Reflective Essay

In this reflective essay I am going to be looking back through the project and seeing where I thought I did well and where I could have improved. This is important to look back on and reflect as it helps me to look at where I could improve some aspects, where I did well and where I fell short of what the brief wanted or what I wanted. The whole project started off with our lecturers telling us the brief would be to create a media artefact to publicise the Jurassic Coast. I had no idea where this place was or what it looked like so in hindsight, I should have looked it up straight away rather than later on in the project, to get my bearings. We then had the trip a few days after the initial brief was given, which I think could have been pushed back a week or two to give us time to settle on an idea of some sort but these things sometimes can’t be helped. I went to the coast with not really much of an idea but I took a camera and documented anything I thought could be useful. At this point, I was quite apprehensive about what I was going to record as without an firm idea, I was almost going in blind but knew that I’d get enough research and some pictures and video to help me as much as possible.

I took videos as well as pictures but only used the pictures in my blog and final idea. If I did this project again, I would maybe create a video with my footage and have illuminated lines showing where everything would be, like the raft race start, the tent with Oculus rift, food stalls etc. A few people did some questionnaires to ask the general public and shop owners and at the time, I had no need to do this but looking back now, it would have helped get some feedback from the people who would most likely turn up to my fun day. I did take mental notes however, like the fact that there was not much traffic in Weymouth, the population seemed to be more elderly and that its incredibly windy on the beach. This did not put me off as its not just people living in Weymouth that I want to attract but people from all around. Parking was not too much of an issue as there were several with a short walking distance to the beach so I didn’t worry about that. I should, looking back, have recorded this information on paper and used it somehow in my research so in future, I will record everything, no matter how menial.

When the actual brief came out, it stated that we had to link up with a company that shares the needs we are looking to fulfill with our media artifact. The example was ‘The National Trust’ and there was nothing wrong with me picking this company but I feel I could have looked elsewhere, to a smaller charity/trust who it could have helped out more. I did look at ‘The Landmark Trust’ but their goals were more with buildings than the countryside and nature which was what the brief was in essence; protecting the beauty of the Jurassic Coast for future generations by making people aware of it now. The only real place I took inspiration from was when I visited North Berwick and saw the raft race and the fun day they had there but at this point, I had no idea this would be important for university work this year. I could not have visited Scotland again to find out more about the raft race but I did find the Facebook page, which was helpful, but as this was such a small event, there wasn’t many details. My grandparents live in this town so I could have used them more and asked them to find out detailed information, when it occurs, who runs it etc. but again, not much was said about the event. This should have spurred me on to researching in to other raft races and fun days in Britain or anywhere in the world, but at this point, I felt I had a solid idea and powered through. This extra bit of research could have added more to the event or helped me understand the nature of putting something like this on but I did get help from a family member who has a degree in events management who aided me when I faltered.

Again, thinking about the event itself, I should have maybe asked families down at the coast when we took the trip there, if something like this would be appealing to them. I did look into other events in Weymouth as I wanted to see exactly what I was up against and found that there were no events like mine but more community based ones, like a seafood festival. I think that my event can be community based as well however, just with a different theme and something locals might not think they’re interested in but could be swayed toward. Frey, Botan, Friedman and Kreps (1991) talk about how ‘research methods are the particular strategies researchers use to collect the evidence necessary for building and testing theories.’ This is very relevant in my work as without looking into the Jurassic Coast, the raft race in North Berwick or the new types of technology that are around at the moment, I don’t think this project would have come together.

At the beginning of this process, I sat down and wrote a list of ideas that I had and only came up with two. One being the fun day and the other, an app with an interactive map that had various locations you clicked on and different games, like puzzles, riddles and questions that would pop up for you to answer. I didn’t brainstorm this idea as I thought the fun day had more to offer but thinking about it, I should have maybe put something in motion as it could have been a proficient design. I could have made some mock ups of what the app could have looked like,  including a map of the Jurassic Coast and added key points on to it and come up with ideas on what puzzles and games to attach to each. The reason I didn’t do this however was because it would have taken up a lot of time and I then could have been battling with two ideas and not picking a definitive one to work on and subsequently run out of time.

When making prototypes of mock-ups for my raft-making app, it did cross my mind that I could maybe have built this in Xcode and have something to show people and get them to build a simple raft design. My ideas weren’t fully formulated early on and I made the decision it would be quicker to make mock ups so at least people can see the design and what I’m trying to achieve. The app mock-ups show off simplicity and that’s what I went for as this is a side-show to the actual day but I still wanted to make it look professional. The same goes for my poster, as this was a secondary part of the day but still important. I decided to go for a teaser poster for the arcahelogical dig so people would pick up on it and would want to come down and see what it was all about. At the time of the trip down to The Jurassic Coast, I didn’t realize I’d be using an image of a collapsed cliff as a poster so in hindsight, I should have looked out for everything possible. I took the heading from an app but didn’t want to just take it so I opened it in Photoshop and tweaked with it to make it my own work but for the real thing, I’d make my own poster campaign for the dig and for the actual day itself.

Feedback was a crucial area for me as I really wanted to know how the public would perceive my day. As I have already stated in this essay, if I did this again, I would write up a survey that I could ask members of the public in Weymouth if they would attend an event like this. This is down to me not brainstorming ideas right at the beginning as if I had; a few of these ideas would have gone through. I did however gain feedback from my lecturer and my peers, which helped greatly, further my project. I asked my parents and their friends as well who possibly might not want to attend one of these fun days and I got good verbal responses from each of them. The main reflection I have to input is that of how past work has really helped me with this whole process. We did a collaborative project at the end of our first year and in this I had to create mock up iPhone apps and create an event, which was a little different to this one, but the process was the same. These skills transferred from that project and aided me in creating my prototypes, thinking of the layout and organization of the fun day and doing research into companies and information into places and things I had no prior knowledge of.

My research definitely helped me the most as it gave me more ideas and helped me understand all the elements of my fun day and thus aided my organization of the day and my work. I feel my work relates to the brief amicably as it is innovative as there are no other interactive fun days like this on the Jurassic Coast and I’ve picked an audience in families that are willing to go to different places and sample new things, like technology and where there will be activities for kids as well as adults. The different activities I have and the historical element of each do make this an entertaining but educational day, like basing designs in the raft race on famous ships and answering historical questions in the orienteering to complete the riddle/phrase. My client, who was the National Trust matched the agendas and needs of my ideas which is to preserve this beautiful coastline for future generations and make people now a days aware of this treasure, which is what my fun day is all about. In terms of reflection, Roth (1989) talks about processes involved, for instance, what and why you did something, viewing things from different perspectives and considering consequences of your ideas and actions. Overall, I am very happy with my project as I feel I’ve taken it as far as I can without actually setting up the event properly and obviously there are some things that I would have liked to change but projects like this are never going to be perfect.

Word count (1,836)

References

  1. Roth, R. (1989). Preparing the Reflective Practitioner: Transforming the Apprentice through the Dialectic. Available: http://www.brainboxx.co.uk/a3_aspects/pages/ReflectionModels.htm. Last accessed 4th Dec 2013.
  2. Frey, Botan, Friedman, & Kreps. (2000). Theory and research methods defined. Available: http://www.uky.edu/~drlane/capstone/trmdef.htm. Last accessed 5th Dec 2013.
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