Monthly Archives: November 2013

Reflection and Field manual s3399167

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‘ Change ‘ is probably one of the more common topics of any conversation. Whether it is in person or in a group or at an event, we are either contemplating it, discussing it,
demanding it or celebrating it. It is really a simple thing – ‘ to transform from one state to another ‘, however it is much different to observe, study and reason change. And this is what
we’ve come across in studies this term with change: advocacy, activism, agency. To understand cause and effect, mediums & tools of change and our positions in a collective as
designers.
It can be overwhelming at first to grasp a task that involves you to propose something you would’ve wanted differently; and you go well there’s so many things I’ve always thought could be different; but yea does it have to be in a format ?, How do I go about conveying what I see differently and reason out the connecting dots ?, How do I convince people about it ?
It really comes down to the idea, that initial feeling/expression that you wish to convey most immediately to someone, and that is how I went about working with my tasks for the rest of the term. Not only did it bring a more coherent understanding of a simple idea but working in a group became more easier when each of us thought of the general concept and arrived to it from our own points of view; the result was diversity rather than conflict.

At simplest, ‘change’ makes me think of us as kids in school when we’d talk about something cool we came across the other day and describe in our own exaggeration just to convince our fellow mates, and when it did it would be like the topic of discussion or the thing to do for the day and things would be different the day after based on how it picked up.

This happens everyday, as individuals in our work places, homes and social circles we influence and validate – actions, objects, collective feelings and norms. In a most basic sense if we are well aware of our contribution to the general collective in our habits, views and lifestyle we may achieve change more as a result of diversity rather than the immediate need to overcome an obstacle.

Field Guide :

Empathy and everyday objects

Abstract: We live in an environment of complex interdependent systems with its own constraints and loopholes, and quite often a failure of one effects the others and a chain of problems is throw into chaos. It is common for us to jump onto an immediate solution in order to curb and contain the problem but we miss out the entire trail of why and what caused the problem and more importantly what are the different associated factors. Our current collective problems range from political, environment, health and socio-cultural issues. So is it important to have a quick fix to a recurring problem or the state of preparedness in order to gauge potential flaws and problem areas in order to better navigate us as a healthier collective. And how do acquire this state of preparedness ? – Empathy or the action of understanding and recognizing emotion and pace experienced by another. Not only does it allow us to be aware of the various conditions the collective has come together but better respond to a situation while leaving room for factors unknown.
With our current stage of consumerism and materialistic lifestyle, we’ve pretty much cast a shadow on learning how to feel with over-the-counter hash-tag emotions. We don’t really feel and as a result we don’t attempt to explore expressions to communicate, instead falling back on generally accepted definitions because it is convenient. Our attachments to materialistic possession is our first attempt to experience empathy – as kids, the toys we play with simply helps our young, vivid imagine to induce or animate emotions; as growing teens and adults the objects we possess are something that defines us – our tastes, outlook and preference. Something is of sentimental value simply because it has acquired character over time during our early years. Wear and tear, jaded colors, and the peculiar way we might use them – they all contribute to our ability to feel empathy.
The following is a field manual to induce play and reaction using humor, satire and surprise with everyday objects in order to engage people into a conversation with the mundane things that pass by.

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Literature:

Emotionally Durable Design : Objects, Experiences & Empathy.  Jonathan Chapman

Design as Politics. Tony Fry

Design Anthropology: Object culture in the 21st century. Allison J. Clarke

Self-Reflection

ChangeAAA was a lot different to the the other studies I’ve done so far. Whilst I studied the history of inventing and the Chinese culture, the modern day and Service design, and 21st century design and movements, it didn’t make me realise till now, to why I’m truly studying design. I wanted to undertake Industrial design because of the different pathways it could lead to, and mainly wanted to learn more about designing in general. But I never took much interest to why i want to design, Do i want to make a social impact? a movement? a change in behaviour or lifestyle? It really shocked me in the first class when we looked specifically at the word ‘Change’ and “taking sides”

I don’t usually like voicing my opinion unless its something I’m passionate about, like video games, music or technology for example, the reasoning to why I choose a side is to ‘follow’ other people and to avoid confrontation/arguing. I’ve been a fence sitter when it comes to current issues and debates, and has never interested me because i just didn’t want to get involved. How has this class changed me? The engagement on twitter and seeing the passion and interest people from all over the world has opened my eyes to the harsh reality that there will always be conflict.

Social Networking

Social Login – Allow your visitors to comment, login and register with 20+ social networks

The social networking aspect of the class was surprising since Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress are sites that I already use outside of uni, but have not used for uni projects and for finding news. Twitter has topped Facebook for websites that I HAVE to go on as soon as I open my laptop, and seeing peoples status and the change in language compared to other social networking sites really interest me, like how Facebook did at its early age. Twitter has become one of the best go-to sites for trends/news and current issues and events, aided with the use of hashtags. Sharing the news was one thing, but finding news and letting it ‘come to me’ was pretty difficult and was something I wasn’t used to. Although I followed certain news outlets on Twitter, I would always want to look for more outside of Twitter. resulting in me constantly look for things to tweet.

Giving Up

I love video games, so I wanted to try give up something that was close to me to see how it would mentally/emotionally change me. I lasted for about 3 weeks, which I would say is a step up from other times i tried to stay away from gaming. but it was interesting to see why I am into gaming in the first place.

The reason I play games is mainly for enjoyment and doing something to pass the time/procrastinate, but also for the story/universes such as Halo. I have rarely given the thought as to why I’m actually playing these games since nothing really useful comes out of playing video games (apparently), but there is. Take Extra Life for example, who recently raised more than 3.5 miliion, by gathering gamers from all over the globe to do a 25 hour marathon of just playing games, to raise money for a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of their choice. To see that number and to participate in the event has been very eye-opening, the gamer’ stereotype has always been mostly negative, but this proves that there is goodness in the gaming community, that we can work together to achieve a common goal, in this case, raising money for sick children.

My goal to give up gaming was cut short when GTAV was released 🙂

Class and Assignments

Convo

It was interesting how this class was set out, with the two different appraches to putting forward the idea of change in society and design. I’ve always been ‘afraid’ of activism and has rarely crossed my mind unless I’m strongly passionate about something.

Our assignment of the K app, focusing on Communication and Technology, helped my group understand the world we live in today, where smartphones and internet-accessible devices are pretty much ‘brain washing’ us. We look at face-to-face interaction VS online/internet interaction and can see how our mentality, behaviour and lifestyle can really take a hit if we use phones, tablets, PCs and other devices excessively.

Field Manual

List

The field manual on Communication focuses more on the practice of communicating between two people or objects, and to see the advantages/ditadvantages of the way communicate today. It helps those who WANT to change their lifestyle of heavy phone usage, to have more self control, and just makes people aware of the risks of excessive usage, and exposure at an early age.

Overall Experience

This class has definitely impacted the way I design, keeping in mind recent events, energy usage, lifestyle and other issues that are constantly effecting our world. I was surprised at how many people drop this course after the first few weeks, but I would recommend this class for those who are unsure of their design career pathway, for those who want to do more than just designing and prototyping. Those who plan on studying service design, interaction design, environmental design can really benefit by doing this class first, to get a greater insight on the end user, and the idea of public and design activism.

When it comes to taking sides and activism, I still have that urge to not get involved but understanding that there are more positive than negative effects can come out of them, has changed my approach on discussions and arguments. I will constantly strive to be more vocal with my opinions, as well as finding the passion to take a side with current news like asylum seekers, gay marriage, racism, like I do my personal interest with gaming, science and technology.

Field Manual for Change: Communication

COMMUNICATION and ONLINE BEHAVIOUR

Chat

What is Communication?

Communication is the exchange of information, whether it be through speaking, writing, or using some other medium, like phones or computers. but it can also be broken down into 4 categories:

– Verbal: speaking and engaging in a conversation; face-to-face, telephone, radio or television or other media

– Non-Verbal: body language, gestures, how we dress or act – even our scent.

– Written: letters, e-mails, books, magazines, the Internet or via other media.

– Visualizations: graphs, charts, maps, logos and other visualizations can communicate messages

In the context of the K app, communication today has drastically changed with the advancement in technology and resources. Also, with the growing number of smartphone users, and the accessibility to the internet and wi-fi, we are definitely headed towards a more digital approach to communication.

We live in a world where face-to-face communication is deemed as ‘weird’ especially with almost everyone having an online/digital persona versus their ‘in real life’ persona. Texts and messaging through phones and  computers have led to us holding back on emotions and gestures we would use in a face-to-face conversation, and causes us to speak and act differently than what we would normally do.

Convo

What needs to change?  What are the risks?

Today, the rise in smartphones have lead to people being exposed to phones and computers at an early age. With children from 3 years old playing games on an iPad to children as young as 7, already owning their own phone.

So whats the problem exactly? The age at which children are being exposed to technology has decreased, and will most likely change the next generation’s mentality and behaviour towards communicating with others. But not only children, but teens and adults who are heavy users of technology seem to ‘lose themselves’ in their devices.

Are we too dependent on technology? Communication is a vital part of life, especially at the years where we are slowly developing our senses, and constantly learning new things. There are even applications for toddlers on mobiles and tablets, which promote the use of these devices at an early age.

Of course, we live in an ever-changing world, and to think that gradual technology use is a bad thing, is very close-minded. That isn’t the issue here however, it’s the idea of technology use at a very early age, and probably changing the mentality and behaviour of the next generation.

What did you have growing up? How much different would it be if you grew up in the world today with new toys, technology and forms of entertainment? So much has changed in the past 10 years with technology, and even only a couple of years with communication devices. So even though the exposure to technology at an early age seems inevitable, there are some positive and well as negative points to look at.

Phone

What are the advantages and disadvantages? Face-to face VS Online/Digital

Communication focuses a lot on response, looking especially at exchanging, the sending and receiving of information between people, or a person and object.

Smartphones and even technology in general have always focused on convenience, speed and accessibility, and constantly improve with every iteration. App developers are constantly dematerialising activities that would normally take 10 seconds to do (checking a calendar, looking at the time), and add these new ‘features’ in mobile devices for convenience.

Whats so good about it? Adding these type of features cuts down the time and energy do them ‘normally’, letting you use your energy elsewhere. Because mobile phones have now become the new ‘pocket knife’, there is no doubt we’ll be seeing a lot more crazy uses for a phone in the upcoming years.

With the new features of phones, they can be a huge distraction. With the growing number off apps, the amount of helpful and useful apps are overshadowed by the amount of entertainment and gaming apps. The main use of the phone has also been lost under the sea of features, so even though phones have become more convenient, the amount of time people spend on them have ruined its true purpose.

Communication through the internet and mobiles have changed how we present ourselves in real life and through the internet:

Face-to-face, speaking and responding:

 More responsive, we have a better idea of the thoughts and ideas the other person is trying to get across.

 Being able to hear and see each other’s, body language and how they respond are useful to understand the message they are trying to send

 Confrontation can be very nerve-racking for some people, but can help with confidence and the way you respond to people along the line.

Through digital media, not talking directly to each other

 People seem more relaxed when talking through the internet or phones.

 Because of the internet, people tend to have different online and real life personas, mainly because they tend to speak their mind more than they would in person

 We have even developed a new language, and acronyms to make communicating more faster/understandable e.g. LOL, TTYL, YOLO

 Trolls, Rants, Scams, Hate and other pessimistic things are a result of the internet and online communication. People speaking their mind can lead to some negative impacts

List

What can you do to help?

Technology/Devices

There are a HUGE catalogue of applications that cater to everone, from lifestyle, entertainment and gaming especially. If you want to reduce the amount of usage:

– See which apps you actively use, and remove apps that haven’t been used in the past month. or better yet, remove all gaming and entertainment apps.

– Limiting your phone/internet usage is probably the hardest thing to do, but putting in the effort to do so helps each time. makes you more aware of what and why you’re using the device for.

Gamification and Usage

App creators look at the idea of Gamification, and trying to lure people into continuously using their product, whether it be through rewards, incentives, progression awards etc, It also influences a specific behaviour whether it be good or bad.

– What are you getting out of the app/device? Will it be useful in the future? Try to cut down the usage on apps especially gaming apps like candy crush, draw my thing.

– Games that include constant rewards and leveling systems are more likely to keep users interested, not only does it give people a sense of accomplishment, but receiving rewards can make you keep playing and earning more rewards

Accessibility

Mobiles and Tablets have become accessible to people from all ages, with developers even creating apps for toddlers as young as 3 for ‘learning’ This early exposure to technology may or may not turn out to be a good thing for the child, but it is much better to be safe and hold off a few years.

– Do these child/learning apps really help develop children’s brains/ sense of sight, and hearing? Important to note if children are even supposed to be looking at screens at an early age.

– Despite the fact that devices today aim for accessibility, the target audience has spread from a teenage/young audience to kids as young as 10 to elderly.

– Understand the risks of giving kids a mobile phones or other devices that have internet access, eyesight, usage, language, attitude. Do they really need it?

There are several other ways in which you can cut down usage of devices, which can help you in the long run, and it’s better off to have a strong mentality towards technology usage and limiting yourself at an early stage. These ‘tips’ aren’t for everybody and those who WANT to change their lifestyle. as well as the K app and other lifestyle apps. It’s important to remember what communication is and the benefits of face-to face versus digital. As much as we embrace the technological advancements, doesn’t mean we have to throw away the old.

References:

What is Communication?
http://www.skillsyouneed.com/general/what-is-communication.html

Gamification
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification

Gamification techniques used today
http://www.marketingmag.com.au/news/top10-gamification-executions-13757/#.UndYBvmVNik

Internet Slang and Language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_slang

The evolution of Communication
http://www.buzzfeed.com/virginmobilelive/how-we-communicate-then-vs-now-5l87

Field Manual of Change: Internet Acronyms / Instant Messaging/ Human behaviour_ChiehChung Cheng s3428170

The invention of Internet has changed the way human communicate and also caused a tremendous impact on our language. The Internet Acronyms is one of the curial issue that raise with the innovation of Internet. Research has shown 64 percent of teenager use informal abbreviation in their written schoolwork.

What is Internet Acronym?

It refers to variety of slang words used by different computer users on the Internet. It is text abbreviations that used on Internet conversation, it consists of a number of different ways of speaking and expressions. Internet users have developed many slang terms over the years, for examples like lol, k, ttyl, etc.

The impacts brought by Internet Acronym

The study’s results have shown that students were more likely to use informal language in school assignments due to the amount of time they spent on social sites.

Internet acronym not only has an impact on our use of language, it also affect our lifestyle.

How instant messaging changed human behaviour

With the development of technology, Internet acronym and instant messaging have changed human social behaviour. “Texting while walking/talking/eating” is another issue that came with the advancement of technology. People can instantly reach other person around the world just by sending a simple message. As a result, people become lack of confidences in real life face-to-face chatting, became unaware of surrounding things nor people and this has became a common phenomenon for younger generation.

According to research, 22 percent of kids ages 6 to 9 already have their mobile phone. Today’s kids spend most of the time on their technology devices, they play with it, learn from it, and also engaging with others on it. Is this consider to be a healthy human being? Should people be worry? People cannot learn everything through a computer or any other electronic devices, people learn most of things when they engaging with people and surrounding in their real life.

Therefore need for Change!

The usage of Internet Acronym is rapidly becoming an controversial issue around the world, people starting to realise the effect caused by Internet Acronym and the risk of changing facial communication skills for the next generation.

People are relying heavily on text messaging, instant messaging and many others internet related applications across all different age groups. There was a news headline on London’s newspaper,  it said, “1 in 10 people have bee injured because of walking and texting at the same time.”  The use of instant messaging and internet language are changing and affecting human’s daily lifestyle. For those heavy users it has became an unavoidable problem for their life and should start taking actions to prevent further impacts on them.

ACTION: K App is introduced

K app, is a master app.

Once you install it, it hides into your background. It then monitors the time you spend on each app and pop up notifications whenever it wants to restrict you from using your phone too often.

K app also provides a function that it can deletes your app if it detects you are over using a particular app too often. Also, when you are using internet slang words or acronyms it will not allow you to send the message until you fix your grammatical mistakes.

ACTION: Non-Wifi zone

Reach an agreement with restaurant and store that when customers walk in, they are not allow to use any of their Internet devices. People have to communicate with others that around them instead of focusing on their mobile or computer.

Through these actions, we can slowly reduce the influences from text and instant messaging. and also prevent the impacts from Internet acronyms. Bring back the importance of face-to-face interactions.

FIELD MAUNUAL for Behavioural Change_E-Learning_Alex Zuxiang Mao_s3377256

FIELD MANUAL FOR BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE_E-LEARNING

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Image What is E-learning?

Before you get all excited about the ‘K.’ App, and App linkage, E-learning is not new. It’s been around in various forms for over 25 years but it really took off in the last few years, especially with the internet. However, what may be new to you is for something to help you to take back control of both your time and learning by putting the learning in your own hand. Learning at your speed, when you want and how you want to.

E-learning will help you take back control of your smartphone, so the phone it is used for a purpose to improve your knowledge, choice of career, social connections and even help you apply for higher paid jobs with your new qualifications and skills. Bonus.

Imagine using your phone to actually learn, your camera to record your projects, and a cool E-learning app to submit your work to help gain you a certificate. Imagine all those assisting you land the job interview in the company you are crazy about, while your peers are still playing games and checking Facebook Likes at the bus stop every day!  The beauty of the ‘K.’App is that it would work together with an E-Learning platform.

Language in E-learning is easy to read. It needs to be simple to support graphics, images, dialogue and role-plays, and importantly fit on your screen! Actually the language used in E-learning is real use for this world. Replicating how you speak to people, friends and peers.  Yes, your friends.

Image Why do you need to change?  What are the risks if you don’t?

E-learning is rapidly becoming the ‘must have’ for up skilling and broadening your employment horizons. The risk for not changing ones capabilities is to left behind with out-dated knowledge and unrecognised qualificatins. You may even be labelled this: ImageImage

Current figures show that people need more skills today as they move across jobs and different industries. The skills required today are to learn new technology, retraining and up skill current capacities: and even hold the social networking and communication skills to move across jobs roles seamlessly: Think LinkedIn.  Today, a typical person may have multiple jobs across their lives, whereas, a generation or two ago, it may have been two or even one job for life.Taking part in E-learning ensures you are able to recognise current learning methods, understand IT and most importantly, can operate effectively and usefully online without time.

Obviously, the motivation is there for people who want to keep up, be ahead and be the leaders within their job, career and chosen industry of practice.

E-learning will help you get there, and will ensure you have little time for those brain numbing apps cluttering your screen. Therefore, use that ‘K.’ App. we so highly recommend.

Image What is your E-learning goal? 

On completing your E-learning course, you have ideally learnt something brand new and immediately useful for your job, needed skill, money making hobby and the rest of your life!  You should also be able to apply the knowledge into your job and have the social knowhow to market and let employers know what you know.

Another immediate use is a nationally accredited qualification which is attractive to employers as it shows capabilities in your new field of study. Moreover, if the E-learning platform is a global one (for example if learnt within GE: the gelearningcentral.com hub) you end up with a globally recognised certificate.

Image  Familiarise yourself with the key words and business world of E-learning

Get an idea of an LMS– Learning Management System. This is the platform used for E-learning. Questions to ask are: Is theplatform right for you and your phone? What software would you like to work with? Can it operate seamlessly with any tablet, any pc, any phone?

There are numerous software packages that support and create E-learning: Can you spot the Adobe package? It is there.

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A great way to familiarise yourself more is to get onto YouTube and see what E-learning is all about. There are countless introductions to the subject, course examples and all the major providers upload contents every week to keep the students and users informed.

Begin with Moodle. Go ahead. Which Australian city did the start-up begin with? How much does it cost to use it? Yes. Nothing. It’s free. Students who design skateboards or wedding cakes can run courses on Moodle. RMIT University is there too if you poke about.

Who provides E-learning? Key E-learning providers listed below. Are they in Melbourne? 

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Image 5 Steps

A: Determine your Skills Gap and Need and go for it.

This involves working out what’s missing in your life. Is it a certain Diploma or Certificate? Software, designing and drawing skills for using a Wacom? Video editing skills?  You may need to have a look at your field of study and see what you are rusty at. See where your peers are good or excelling you and what skills and knowledge employers are wanting. Get a grip on what you need to learn.

B: Seek out a provider of the material/skill/knowledge you need to learn. The provider could be local, or could even be international. Within Australia, there are many E-leaning providers. Quite simply, you may only need your smart phone to get started, get learning and get assessed.

C: Research what kind of E-learning you with to do. Key questions are:

  • Short course? Although I can’t finish it at the bus stop, can I finish it in a few weeks or less?
  • Accredited?  (i.e. do I get a Certificate or Diploma at the end?)
  • Able to complete equally on your smart phone, tablet and laptop?
  • Long term learning lasting several months or even up to a year or more?
  • Learn and be assessed at your own pace? Or is it structured.
  • How strict are the assessment dates?
  • Does the E learning platform have accountable clients and a good credibility?
  • How much assessment is involved?
  • Can evidence of assessment be submitted via video/camera directly from your smart phone?  E.g. design drawings and completed models.
  • Is there support when you cannot comprehend something such as a chart or text, have a question or if I.T. support is required due to the software not working?
  • Can you complete the learning as part of a team or group?
  • Is the text and audio done in just English or can I choose anotherlanguages?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Are there up front fees?
  • What grievance procedures or even refund options do they have?
  • Lastly, can I find what I need to learn by watching and or paying for educational videos on Youtube or another site like it? This is another E-learning option available, although it does have drawbacks.

D: Carefully consider what knowledge you most need to learn, what you need re-training in and choose a provider who will offer you the best E-learning experience. You need to also obtain a sample of what the provider offers. As mentioned, YouTube is a starting point.

E: Enroll in a course. Choose a provider and course most suited to your needs and lifestyle. Ensure the material can be fully and comprehensibly accessed on your smartphone. E.G. voice recording, videos, Flash, Adobe and that you can access MS word or equivalent for writing and viewing assessments.  Find out from other users, check chat forums and obtain feedback to see if they are good.

Finally

Talk to others, teachers and friends before doing E-learning. Can a friend join you on your new smart journey? Could you teach the wonders of the ‘K.’ App?

Critical Self-Reflection_Alex Zuxiang Mao, s3377256

My memory goes back to 14 weeks ago and is still fresh on how Dr. Varadarajan “terrified” us in the first class. My feeling at that moment was not scared or terrified, but shocked at myself how vain and ignorant I had become in the previous 15 months. I have turned a deaf ear to most of the things in the world, including people who suffered homelessness and country-lessness (Refugee was the main topic in that class). Comparing to them, what had I suffered? Only a form of “Entertainmentlessness”. I felt a little embarrassed and ashamed because I didn’t know what I should have known. I didn’t want to show how I felt. So I kept silent.

At home, I signed myself up for wordpress, twitter, set up tweetdeck, hoot suite, flipboard. I was all ready for a change.

Twitter

I have always thought Twitter was a waste of time (in a way) because you spend ages reading other people’s status updates no matter you wish to or not. This for example:

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In the first class, I quickly learnt that I underestimated the true value of twitter: a research tool for first hand information. However, there are tactics. I went on searching for news for “Design”. I was greeted with a lot of irrelevant and useless tweets which companies used as advertisements as well as a wild range of topics in all different aspects of design. If you want to find relatively what you are looking for,  you really need to  find one useful/meaningful tweet to you and check out all the tweets by this author. This will open the door to the information you want to find in the end. Other ways (I think would be better than what I am doing) is to download compiling tweet research tools such as TwitScoop to filter through the information, which I will try in the holidays.

Summary of  tweeting activity: My favourite author on twitter at the moment is “Gizmodo Australia” apart from its HTC ad implants.

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Giving Up

All of us were asked to give up something that is relatively important to us. Firstly, I chose to give up my iphone. Mission failed immediately after 30 mins as I reached out to my phone as naturally as usual to check my Wechat updates. So I re-planned my giving up. I decided to start giving up my phone on the train first because I took trains everyday and it was a perfect start to test it. It was successful. In the beginning there was always an itch to look at the phone especially when waiting at Melbourne Central station for my shocking stopping all station train. It was deadly boring without a phone. My tactics were walking around, look at what’s in the vendor machine etc. Then I had better techniques such as taking my sketch books, read assignment briefs, write down my to-do list.

I have gained great benefit from this “time-out time with my phone”. Without all the interruptions from the smartphone, I was able to concentrate much better and put all my thoughts together, re-organise my life. I also felt incredibly fresher without looking at it for this 1-2 hour time plot. So I extended the time out. I now put away my phone at 8pm, 3 hours before I go to bed. The feeling of freshness is incredible.

 The Assignments

The reason why I chose to change people’s behaviour with their smartphones was closely related with myself: my child screams when I ignore his need for attention while checking my phone and my right thumb started shaking uncontrollably after 5 minutes of texting . Because it was personally relevant, I was able to take a deeper insight into it, visualise how this would change people’s lives and feel meaningful and passionate about it.

I enjoyed my group work very much. All of us were committed. Each one of us was assigned with different tasks. The only downside of it was that I underestimated the time we needed for editing and formatting a 5 metre-long poster. This ended up with some unchecked overtexting in some text boxes and missing parts of letters even though I checked the file twice at 11:30pm — not a very good time to do proof reading jobs.

A Little Explanation on The Field Manual

This field manual aims to raise people’s awareness of the importance to use their smartphones smartly and efficiently by doing more productive activities. It teaches people what is e-learning, why is it important, how it can improve their lives and how to access and manage it.

Overall Experience

I would recommend this course to other students, especially to those who left after the first class. It is not as scary as they thought. The biggest outcome for me is that I found motivation in this class to do something that might make a change. When I hesitate, when I think “Shall I …?”, I think this way instead now : “Why not?”.

Many thanks to Soumitri and Liam for the semester.

Field Manual for Change – Energy Saving in the Home

Climate Change, weather you believe our current Prime Minister or not, is an issue that is rapidly effecting our earth, increasingly day by day. Although it may seem like a huge feat to overcome a global issue such as this, it is through small collaborative activism that we can lessen our negative contributions.

 

You’re sitting alone in your house on a Friday night having a whine about how the world has abandoned you and you’re all alone. Well in reality, you’ve made decisions in your life that have lead to having to support yourself and maintain the running of your dwelling on your own. So what are you going to do about it? Sit there hoping that the fairies will come along in the night and install insulation in your floors, walls and ceilings, replace your energy sucking appliances with 5 star energy rating products, or retro fit your home with triple glazed windows and draught stoppers? I don’t think so. Get a grip people. Just think about it, you’re going to have to get off your sorry bottom and make some changes. “Oh it’s too hard, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time” I hear you say. I call bull dust. You want to change your ways, well that’s the first step already done, recognition. What kind of future do you want to have and how do you get there? This can be done in a variety of ways, from really big things to really small things.

 

Changing your behaviour around the home in low cost ways will keep the cash in your bank account, instead of in big energy company’s pockets. And these incremental changes add up to collective financial and environmental savings in terms of energy outputs.

How do we reduce our consumption? On an uncommon scale of theory, the first thing to try is simply not to use stuff and not to consume stuff. Defuturing envelops activities, processes and products, which reduce, rather than enhance the possibility of a future, which can be sustained (1). An idea proposed by academic provocateur in sustainability Tony Fry. Design needs to redirect its practices towards practices that not only extend defuturing but also extend futures that make things more possible. Might I add, this does not solely apply to design. This idea should be readily implemented into the subscript of your daily life. Because it is not just designer’s decisions that last for seven generations, it’s yours too. That’s right, so it’s not just your grandchildren that your actions will affect. It is their grandkid’s grandkids. Get your head around that one. This raises a flag that the things we do now have material half lives of 25,000 years. That’s a scary thought. When materials are taken out of the resource stream, unless they are returned, they are extinct. And once they’re gone, from where are we going to get stuff? If that is the reality then how do designers and we as citizens design stuff and make decisions that don’t use stuff? We’re going to need a lot of new technology, materials and ways of doing things to cope with significantly changed situations – in terms of the environment. These decisions will be value-led, politically based, one-eyed decisions. There is no such thing as value neutral research, design or decisions. What would happen if we stopped consuming? Why not try it out, to a degree, and see what happens. At the moment, resources are trying to adapt to our usage of them, but that’s just silly isn’t it, crude oil can’t adapt. We are much faster at adapting. It’s all well and good to have an eco-design product, using the right kinds of materials or the lowest amount of inputs. But unless it challenges the whole concept of the thing that you’re designing, buying and using, it starts to cause run on effects. Do you really need a new kettle, heater or electric blanket? Let’s try cutting our consumption of energy usage in the home.

 

When looking at energy saving through the lens of sustainability it is blindingly obvious that there is a need for change and there are ways this can be undertaken. If you think I’m calling bluff then believe the 97% of scientists who will agree that climate change is a big and real problem with repercussions that will negatively change the earth. When you’re interested in changing your habits to combat climate change, it is important to gather research via the medium of books, academic journals and statistics to help you get a better understanding of the issue. When this feedback is coupled with your original knowledge of the situation, you become inclined to form a stronger set of values or positions. But for those of us who don’t have access to this knowledge, how do we find a largely condensed amount of information in a neat package that has great potential to be transmitted globally – through YouTube! In order to create change, we need to be aware of the reasons for change. Most people can spare a few minutes in their day, and may even enjoying stopping to watch an informative, yet entertaining clip on YouTube. After becoming aware of the issues comes the fun part, taking steps towards change.

 

Humans are intrinsically linked to a set of values and positions that influence the choices that they make in life. Designers play on these values and use tricks to change behaviour. In most scenarios, in order to create change there is a thing or device that physically makes the change. And in this instance, energy saving in the home, these things are in the form of household objects. Objects are hardly ever solely used according to their original face value – the intended purpose of the object. When flipping between observation of objects on the macro level and the micro scale, it will become evident that objects serve many purposes and act in key ways that make society the way it is. Our aim is to work on how to change an entrenched position in steps. How do we get the ordering of change actions right so that it actually makes a difference? For the suburban home, implementing low cost strategies to minimise energy consumption is achieved by imaginatively thinking about an object’s potential use on a macro level. So what can we do to minimise our contribution to climate change and save energy in the home? There are many simple and cost effective ideas that you should try.

 

a)    Seal off draughts wherever you can. That means stopping the air from flowing through air vents, under doors, around windowsills, through unused chimneys and also through cracks in the walls and floors. A cheap way to do so is by purchasing door snakes and placing them along openings. A no cost solution is to use a rolled up towel under the door or Blu-Tack or tape along a window. An astonishing 25% of heat can be lost from draughts. This has consequences such as reducing the effectiveness of heating and cooling devices.

 

b)   Use your imagination! Energy saving doesn’t always have to be dry and boring. Fun things like spraying each other with a water bottle, wearing a wet bandana around your head in summer, snuggling up with your loved one or your cat in winter. Hey if it works for you, go for it.

 

c)     Section off areas of the home that you’re not using when you’re heating or cooling to localise that section of your house. This will increase the effectiveness of your devices. Even better, share these spaces with your friends and family to reduce the number of devices.

 

d)    Make smart and logical choices. Would it be a better idea to turn on the air conditioner or simply open up a window and let the fresh breeze flow through your house?

 

e)    Choose relevant clothing to the weather conditions. It’s hot outside, but you’re sitting inside with the cooling on. Don’t be a wally, take off that jumper! The same goes for winter. Please, don’t sit with your feet on the heater when you could whip out a snugly pair of grandma’s knitted socks.

 

f)      Impress your housemates, family or partner with some cooking. In winter, use the oven. It will produce a delicious meal that will heat you up from the inside out and the house will warm up too. In summer, get around fresh cold salads and meats. Did you know that chilli and cucumber have a cooling effect?

 

g)    And lastly, talk about the changes you’ve made with your mates! These small things are simple, and if everyone made these little changes, it would make a big difference. There are so many more things that you can do around the house and I’m sure others want to share their ideas with you too, to make your home much more energy efficient!

 

So that’s enough time spent sitting around, it’s time to get up, get active and change your old habits. These small changes will save you money and more importantly save the environment. So why not give it a go? And once you do, tell us about it. We want to hear your progress. Let’s change our world for the better, small steps at a time. Peace.

 

Georgie Burley

 

 

 

 

References

 

(1) http://www.encyclo.co.uk/local/20453

 

http://omnibusfarm.wordpress.com/glossarymethods-and-practices-terms/

 

Iceland Seeks to Cash In On Its Abundant Renewable Energy

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/iceland_seeks_to_cash_in_on_its_abundant_renewable_energy/2697

 

Americans eye cheap home refuelling for natural gas cars

http://humanitariannews.org/20131007/americans-eye-cheap-home-refueling-natural-gas-cars

 

Alex Laskey: how behavioural science can lower your energy bill

http://www.ted.com/talks/alex_laskey_how_behavioral_science_can_lower_your_energy_bill.html?utm_source=email&source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share

 

Energy Saving Window Treatments

http://windowtreatmentsaventurafl.com/

 

10 Smart Ways for Saving Money with Alternative Energy

http://www.ways2gogreenblog.com/2011/09/28/guest-post-10-smart-ways-for-saving-money-with-alternative-energy/

 

Six Energy Sucking Household Appliances

http://www.property24.com/articles/6-energy-sucking-household-appliances/18480

 

Flannery relaunches scrapped Climate Commission

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/09/23/flannery-relaunches-scrapped-climate-commission