Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Page: 2324 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Italian design is worldwide recognized as one of the most interesting trendsetters in fashion design, interior design, car design and others. On the other hand, Industrial design field are changing quickly thanks to dissemination of electronics. For many reasons Italian design is not a key actor in the field of technological products, as consumer electronics, mobile phone and others.
In the last years, manufacturers have paid more attencion to consumer choices. The importance given to User-Experience generated an intensive development to Interaction Design field. Fast prototyping of interactive devices is a mandatory condition to design a good interaction with products and environments.
Teaching the basics of electronics to design students could help them to reach easily in this market. We are searching the most appropriate methodology to teach electronics and, in this way, improve their capabilities to take part in tech-world.

The aim of this abstract is to present briefly an applied teaching process in interaction design field. Design School students of Polytechnic University of Milan were involved in a experimental teaching method. The aim of the course was Physical Computing and has been used Arduino as programmable platform. Arduino is a well-known open source platform to prototype interactive products. The diversity between our course and others Arduino-oriented was the focus on Design. Frequently, examples of Arduino based project are not focused on external shape and design but in smart and simple technological solutions. Our course was focused in both, back-end and front-end.
The course has been divided in two main parts, first part: “electricity for designers” and second part: “electronics for designers”. Each of them was composed by theoretical lessons and workshop activities (disassembling and prototyping). As result of each main part, students in group, have prototype an interactive product.

Contemporaneously with presented Physical Computing course, the same teachers team have performed three other shorter teaching experiences. Those small courses have been useful as comparison of methods.
The full paper will present detailed information about this teaching-learning experience: organization, develop, results and conclusions, problems and opportunities. Will be also presented results of student’s evaluation of applied method. We hope this work could be useful for other colleagues working with same goal.
Learning process, interaction design, Physical Computing, Arduino.