As an HCI student at the School of Information, one thing immediately jumped out at me about the kindergarten reading for next week: the model described in the article—imagine, create, play, share, reflect, imagine—is quite similar to the iterative design process, where prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining an interface or product is a cyclical process. It’s an approach that fosters creativity, while recognizing that mistakes will be made, and provides an opportunity to correct those mistakes and improve the product considerably. Over the last couple of decades it has become standard practice in much of the HCI design community.

The article touches on the learning tools kindergartners use—finger paint, wooden blocks, and the like. In HCI, we use CSS, JavaScript, and Photoshop. Kindergartners share and reflect creations with fellow students; designers share reflect with customers and other designers. In both scenarios, the process invariably returns to imagining—and re-imagining—both the original as well as new concepts and designs. It took the design community some time to reach this approach. And to think that kindergartners knew all along…

(Also, a somewhat interesting coincidence is that the wikipedia entry for iterative design includes a brief section describing the Marshmallow Challenge, a design challenge in which participants are asked to build the tallest free-standing object with a marshmallow on top. Kindergartners are apparently more successful in completing this task than b-school students.)

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