showed them how they could add them and try new moves. It did become more complex, yet, we were expanding on the same idea.
These are some of the things we learned from our co-creators during our first session:
They are a team, they are good friends, that seem to have a story together.
-They like making and crafts. They share and talk a lot while making; this is how we learned many things about them.
-They enjoy physical activities.
The following are three of the activities we created for the second time we had the pleasure to meet  with our Co-Creators.
Knitting Big Scale
We also worked on the idea of making delicate crafts large, less delicate, and more active. The soft shop at university had many graduation hoods that were not made correctly and therefore not used. We sewed this together, creating a giant ball of yarn. We then made a prototype using waved pieces of wood we had made for another project. These curved pieces of wood worked nicely to give our prototype a playful aesthetic. We created a large version of an existing knitting tool and a giant yarn to knit. Most importantly, the scale and form of the device were meant to be used by two people working together, sitting one in front of the other one, which made communication an essential part of the activity.
A Delicate Shipping Web
Through this activity, we wanted to create a mutual responsibility for which we had to work together and communicate under pressure. 
Looking into creating a tool that could travel through rope, we thought about Yo-Yo's. We originally wanted many Yo-Yo's travelling at the same time in different directions, making all the participants communicate and work together to get them to a specific spot without letting them fall. We tried out the activity with plaster Yo-Yo's and broke a few in the process. The game was challenging, but it was working, you did have to work together, and the idea of having an object made of plaster balancing over a rope added adrenaline to the game. There was some communication, yet, not a lot of verbal communication.​​​​​​​
Communicating-working with distortion...​​​​​​​
Using cardboard boxes, thread, and some beads we found, we created a rudimentary communication device. Looking into sending colour-coded messages, we used different colour threads. As the message would be distorted between the boxes, we kept those threads white to make the distortion confusing from the outside. Making these boxes was an exciting process in which we made discoveries, mistakes, and changes as we went.
The tool itself was not as powerful, but the content it conveyed was. It was a great way of proving that complex and abstract problems can be made and represented physically.
This prototype is a metaphor to physically illustrate distortion in communication and media, where participants faced a distortion in the communication process. Participants not only had to find the distortion, but they had to work with it as well.
We could not test this prototype with our co-creators as we did not have time, and it got all tangled. Still, this was a great learning tool for us and significantly impacted the direction our project took.
We agreed that we wanted to emphasize our project on distortions in communication and media. And we began ideating new approaches to this topic.
We focused on social studies as our subject. We thought distortions in communication and media would be a relevant topic as media sources can positively and negatively affect our understanding of important events and issues.
Some ideas we considered essential to shaping our design were:
-Communication
-Empathy
-Interconnectedness
-Teamwork 
-Pressure
The elastic had been a very successful activity, so we extracted the essence of the elastic or what made it so compelling.  
-Risk
-Feeling of success
-Challenge
-Group activity
-Potential to change/level up
-Simple-practical/versatile
Our tools and activities would be designed to represent distortions that affect communication and how we can learn to navigate them through the use of empathy to reach a common goal.
The following were the two last concepts we tried with the help of our Co-Creators:
Silly Cones
Through this concept, we looked into altering existing games like soccer and basketball by adding physical distortions that would make us depend on one another and prompt communication. Taking into consideration that the other person is dealing with a distortion that is different from yours.
The tools we created served as distortions, yet they also gave a ridiculous touch to the game, which I liked. The outside of two of the cones was red; meanwhile, the other two were blue. The colours would reference the different teams. To line the inside, we found a soft fleece fabric that made these more comfortable.
This game was a lot of fun, yet; there was no communication at first. We began setting new guidelines like completing a pass or only scoring in the goal using our feet. These variations created a greater dependence on your teammate, and there was a bit more communication. Although you had to think fast to explain to your teammate where to score or where the ball was, this process was not straightforward. 
In this activity, the disruption was evident as it was physical, but it was not necessarily involved in the communication process.
​​​​​​​
Colour Coded 
In this concept,  legs and arms were assigned different colours. One player depended on the other one telling him or her what part of their body to move. Yet the colour that the other person saw was not the same as the one you were seeing, and this would be the distortion. By understanding the distortion and putting yourself in their position, you would guide the other person through space. 

Looking into making this game reciprocal and, therefore, more active for both players. We created various iterations of a tool that would enable the players to face and guide each other while still seeing different colours (having a distortion).

Through this process, we noticed that the colour you saw on yourself should be on the top. The hard part was positioning the other colour so that you couldn't see it, but the other person could.  Some of the iterations we made did not work because you could easily cheat. Others hid so much the colour that the other person could not see it either. We did get a bit frustrated, but with a friend's recommendation, we found a simple, repeatable design that served the purpose. In this one, you could still cheat if you wanted to, but we discovered cheating would still create a distortion that would make the game confusing. 

When we tried the game with our Co-Creators we realized the game had an attainable goal, it was interesting and engaging, but we made it too difficult too fast. They got confused and frustrated; Julia made it easier for them at one point by gibbing them a diagram that explained how the colours were being distorted. Which helped, yet they were already not enjoying the activity, so we stopped it.

We were reminded of the importance of learning step by step and allowing people to decide for themselves when they're ready for the next challenge.
We concluded that what made the "Silly Cone" game more straightforward was familiarity; it also had fewer instructions, and disruptions were physical.  Meanwhile, the "Colour Coded" game efficiently communicated our intent.
Through this process, we noticed:
-Dependence is essential for communication,
-We had to look into creating this balance between the known the unknown.
-Creating a familiar metaphor that can be understood and related is essential.
-Physical disruptions and dependence were more prominent and could be more effective, as our intent itself is very abstract.
-Flexibility and the ability to grow are essential.
-Simplicity is key.
After some reflection and ideation, this became our final concept for the project:
Sustainability, craft and the repurposing of materials were other factors that gained relevance through the development of our project.
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