For the midterm I was happily paired with Kevin, who has very similar interests and ideas for projects. He had started this idea during the Synthesis lab and was looking to take it to the next level with how to make it a meaningful message. When he first showed me the the project, it was a basic button press, in which each time the button was pressed an ellipse would appear in its location based on the csv file loaded into the sketch. Although I liked the idea of using the gun to show the incredible amount of school shootings in the States, I didn’t want the focus to be as much about guns and shooting. I thought this was a great opportunity to explore how we could convey how school shootings affect the perception of other countries have on the U.S, and also how shootings are more about people than guns.
We worked on changing the sketch, so that each time the button was pressed, a black rectangle increases down the y-axis. This creates a new background as the player shoots the gun. The font of the school names is also white, which at first you might not notice, but after as the background changes black, the words are more visible. This gives the impression that perhaps a person might not be aware of the message of the game until a few seconds. My favorite aspect of this project is how the map evolves from the standard map of the U.S. to what looks like a new shape, or map shown in the red “dots”. The message here would be even though we might see the map of the States like the original image, other countries might see this other map. Furthermore, this reflects how we have let ourselves be defined by tragedy, negligence, and the inability to acknowledge that we are all apart of the why and how of school shootings.
Attaching the button to the gun was likely the most difficult part of the process. We tried using double-sided tape, tape, hot glue, and super glue and nothing seemed to work. Ultimately we soldered the wires from the board to the legs of the push button and then wrapped other wire from the handle of the gun a few times to lock it in place.
Final project ideas
I mentioned an idea in the previous weeks about having a device that would read an analog sensor and a sketch would change color depending on the results of the sensor. Taking this basic idea of analog input and serial communication, in addition to my interest in language acquisition, making education more accessible, and finding a way that both can be a more comfortable and private experience. I mean this in the sense that learning new things is incredible, but it also make us incredibly vulnerable, and with vulnerability comes discomfort. Now we know that when we move out of our comfort zone, amazing things happen, and we’re opened to an endless environment of learning, but that’s sometimes easier said than done. With that said, I want to explore finding the comfort in the discomfort.
So, how do we do this? One of my main goals as a teacher was to create an environment where my students felt so comfortable that didn’t think of going to class as a daunting experience. In fact, if they didn’t think of my class as a class at all, then I would consider that a success. In a 3 hour lesson, I would begin with a 10-20 minute open conversation with my students. This led to learning about them by things they would say, topics they brought up, and inevitably something they’d show to the class. We got lucky a few times and would learn that someone is an avid breakdancer or a famous actor in their country. Most importantly though this allowed them to speak freely in English without feeling judged, or thinking that they’re not speaking in the right tense or using the correct gender pronoun.
Incredible things can happen within a class. There’s an undoubtable bond that builds between teacher and students, and students and students. If all the students feel comfortable, the environment can be so welcoming that learning experience feels private. This is the same idea if we danced how we did alone at home when we are out in brightly-lit public space.
To explore this for my final project, I would like to focus on learning basic vocabulary and pronunciation in English. To do this, I would use p5 and a voice sensor. An image would appear when the sketch runs and the person must say the name of the image. If it is correct, the background would change a color. To build on this idea, I would like to associate colors to a scale.
The scale would be tied to the pronunciation of a native English speaker. I would even include this information. For example, this is a native speaker from Chicago.