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ARTiFactor: Desktop Computer Basics Scenario

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Art Oglesby
19 January 2013


Learners have paid $30 and are told they will take apart a desktop computer, learn what each part does, then put the computer back together again. They get to keep their computer. 


Learning activity is in the "Build Room" at Free Geek Twin Cities in MPLS, MN. USA on a Saturday morning at 10 am.


There will be at least one facilitator present who is a volunteer and might not have teaching experience. Learners have varied skills and handicaps/challenges. Challenges we've seen include the blind, quadriplegic, immature 10 yr old, autism sprectrum/aspergers, drug addicted felons/thief, having allergic reaction to mold, language deficit non-english speaking,attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a Mulslim female reluctant to interact with males. 


Free Geek Twin Cities mission is to recycle or reuse unwanted computers and to help reduce the digital divide by providing learnig experiences that allow participants to be more digitally literate. This courses goal is that learners will understand their computer well enough to fix it when it does not seem to work.


The learning environment, a computer, monitor, mouse, keyboard, screwdrivers, example parts (CPUs, RAM, etc.), a working computer with internet access, a facilitator, and a learning activity instruction booklet (also available via a website).


  • connect a mouse, keyboard, and monitor to a desktop computer
  • connect the computer to a power source and turn it on
  • disassemble the computer into its component parts and put it back together again
  • be able to name the parts of the computer and what they do
  • be able to install an operating system (OS: Linux Xubuntu) from an install CD
  • be able to update, personalize, customise, and add extras to their OS


The participant will have their own computer for a minimal cost. The learner will be more self confident in using their desktop computer and if it doesn't work, may be able to fix it.

Extra content

I am revising my Scenario in this blog post:

Computer Basics: designing a learning experience

Art Oglesby
23:17 on 21 January 2013

Revised Force Map

Art Oglesby
00:35 on 22 January 2013

Embedded Content


caroline kuhn
7:47pm 19 January 2013

I thiink I am not very expert in this of context, I am still struggling with mine. But so far I can see you have all your components very clear as the tasks and learning outcomes. The graphic in LucidChart I supose is about the FMap? If so I think you should mark the files with positve or negative, meaning the + sign to be a supporting link and - being a conflicting link. 


Joshua Underwood
8:55pm 19 January 2013

Art having all the components for your scenario like this is very helpful and a good starting point. Now, through telling 'stories' about how this learning experience might play out you can explore ways it might play out and this may help think about ways the experience could be structured through design. You don't need to make this story before moving on. In fact the next activities aim to help you do this.

You have the start of various possible personas already so you might use Personas & Force Maps to look more closely at how their characteristics might be taken into account in design and develop your scenario.

Alternatively, you could look at the Ecology of Resources framework, which would direct your attention to thinking more specifically about the component Knowledge & Skills the participants aim to develop, the people & tools that might help them (both within the teaching situation and beyond), the phyisical & temporal environments that the learning will take place in and the things that constrain/filter access to these.

Art Oglesby
1:20am 22 January 2013

Another go at Scenarios:

Zahara, a new immigrant from East Africa into the USA, is transported to Free Geek Twin Cities by Mary from the Council of Churchs. Also with is Aamid, a leader from Zahara's community. Zahara wishes to earn a computer by volunteering  at FGTC. They are greete by Brad, the volunteer staff person that day. Brad explains that new volunteers are to come on any Saturday at 2 pm for "orientation".

Zahara comes back Saturday by bus along with Aamid. She understands some English, but Aamid often translates what is said. Zahara wears a Hijab head covering and is reluctant to make eye contact with other male volunteers. Aamid tells her to let Brad and Jeff (the recycling leader) show her what to do.

Zahara comes by bus and dismantles computers into parts suitable for recycling for several days. Finally she lets Brad know that she wishes to learn how to build a computer. She is introduced to Art, who is designing a learning activity where participants will take a computer apart, then put it back togeter again. Art explains that the class will be Saturday morning at 10 am and will take 2 to 3 hours. The class normally has a $50 fee and includes a computer, mouse, keyboard, speakers, and a 17" LCD monitor. Since she has earned $40 in credit for her volunteer hours, she agrees to paying just another $10 for a spot in the class.

The class has not happened yet but Art is tryying to prepare for challenges which might hinder participant from learning about and successfully building their own computers. He hopes that visuals and hands on activities will reduce the need for being fluent in English. He is going to make picture flash cards with words on the back naming components like CPU, RAM, VGA & DVI, PS2 & USB, etc.

To Be Continued (My wife wants to wath a movie with me, lol)

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