Technical Writing and Information Design with 3D Printing and LEGO


Research Focus:

My research projects are focused on designing task-based language learning (TBLL) tools for technical writing in educational settings, especially in an EFL context. These projects emphasize on the design of assessment tools for computer science majors in technical and business writing courses. Besides, I am also focusing on the use of graphic organizers for comprehending complex procedural text in computer science context. My research focuses on understanding procedural information design and technical writing genres in the context of usability testing methods.

Current Kakenhi Research:

This 3D Printing and Digital Storytelling (DST) research is a 3-year project on designing undergraduate and graduate courses during which students will design and 3D print tiny amulets (omamuri) and mascots (yurakyura) for key chains, bags, shoes, mobile phones, car and sport accessories etc; and script, video-record and deliver persuasive English sales presentations about their 3D printed products for web-based archiving, sales and distribution. We will use 3D printing of amulets and DST to connect students to the new wave of open-source and "do-it-yourself" product design, creation and presentation. 3D printing represents the 3rd industrial revolution in manufacturing while DST is widely used for university-based technology courses. These additive manufacturing based projects will promote enterpreneurship, active task-based language learning, develop project management skills and English technical writing and information design expertise. These projects will promote active language learning situations to meet the educational needs of computer science students as follows:

  • establishment of a collaborative 3D printing and DST English context in a micro-factory scenario,
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  • promotion of technical writing and oral presentation skills in English to develop international skills,
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  • group workflow activities for integrating writing, critical thinking and active learning (Bean, 2011),
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  • developing a production workflow for 3D printing (Horvath, 2014) and DST requirements,
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  • incremental sequencing of tasks and/or skills (instructional and document design), and
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  • fostering student individual and group responsibility in their learning.
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  • encouraging project management skills with hands-on in-class additive manufacturing.
Our previous research has laid the groundwork for developing this unique design for language education.

Details of Research:

My current research will see work on digital humanities as an interdisciplinary field of research that helps us better understand, explore and use technologies with an aim to shed new light on humanities research. My work in task-based language teaching (TBLT) and technical communication for physical procedures support the teaching and research at the intersection of the disciplines in computing and humanities. My research in technical communication and design bring a different perspective to my teaching of writing in collaborative learning environments. The state-of-the art research environment at the Univ. of Aizu makes it possible for me to teach in a technical environment and combine the social aspects of technology in a multi-disciplinary context. In line with my Kakenhi research grant, my current research will see the use of technologies such as CAD Design, 3D printing and 3D scanning to make students participate in in-class collaborative additive manufacturing processes for English learning in a flipped classroom model. My experiments involve student groups for online collaboration leading to the development of concept maps, prototyping and design of daily-life objects, structural, functional and usability analysis, and communicate about the research through different qualitative and quantitative instruments and technical presentations. My research on TBLT will help me develop writing courses on topics of information design, LEGO prototyping, and design for the World Wide Web and eLearning. The future plan on the innovative 3D printing course is expected to implement a workflow of team-oriented in-class production of tiny amulets and mascots for computer science students. In an English language classroom, this will result in narrative digital storytelling (DST) documentaries of 3D-designed and printed products. Currently, a 3D printing-design laboratory is being set up and design procedures studied. Next, students will develop product design using CAD software, write about it extensively and 3D scan/print tiny amulets. Finally, DST will be implemented in elective courses. My research on rhetoric of digital procedural design will focus on the mechanism how humans interact with different artifacts and how such interaction shapes and modifies both digital and human identity.