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Human-Computer Ecosystem and Final Result

The space is primarily going to be used by children for a variety of purposes.  Kids in the Sprout program and those visiting the water park will be in and out of the lab.  While working in the greenhouse, our use scenario subject, Petunia, may want to run into the lab to find out how she should plant her cucumbers and print instructions to bring back to the garden.  However, after school students like Paul, may want to sit in the lab for a couple hours practicing math on the GCompris Educational Suite.  To accommodate both uses, we built desks at sitting and standing height.  The desks also stand on wheels so they can easily be moved around and out of the room when the lab is being repurposed.  The following pictures show the desks from boards in Martin’s workshop to fully assembled and painted, with help from ESLARP volunteers.  we chose colors that we thought complemented the nature of the park and would be kid-friendly.  The tabletops of the shorter desks are painted with dry erase board paint.  However, after testing the surface, the desks did not erase too well.

In addition to flexible desk space, we chose equipment that would be kid-friendly.  CRT monitors are sturdy and will withstand the high traffic use of the lab.  With Ms. Golliday, we chose to install a Linux operating system on the computers.  Not only is this a cost-effective choice, but it will also be safe from viruses and teach children how to adapt between operating systems.  Choosing Linux gave us the unique challenge of finding software and equipment that would be compatible with the operating system.  The digital cameras, video projector, color printer, and wireless modem are all compatible with Linux.

Unloading the equipment

When it came to creating the floor plan of the room, we wanted the arrangement to reflect the variety of users.  Four tall desks for standing use, are situated near the doorway of the lab for quick entrance and exit.  One of these desks is built taller to accommodate the projector which is seated on the shelf below the monitor.  We placed this desk closest to the hallway so it can be smoothly moved outside or to the center of the community rooms for movie viewings.  We created a printing station in the center next to two standing desks for easy access to all parts of the lab.  We also used this area for the router to enable good reception for network access to the printer and web access once the internet is installed.  On the west side of the lab, we created a station of five lower desks for long-term seated use.  The rows face one another to enable collaboration between users.  Due to the electrical grid of the building, there are not many options for how to power the computers, limiting the room configuration to the three groups we established.

In addition to the three work stations, we installed a projector screen on the western wall of the room for movie viewing and presentations.  We chose this wall because it is visible to the whole room when they host large indoor events and it will not block any windows nor will it be in direct sunlight.  The screen is suspended from the ceiling as the wall behind it does not have a stud.  It is mildew resistant to prevent the growth of mold in the damp, drippy building.