Datagotchi Deep Dive


Roschelle, J., Mills, M., & Stillman, P. (1998). DataGotchi Deep Dive. Menlo Park: SRI International.


We believe there is a huge opportunity for new educational appliances that are low-cost, portable, robust, networkable, and highly tuned to particular curricular needs. We can foresee the potential for the success of these devices in the phenomenal impact of graphing calculators and probeware. However, we are concerned that current graphing calculators and probes are based on their heritages in paper tape adding machines and black-box lab apparatus. The educational community therefore does not see the huge future potential, and is more focused on hugely expensive desktop computers.

In our view devices would far surpass the ability of conventional classroom tools to engage students in active, constructive, reflective learning. And unlike desktop computers, they would be personalizable by the individual student and usable in the classroom, out in the field, on the school bus, or at home. Because such devices would be communications-savvy, they would enhance classroom workflow, including getting an assignment from the teacher, working collaboratively with fellow students, discussing work with a peer, parent, or tutor, and documenting the completion of successful learning. In addition, because they would connect to measurement and output devices, handheld mathematical appliances would connect math more directly to real world phenomena.

Our group decided that the appropriate next step is not a prototype, but rather a set of concept sketches that would spark dialogue in our community, and draw the interest of potential research and manufacturing partners. IDEO has a brainstorming process called a “deep dive” that results in highly communicative and innovative concept sketches in a very short time. We plan to (a) generate bold, exciting, compact vision pieces with a select group of participants (b) post these to a web server where they could gain additional commentary and (c) utilize the sketches and commentary as discussion starters with selected potential partners for follow-on projects aimed at realizing the vision.

Read more from SRI