Augmented Human Lab 11 Kiwrious
Creative DirectorsSuranga Nanayakkara, Dawn Garbett, Sonia Dupuch
Design DirectorYvonne Chua
Team MembersChamod Weerasighe, Juan Pablo Forero Cortés, Alaeddin Nassani, Sankha Cooray, Jiashuo Cao, Qin Wu, Fiona Taimana, Hussel Suriyaarachchi, Hannah Qiao, Michelle Wu
ContributorsJustin Treadwell, Cornelius Blank
Kiwrious is on a mission to empower today’s students to become a generation of fearless problem solvers. A set of six low-cost ‘plug and play’ sensors encourages students aged 10 to 14 to engage in scientific inquiry in and out of school, providing students and teachers the tools and resources for curiosity-driven explorations.
The sensors connect to an online platform designed to give a first-hand experience of the fun, creative and social nature of science. Students are challenged to make observations, present findings in creative ways, and discuss them with their friends.
We created Kiwrious in response to an international study (TIMMS, 2019) that found 45% of Year 9 Kiwi students not confident in science. Lack of funding, limited resources and reduced teacher confidence in teaching science subjects is leading to low levels of scientific inquiry in children across the country.
Initial interviews with teachers revealed that they believed hands-on activities engaged students better, and provided concrete experiences that helped them better understand and connect to curriculum content. However, teachers struggled with finding time for these activities while fulfilling curriculum requirements, and accessing tools and resources that would support them.
The sensors and platform were developed through an iterative user-centered design process. Early prototypes of both were tested in a series of onsite usability studies and field observations in schools, and a longer in-the-wild study where they were left with students to use as they pleased over the school holidays.
The final version of the platform emphasises visual presentation of content and social interaction. It allows students to dive straight into measuring, and makes it easy for them to capture images together with their measurements and share their inquiries for their peers to view, comment on and verify.
To address teachers’ needs, resources and exemplar lessons aligned with the New Zealand curriculum were developed and a professional development community set up for teachers using Kiwrious to share experiences and resources with each other.
Over 4200 sensors deployed to 35 schools across New Zealand in just 18 months. Kiwrious transforms science, by promoting genuine curiosity through real-world exploration and engagement. Since it has been deployed, 488 inquiries have been saved or published by students and the number continues to grow daily.
Initial feedback from teachers after half a school term has been enthusiastic:
“ Beauty of it is they are discovering all sorts of things!”
“Surprised they loved it so much, when I ask them to bring their chromebooks in they think they are going to do more wonderful work with the sensors. Motivated to do something different in science."
“There's a level for everybody... there's room to be on any level and still be successful.”
Kiwrious Ltd is set up as a not for profit. This is just the beginning of our journey with the vision of democratizing the access to science and technology by designing curiosity-driven, fun, creative tools that spark and encourage deep-learning experiences.