Sure, you can explain what a prototype is, but what if students could experience generating a prototype and seeing how it compares with others?
Maria Vita (Penn Manor High School, Millersville, PA) suggests using Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) experiment “Quick, Draw!” to do just that.
After explaining prototypes, send students to the Google “Quick, Draw!” website on any web-enabled device, although a device with a touchscreen, such as a smartphone, is better. Students click the “Let’s Draw!” button to start. Students will be given 20 seconds to draw an object or a concept, such as boomerang. Google uses machine learning to try to guess what the object is. Once Google has correctly guessed or 20 seconds is up, whichever comes first, Google presents another concept or object to draw. After six trials, Google shows all six drawings along with the results. Tap on a drawing to see what other people have drawn for that concept or object as well as see drawings created for other objects that look like that one.
Once students have had a chance to do a set of drawings, ask students to explain what this activity had to do with prototypes. (After being given an object or concept, whatever popped into their minds was likely their prototype for that concept.)
Vita (2016) suggests instructors “[c]hallenge students to get 6 drawings guessed and/or when the program is unable to guess a drawing explain why it did not fit the prototype.”
What’s in it for Google? This department within Google is exploring machine learning. Being given hundreds of drawings of, say, flamingos, helps Google identify any future drawings of flamingos as flamingos.
Vita, M. [AP Psychology Teachers]. (2016, November 18). Challenge students to get 6 drawings guessed and/or when the program is unable to guess a drawing explain why it did not fit the prototype. [Facebook group post]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/groups/556665311050841/