Projects

Imagination Place!
1999 - 2002

gadgety logo for Imagination PlaceImagination Place! is an interactive, on-line club that invites children ages 8 - 12 into the world of design. CCT collaborated with the makers of KAHooTZ (the nonprofit Australian Children's Television Foundation, Hewlett Packard and Telstra) and Libraries for the Future (LFF), a national nonprofit organization focusing on the information needs of underserved communities, in the intensive three-year effort to create this club. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Imagination Place! was crafted to involve girls and boys as shapers and makers of technology rather than merely users of it. Research has shown that engaging in collaborative design projects in particular, helps girls establish different relationships to technological objects in their everyday lives. They begin to look around and think about the materials, design, intended uses and users, as well as other aspects of artifacts such as toys, appliances, computers, and furniture.

Imagination Place! resides as a channel in KAHooTZ, a members only Internet service for children, with powerful design, animation, graphics, chat, and sound tools. The Imagination Place! online channel offers engaging interactive activity areas involving users in problem-solving and analyzing their experiences with technological design and engineered objects in their own lives. The objective is to provide girls with powerful pathways into the world of engineering - a place in which girls' and boys' ideas and visions for the future of technology can be realized and grown.

screenshot from site activityThe environment is a virtual design center where children can engage in activities at varying levels of participation. Some activities are exploratory, while some are more structured, facilitated experiences requiring longer-term commitment. Imagination Place! enables children to:

  • Identify everyday problems and design and invent imaginative solutions
  • Engage in online puzzles and interactive activities that help participants to see everyday devices and technological artifacts as the product of a series of design choices
  • Animate objects by using powerful Internet-based multimedia tools within the Kahootz environment
  • Discuss their issues, concerns, fears, and perspectives on technological design in society with peers and adults
  • Access hands-on design-based, projects and activities that help children think about design in new ways.

Activities are designed to be used in after school settings such as libraries or clubs as well as in schools interested in science and technology enrichment activitites. To support the use of Imagination Place!, CCT produced various materials, including:

  • Promotional and introductory materials to facilitate use of the online environment by eight- to twelve-year-olds.
  • Design-related activities for informal educators to use off-line to promote inventiveness and encourage technological imagination
  • Special events and contests.
  • A website of resources for setting up and maintaining Imagination Place Clubs

Although the Internet-based activities are designed with girls' interests and perspectives in mind, they appeal to diverse populations of young adolescents at home, in schools, and in other settings.

Web site: http://www.edc.org/CCT/imagination_place/

http://www.edc.org/CCT/imagination_place/

STAFF

Dorothy Bennett (PI)
Cornelia Brunner (PI)
Dorothy Bennett
Nyema Branch
Cornelia Brunner
Linnie Green
Cricket Heinze
Andrew Hess
Margaret Honey
Karen John
Terri Meade