Sniglets and Redefining


For our lab assignment in Module 3 of CEP 817, Learning Technology Through Design, we were given two assignments related to the second stage according to the Stanford Design Model, Define.  For Part One, we were to develop three original Snigets. A sniget is a made up word with a made up definition that are not included in the dictionary.  Until this assignment, I had never heard of a Sniget, therefore, I had some research to do first (here and here), but quickly caught on.  Here’s a few that I came up with!

Auto-Correct Annoyance-(awto-kor-ekt uh-noi, ence) when your intentional text message becomes autocorrected by your often smarter than you smart phone, but makes you appear even less intelligent when the autocorrected message is sent without proofreading.

Lactoselack– (lak-tose-lak) The act of pouring a large bowl of cereal only to go to the fridge to discover there is no milk.

Yougonoigonoyougo– (u-go-no-i-go-no-u-go) Coming to a stop sign or multi-way stop the exact same time as someone else and not knowing who has the right away.

Part Two of Module 3 also dealt with the Define stage of the Stanford Design Model.  For this part, we were to share an example of a problem that had been redefined.  I found my redefined problem on a blog post.  You can read a summarized version below and my thoughts on it as well.

In 1959, there were many new ideas floating around and innovations just waiting to take place. That year, Henry Kramer, a British visionary was no different. He wanted to turn his dream of a pilot-powered aircraft into reality. Two large sums of money were put up for the first person to build a plane that could fly a figure eight that was a half of a mile apart, and the other was for the aircraft engineer that could fly across the channel. After ten years, many people tried, and many people failed. The task at hand seemed nearly impossible. Nearly another decade passed before a gentleman by the name of Paul MacCready came along and decided that all of those attempts before him were trying to solve the wrong problem. He had come to the conclusion that these teams of designers and builders were spending upwards of a year or better building these planes, only to wreck them minutes into the test flight. Teams would complete this process of rebuilding and retesting over a span of another year without much information for adapting. MacCready decided that the problem was the problem. The process was troubled, yet continued time after time without deeper understanding to adapt the prototype. Mr. MacCready changed the problem of developing a pilot-powered aircraft to needing to develop a place that could be rebuilt in a much shorter timespan; hours, not months. Although MacCready’s first plane didn’t work, he was able to rebuild, retest, and relearn much quicker, sometimes three or four times in the same day. Eighteen years after Henry Kramer proposed the first pilot-powered airplane, Paul MacCready accomplished this task by redefining the problem and being more efficient with the process it took to reach the ultimate goal.

I found this example of redefining a problem especially intriguing for many reasons. First of all, I have an extreme fascination with flight and aviation, which I guess you could say runs in my blood (My grandfather, father, and brother all have their private pilot’s license, of which I hope to soon as well). Many of the previous redefined problems had to dig through several layers to arrive at the nature of the problem. This is often the case by asking “Why?” multiple times, but I also learned through this redefined problem that the process of which you arrive at the ultimate goal could be altered and redefined as well. I also connected to the Stanford Design Model while reading about this particular problem. When MacCready changed his problem to develop prototypes that could be reconstructed in a quick and timely manner, it allows for more testing and adjusting throughout the process to eventually arrive at the ultimate goal more efficiently. These prototypes were the basis of the overall invention in that they were able to test multiple times in one day, fixing each problem at hand as the problem occurs. These adjustments don’t need to take years to revaluate, but just a few minutes, so that the next problem that comes up may be handled in the same way, quickly. This creates a reasonable time frame for testing, redesigning, and arrival at the best possible finished product.

Pilot-powered aircraft designed by Paul MacCready

Pilot-powered aircraft designed by Paul MacCready

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