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QReative Prototypes…

22 Jun

In preparation for the Masters final show in late August, we’ve started thinking about how the show might look. I’ll report back with more images on Friday when we are due to present our ideas. The prototypes are meant to be quick, dirty and lo-fidelity but… actual size. Hmmm…

Anyway, one of my ideas is to populate a large map with content that i’ve created and gathered. The gathering, for now, will take place through Twitter, although I may also do this through workshops in the coming months.

Please tweet me (@onthesuperfly) your favourite places in Tayside and NE Fife (using the hashtag #mboxspaces) and also a brief (it’s Twitter..!) explanation. It might be where you grew up, went on holiday, secret hideaways as kids or where you met your husband! There will be any number of reasons… what’s yours?

It you’d rather not use Twitter then feel free to use the comments section on this blog. I’ll credit all of the authors either by Twitter or Login name. The stories may also have audio, video or pictures attached to them so feel free to send me links to your Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, AudioBoos, etc, etc, etc…

Eventually I’ll populate a google map. It’s physical counterpart for the Mastes show will have cute QR flags for people to scan and discover the content for themselves.

So, what are you waiting for… what’s the story?

Mystery and the QR Code

17 May

So, second semester assessment out of the way, time to focus on the QR workshop.

The background to this is that I did a QR hunt for the Game To Learn conference and the people who organised that have organised this event in Edinburgh, Open For Education. The focus of the event is to introduce educators to a wealth of Open Source (free) resources available for use in the classroom.

So, I was offered the opportunity to do a session based on QR (Quick Response) codes which would suit predominantly FE/HE lecturers.

I’m assuming the group in Edinburgh will mostly be ‘newbies’ to QR so i’ll start with a bit of history, and then get into the mystery

If you’re interested in coming along (or know someone who might) please let me know in the comments below or tweet me @onthesuperfly (I need to know how many biscuits to bring…) and if you don’t already have a QR Reader on your phone take a few minutes to see if one is available before you arrive… iPhone/iPad and Android are easy (NeoReader, iNigma, Scan, Quickmark come recommended), for all other phones just google you phones make and model along with ‘qr reader’ and see what comes up.

Additionally, if you know of any particularly creative examples of QR codes, especially if they are yours, then let me know. I’ll include a showcase of what’s being done with QRs as well as what I’ve been up to, so I want to hear from you… especially if they are yours!

QReativity – Mystery of the QR Code
Masters of Design Studio
Duncan of Jordanstone
Thursday 19 May at 11am
There will be opportunity  

Hope to see you on there!

QReativity Too

10 May

Since the NEoN Knights event i’ve been keen on getting more QRs with logos built in.

There is an aura given off by QRs that suggests ‘I’m not for you’!

We’ve grown so used to bar codes on our crisp packets and bake bean tins that we just filter them out. It’s tech, it’s not our concern.

It’s amazing how people have no idea what a QR code is until you show them one… ‘ahh, one of those. Yeah, i’ve seen those, but I just ignored it, I didn’t know what it was.

So, in an attempt to make them more noticeable to the public at large i’m getting QReative. (Incidentally I’ll be doing a workshop on this at the National eScience Centre in Edinburgh on Friday 20 May for the Open For Education conference. Book in and come along!)

The simplest start is to make the black ‘not-black’! But you can also add little logos in. Yes, it is a little fiddly, and for that reason you don’t see many of them, and for that reason you’ll stand out!

So give it a go! And, stay tuned for more QReative events not too far ahead on the horizon…
Meanwhile, the QR illustrated here is one that I did a few weeks ago for an events management company in Dundee… give it a scan and find out more about Red Pepper..!

Chris Speed & an Internet of Ghosts…

1 Apr

Classic case of serendipity this week… been trying to meet up with a Computer Science chap from St Andrews Uni since November when I did the NEoN Knights QR hunt… finally got a day that suited us both, which also happened to be on the same day as a new series of seminars happening in the Computer Science building.. first up Chris Speed!

Chris Speed is a research active designer working within the field of Digital Architecture, Human Geography and Social Computing developing new forms of spatial practice that transform our experience of the built environment. He is a Reader in Digital Architecture across the Schools of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art, where he teaches undergraduate, masters and supervises PhD students. (lifted from ECA website)

An Internet Of Things That Do Not Exist was Speed’s title.. stemming from the idea of ‘An Internet of Things’.. not something I was not familiar with but a glance at Wikipedia explains it as ‘a self-configuring wireless network of sensors whose purpose would be to interconnect all things’… this resonated with Jesse Schell’s lecture; sensors in every day objects and their increase in advertising, packaging, society, etc., as they become cheaper, etc..

I don’t know exactly what my project will be yet, i’m remaining as open minded as one can with only 5 months to go until delivery… but what I would expect to find, what interests me, can be boiled down to the following:

  • a good idea
  • a modicum of tech
  • an emphasis on real world experiences
  • collectively a device for telling or capturing stories

The projects Speed talked about matched my criteria precisely… the ideas behind them are inspiring, the tech was subtle and unobtrusive and the experiences were definitely in real life.

He describes memories and artifacts from the past, their representation and connections, as being ghosts… he made the connection between children (particularly in cinema) as metaphors for innocence and temporal connections… Spielberg’s Poltergeist being an example.. but most crucially the connection with technology through touch. I’m afraid what I’m writing doesn’t do it justice… but essentially going back to that creative openness found in children and exploring it as a a way of connecting with others was interesting to me and integral to what I want to achieve.

What I recommend is you check out the projects that Speed is associated with; in particular I was impressed with the Oxfam project where donators were asked for the story behind their donation. This was recorded and and the item tagged with a QR code and an RFID tag. Scanning the codes took you to a recording of the story… brilliant! And Oxfam’s income went up by 50% during the time of the project!

I came away from Speed’s lecture with a much broader scope of what my project could be.. the QR prototypes like NEoN Knights are just scratching the surface of what can be achieved, of what people can experience and share, through creative uses of very basic and freely available technology.

However, it doesn’t have to be all-singing-all-dancing… interestingly Speed related how, once his kids have finished a book he gets them to give a quick review, recorded on his iPhone. He then creates a QR code and sticks it in the back of the book… the scanned code links to recorded review online. How exiting! How cool! How amazing would it be for you, 5, 10, fifty  years from now, to go back in time to that moment, and listen to your own review as a 7 year old; not to mention playing it to your own 7 yr old… or your 7 year old grandchild!

A ‘ghost’ of a memory encapsulated in such a powerfully simple way.

Our kids will take this stuff for granted!

Of course, there is also the possibility that that book will leave your household and find a new owner someday. Someone who knows nothing about you, who you werre, where you were from… but hearing that same recording of ‘that someone’ who used to own this book.

But, maybe when you create your QR code for your own books, why not print off a few extra codes and drop them into the same book in Waterstones next time you’re in town… share your opinions guerilla style..!

Maybe I can get Waterstones on board..?

Inspiring projects…

Possibilities limited only by imagination…

Watch this space…

Projects of Chris Speed:

Thanks to Chris Speed… hope to catch up with you again at some point in the future…hopefully not via a QR code… 😉

Geocaching + Prototyping

21 Mar

The Games Based Learning conference, Game To Learn: Take 2 in Dundee this past weekend was a great experience and i’ll blog more about some of the outcomes as soon as I can process them all.

One of the things I was keen to do was document one of my ‘SuperFly Safari’ treasure hunt QR experiences. I wanted to try to capture and understand more about what is so enjoyable about these games; but also what the story capturing process might be if it was integrated into the experience.

Capturing my own game was problematic as it seemed to hinder the process of play. It was also very difficult to follow anyone as the game was being played in breaks between talks and meals. What I chose to do instead was tag along with a group on Ollie Bray’s GeoCaching workshop. While I was taking part a little bit, the main focus was documenting and observing.

This gave me many insights, not only during the game but also afterwards. The fact that I was taking images meant that no one else had to bother too much; instead they got on with enjoying the game in the knowledge that I would be sharing my images afterwards. Once the images were uploaded the sharing began, and while I didn’t know everyones email or twitter id, they soon materialised via the network that had grown in the group.

The fact that everyone playing was a teacher or student teacher was also helpful. It demonstrated to me that I could devise games like this as a demonstration of what could be done, but not worry about how suitable it was for kids… I could give them ideas but it was down to them, and more enjoyable I think, for them to think of ways of interpreting the game into their own area or style of teaching.

I was happy that here was evidence of any area where stories could be made, recorded and shared… and with a bit more work, the experience could be enhanced to have real learning outcomes built in. You can find a visual record of our story here on Flickr.


Exploring QReativity

15 Mar

I received my first entry for the QR exhibition yesterday morning… particularly rewarding in that it was from someone within the exact group of people with whom I was hoping to engage… teachers!

Apart from the artwork being particularly creative in many ways, the comments that I received I also wanted to share, so with permission of @laverminded here’s the first submission to Game To Learn V’s SuperFly: Exploring QReativity

“Read your blog about your QR project for the Game To Learn Conference. As I’m going & for a bit of fun I thought I’d have a go at making a QR resource for my class. So I created one for the GBL video I’ve posted about German History.

I was suprised at how much you could mess about with the image and the reader would still pick it up.

Looking forward to seeing your work next weekend in Dundee and what your fellow designers come up with. Really interested to see how QR’s can be used.”

So, no more excuses… not a designer, but a teacher… demonstrating how easily, and effectively, it can be done!

Lets see some more – deadline Midnight on Wednesday 16th March – details here

Creative Crowd-sourced QR Codes

10 Mar

UPDATE: Today (20 May 2011) i’m at the ‘Open For Education’ Conference – for ‘Open‘ read ‘Open source‘.
I’ll be giving a talk, ‘QReativity – The Mystery of the QR Code’
This post, from back in March might be useful as it contains a brief screen cast of how to create your own QR Code.

All feedback gratefully received!


I’m pleased and excited to announce that my exhibition project SuperFly will be exhibiting at the Games Based Learning conference Game To Learn: Take 2 next Friday and Saturday.

I’m working on a new QR hunt as well as preparing a potential lecture for the event… just in case…

I’ve also decide to try and gather a crowd sourced collection of QRs, called ‘SuperFly QReative’. In many ways these little black and white collections of squares are just about as dull as any contrasting collection of ink or light could be. However, it turns out that the technology that scans them is very forgiving in the way that it reads the information. This means that, should you be so inclined, there is the possibility to get extremely creative with the humble QR and turn it into a thing of even greater beauty! (there are examples on the SuperFly website…)

If you’re unsure about how to make your own #QR.. i’ve made a little video to help!

So, visit SuperFly, send in your modified QRs, and the good news is you only have until next wednesday, 16 March!

So not even time to think about it too much, just do it!

Visit SuperFly for more info! (and please spread the word…)