When I started out the project, I knew immediately that there was a need for beach safety didactic materials. Having grown up in a beach community, I knew every summer that when I heard helicopters flying close to my house, that someone had drowned. The emotional toll that this takes on a neighborhood is intense. People live in fear of their surroundings and their tenuous relationship with the ocean. Over the summer, after having recently been attacked by someone on the train, I went to the beach and got caught in a rip current. I felt a total loss of control and felt that my body was abused as I was thrown onto the rocks. Although I am an extremely strong swimmer, having swam competitively in high school and college, and professionally as a lifeguard, I needed help out of the water. Although as New Yorkers we are constantly made aware about hiding and protecting our possessions on the subway and being mindful of ourselves in those situations, we are rarely taught how to react or protect ourselves from the innate environmental conditions at the beach. This was my entryway into the project.
I immediately reacted to the recent slew of drownings in Rockaway Beach that caused the beach to be closed early.
However, as I did more user testing and had the opportunity to really meet local beach goers and children in schools, I learned that there was a much larger issue in that people are not aware of the environment surrounding them and in turn their relationship to water. Additionally I learned that beach safety and awareness education seems to be dispersed on a priviledged basis. Students, for example in schools that are in whiter and wealthier neighborhoods had the benefit of getting swimming lessons, or even parent teacher associations that payed for regular field trips to the beach and or the Y, while students in poorer neighborhoods often did not even own bathingsuits.
I now realize that I want to create a project that will offer educational support on beach safety and awareness to elementary students regardless of their race, neighborhood or wealth.
This will expand upon efforts to develop urban beach communities in NYC as well as teach basic life skills in an unique and engaging way.
-learn by doing system
- So starting off I assumed that people had relatively no knowledge about basic beach visitation practices
After user testing my assumption was confirmed and then altered because I learned that people had knowledge it was just that they were being sent mixed messages by the parks department and various organizations dispersing information. As I met my user, I came to realize that they also needed support with understanding info not just about beach safety, but about beach environments.
- when doing u.t. i assumed that creating a narrative interactive experience for elementary students would help them to learn about the topic while engage them with technology.
- after testing i have learned that i need to craft something that allows students to run with it. interactive is no longer the thrill. they are used to getting information in bite sized chunks and having the ability to customize it, so they need something that appeals to that nature. Although this assumption is forcing me to face my fear of this kind of technology, I feel that this progression is fluid.
personally invest in their learning.