Product Development Across Hardware, Software and Learning by Toby Hughes "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs January 01 2020 True Hardware, pi-top, ProductTank, ProductTank London, Software, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 354 Toby Martin Hughes speaks at ProductTank Product Management 1.416

Product Development Across Hardware, Software and Learning by Toby Hughes

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In this ProductTank London talk, Toby Hughes, Senior Product Manager at pi-top explains how to combine product development across hardware, software, and learning.

He takes us through the following:

  • A learning framework based around constructionism
  • Developing software and hardware for products
  • The pilot run for pi-top 4

Watch the video to see Toby’s talk in full. Or read on for an overview of his key points.

A learning framework based around constructionism

The goal of pi-top is to teach kids about circuitry and computer science by getting them to play. This builds an ecosystem of learning by making. In developing a learning backbone across everything physical and digital, this can feed into projects that excite both students and teachers. Toby explains the importance of preparing the next generation for the fourth industrial revolution by helping them to develop critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration skills from an early age. Products such as pi-top also help to eliminate the pain points of teachers and students regarding computer science in the classroom. Teachers are able to take learning outside of the classroom and students find it easier to grasp more complicated concepts.

Developing software and hardware for products

By developing software and hardware products for learning, we can eliminate some of the silos which future makers may find themselves in. Toby explains how they used design thinking to develop the project and create various prototypes. From the beginning with a simple greenscreen to creating a modular unit and then adding a battery so that teachers could take the product outside. Eventually, they were able to connect the dots between software, hardware, and learning by running experiments and then applying the feedback they received.

Pi-top 4 pilot run

The main takeaways from this talk are that in building a product you will go through a number of small iterations and prototypes, as well as many disagreements. By the time Toby and his team launched the pi-top 4 they had stopped 3D-printing and building prototypes. As a product manager, it was evident that he needed to be a mediator between the heads of departments and connect them towards the common goal.

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