Understanding Place as Inspiration for Sustainable Design: Plant, Paper, Product

By Courtney Becks, Engage Communications
May 17, 2013

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Hark with students in the field

Design Studies professor Mary Hark’s students located inspiration for their art in Dorner Grove, a prairie in Rock County, Wisc.

Using a prototype developed by Learning Consultant John Martin, Engage PA Luiz Lopes piloted them through using iPads and the Augmented Reality Interactive Storytelling (ARIS) tool to photograph the site, draw botanical specimens, tag items, log scientific data, and note plant locations using GPS. The team Hark worked with was led by Academic Technology Senior Learning Consultant Cheryl Diermyer.

Hark’s Fall 2012 Engage Situated Learning project Plant, Paper, Product helped Design Studies 501 students develop an understanding of a specific, local landscape that would, in turn, sow the inspiration for their creativity.

Using the information gleaned from using various technological methods and natural materials collected from Dorner Grove, Hark’s students made paper by hand. Their artwork included dresses made from paper, an origami collar, and crochet-trimmed paper handkerchiefs.

Hark students projects

Hark said her Situated Learning project was “truly interdisciplinary,” including elements of “engineering, art, and design studies.”

Engage explores the use of Situated Learning at UW-Madison, focusing on case scenarios, stories and narratives, and place-based learning.