Designer: Lucia Turco
Location: London, United Kingdom
Award: Student Notable
'Sequential Cycles' is born from constant collaboration with dyslexic children and their teachers within a leading school for learning difficulties set in London. It is the result of reflections on dyslexic people's problems related to the perception of time (sequential, organisational etc) and was developed on children and teacher's feedback.
Dyslexia is the most common type of specific learning difficulty.
It is a genetically transmitted condition of the brain, and being not an illness it cannot disappear, but early intervention is advised to build up strategies to face it.
In the UK, it mildly affects 10% of school age children and severely affects 4%.
Differently from the common understanding of this condition as being only related to problems with reading and writing, dyslexia is a combination of many problems that include difficulties with organisation, language, short time working memory, words storing and retrieving, possible fine and gross motor problems and phonological awareness.
In addition, dyslexic people struggle with conventions and abstractions: they have particular difficulties with the perception of time and with understanding sequential time aspects and temporal time aspects (i.e. correlating an activity with its timing, understanding what is the meaning of 'today', 'tomorrow', 'one hour before something', etc).
With the clock being such a complex, abstract convention that translates something perceived as linear (the sequence of daily events) into something cyclical, dyslexic children struggle to learn how to properly use it to organise their lives.
The challenge of this project was to question if it was possible to design an educational tool that could help children with learning how to use clocks properly, which could therefore help change their lives. The problem was particularly exciting because it needed to be solved through direct collaboration with its user group in order to really satisfy their needs.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
My project is my Masters project: I got a Distinction with it and I am now discussing eventual production with a company that produces educational games for dyslexic children.
Any eureka moments developing this project?
I had several eureka moments during the evaluation phase of "Sequential Cycle," when I was testing it with children. It was particularly interesting to see how some children grasped the idea of 12 AM hours being connected to other 12 PM hours. Also, they were able to understand the 5 minutes units that we use to manage time.
It was particularly exciting when I read the text given to me by the maths' teacher after a three week trial with six children aged from 11 to 14: three of them understood the concept of time by using this innovative multi-sensory approach. From the teacher's text: "it was absolutely wonderful to see pupils who have struggled for years understanding the concept of time, suddenly acquire this skill in such a relatively short amount of time. The materials were so student friendly, clear, colorful, attractive, mature and multi-sensory. They made learning fun."
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.