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Project Plan: Use Scenarios

Create a set of fictional characters representing the different people who might end up using the space and the technology you are putting into the space.  Be as specific and comprehensive as possible imagining how the might come into the space in a give situation, how they might interact with the people already there, how they might seek help, how they might make use of the space and the technology over the course of a session, and how they might end their session and leave the space.  By creating 1-3 use scenarios in collaboration with your community partners, it will hopefully become easier to consider how the space, technology, and supporting materials should be designed to facilitate those uses.

Scenario 1:

Ten-year old Darryl enters the homework zone in the After School Enrichment Program. For the next day, he needs to complete a fractions worksheet for math, read a chapter in a book about pioneers in Oklahoma for language arts, and make predictions for his next experiment with rocks and soil for science class. Darryl starts with his fractions worksheet since he knows that he needs some help with the topic. He’s working at a table without a computer; the tutor is sitting next to him and showing him how to multiply fractions. At first, Darryl doesn’t understand why the products are smaller. The tutor explains it well, but he/she thinks Darryl could use some extra practice on his own. Therefore, the tutor gets online (on a laptop at the table, or goes with him to a desktop) and finds a web-based game (or education application) that does math games. Benny plays his game next to twelve-year old Linda. Linda is also doing math homework – in her case, she is making a graph in Excel to answer her word problem. When Linda sees that he is having trouble, she makes a comment about the right answers. Darryl gets faster with fractions and gains confidence; Linda has the opportunity to mentor a younger scholar.

Both Darryl and Linda have reading assignments for their language arts classes; they move to tables away from the computers.

Scenario 2:

After finishing her graph in Excel, twelve-year old Linda needs to type a class report on the Gold Rush for social studies. This assignment is for groups of two, so her classmate Jasmine pulls up a chair next to the computer. They move the desk slightly so that both girls can see the computer. One of the mentors compliments the girls on their writing and suggests that they also try Google Documents so that they can both type in the document at the same time. The girls start talking about the pros and cons of that approach as they near the end of their project. They have some extra time before the enrichment activities begin, so they play typing games on the computer and check their e-mail.

The enrichment activity for the week at the After School Enrichment Program centers on weather: what makes the weather as it is? How can we construct and use instruments to predict the weather? Over the course of the week, the scholars want to take videos of themselves standing in different weather conditions while they give mini-talks about meteorology. The scholars compare/contrast different forecasts using web-based applications on, Weather Underground (, and the News-Gazette website ( With three computers in a semi-circle, a mixed-age group of scholars: eight-year old Matthew, nine-year old Tasha, and ten-year old Stacy – prepare a chart of weather predictions. Matthew might look at on the first computer, whereas Tasha looks up Weather Underground on the second computer and Stacy looks up the News-Gazette weather page on the third computer. One scholar volunteers to be the secretary in order to record the data in an Excel spreadsheet for future reference in the video mini-presentations.

For the recording and presentation on actual weather conditions, scholars use the camcorder. The tutor (or Sally) helps them import the video clips into Adobe Premiere Elements (or Microsoft Movie Maker, or Apple iMovie). After compiling clips over several days, the scholars edit the movie into a final product that they view as a group. When they are satisfied with the product, Sally or other staff memebers upload the video to YouTube; a link to this video is placed on the TAP-In Academy’s website.

Scenario 3:

Sally introduces a web design project for the Summer Enrichment Program. The scholars have been assigned to work in pairs for intergenerational mentorship (e.g. 9th grade-5th grade). The assignment is to start a blog using WordPress that has the following elements: an RSS feed, images, text (posts about the scholars), and links to other parts of the Tap-in website. Rather than have Sally at the front of a computer lab, telling the scholars how to click around and solve these issues, she sets the pairs “loose” to figure out how it’s done. The high school and middle school scholars are looking over each other’s shoulders to see what the others are doing – which images they are uploading from cameras, etc. The desks have been pushed around a bit for scholars who want a bit more space for themselves as they work. The desks with chairs are more popular for this activity, as it puts the older and younger scholars at the same height, but those at the standing computers find it easier to compare/contrast their work with each others’.