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Functionalities of the software through narratives

a dialogue with the software developers
How can we apply ICT to one of the Officina Emilia's hands-on laboratories?

We propose below an illustration of the activities that can be incorporated in the ICT prototype to develop homm. These are some of the ideas around which the project team is working.

We have identified storytelling as the most effective form that can be used to promote dialogue and synthetical description of the many specialized disciplines involved in the project. In particular, through storytelling, the working group constructs the meaning of the features that we wish to incorporate into the prototype. Each one of the designers will develop and integrate, according to her/his skills and in continuous interaction with other members of the working group, the realization of a prototype that meets those features.

The narrative form is a design tool that promotes sharing within the project team not only during the preparation of project design and the specific presentation of the idea to potential partners, but also in the next phase of prototype development. At that stage, the narrative will be examined formally, checking the requirements of the software platform against what emerges from the testing and the critical analysis of the project. This method will allow us to check that no parts are told in the stories which are "off topic" or "off budget" or which are very expensive and do not produce innovation. (This discussion will be deferred until the launch of the actual project, in the expectation that "homm" proposal will generate the same enthusiasm that motivates the project team).

The example presented is "The Story of a lathe: from the II World War to Formula 1". It concerns a specific ICT application (here after named homm-sw) to the Monarch lathe that is now part of the heritage of Officina Emilia Workshop. The application homm-sw is described as accessible from the homm's website. Through five short stories, three types of users and the actions that are possible in the stages before, during and after the visit, are introduced. The protagonists of the stories are students, teachers and other visitors. A complementary set of stories with regard to the Crafts Museum is in progress: it draws from Ruchira Ghose's paper (2004) on Sanjhi, the ancient art of paper stencilling, and on pottery.

Francesca and Riccardo are students who use various features of homm-sw during and after the visit made by the class. Ramella and Binora are their teachers of literature and robot programming: they have completed one of their planned activities and use some homm-sw applications for their evaluation of students, for other activities with their classes, to gain information, etc. Omar is Francesca's father. He has been a lathe operator for most of his working life. Through the homm's website he finds a group of former students who are designing the maintenance of the Monarch lathe, but also discovers other stories. Other people also come into contact with OE.

Suggestions for development of the prototype section of contents and applications "homm-sw_torniomonarch":

  • One way in which the Monarch lathe, on display at the headquarters of Officina Emilia, could be used is to show an overview of the "history of machining in Modena during the post-war period"
  • During the visit, the lathe will be in operation: a skilled worker will show how the machine is equipped and set up to achieve a particular job, as well as the details of the machine, of the processing operation and of the piece being worked on (at different stages of the process) (see storyboard)
  • The Monarch lathe will be compared with the NC lathe. The machine in operation is a narrative device to draw attention to the importance of mechanical technologies in Modena, the characteristics of manual technologies that are different from NC, the different man-machine interactions entailed by the two technologies, people?s stories, their relations and human-machine interactions (since the postwar period)
  • A historical analysis that documents the technical features of the Monarch lathe and the events that led it to arrive to Modena is already available: from a tool to serve the American army to a tool for learning how to shape metals. It will be necessary to produce various kinds of multimedia materials (photographs, movies, sound clips, text, animations) that describe episodes linked to the Monarch lathe located in the Museolaboratorio of OE. For example, interviews with former workers who recount how it was left by the Allies after the liberation, photo of the institution where it was taken, interview to the person who modified the lathe so it could be used with metric system, stories and testimonies about the machines and other pieces produced using this kind of lathe.
  • More generic materials can be acquired about the period in question, relating to the history and territory, either purely "historical" in nature, or more specifically related to factories and the mechanical engineering industry from the post-war period to today.

ONE_Before and during the visit
Use of touchscreen in the Museolaboratorio, identification using proximity devices, authentication, interaction, memorizing activities

TWO_After the visit
Online use, web authentication, memorizing activities, interaction

THREE_Activities and online projects for groups
project management, sharing tools, repository material, restricted access, Web contacts to the project
Teachers, students and other users

Registering users and groups, gathering statistics, tests and indicators, teachers?area, comparing the collected data
Teachers and students

FIVE_Before, during and after the visit: registering users, workspace
Other visitors

functionalities through narratives: download the pdf file


homm_ICT for hands-on multimedia activities in musems

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