Last month, I got the opportunity to visit the New Heights Academy Middle School in Harlem, NYC. I went with Ira Goldberg who was user testing her thesis, CubeBuddy. It was extremely informative, particularly because my audience focus is officially middle and high school students, at least for this iteration of M//N.
This was definitely an invaluable experience. I spent about 30 minutes just talking to the class as a whole about what their concept of pollution is, and how it affects them. They had A LOT to say. Coincidentally, they had finished a unit on the environment about a month before my visit, and therefore had many keywords on the tip of their tongue. Immediately after asking them for different types of pollution, hands shot up in the air and words such as “natural gas”, “smoke”, “fossil fuels”, and “noise pollution” were offered. The class was extremely vocal, and didn’t lose interest at all. I was extremely impressed with the group of 12 – 15 yr olds.
After discussing different types of pollutants and their sources, I revealed my thesis. A personal pollution monitor! They were instantly intrigued by the idea of carrying around a sensor with them, and as an object found it really interesting. Probably the most asked question was “how much does it cost?” and “are you going to give us one?” Pretty great. I asked if anyone wanted to take a picture wearing it, and instantly formed a line.
An extremely successful morning. Here is a flickr set.