Ennea : Mapping social roles of high school freshmen

Enneas are little portable devices that measure and visualize social interactions between high school freshmen. In the Netherlands there is no such thing as middle school and the transition between primary- and high school is therefore a rather big step for 12-13 year old kids. They face new and more responsibilities, in a new environment with new people.

Enneas are carried by the pupils throughout their first semester of high school. Duration and diversity of social interaction is passively measured and a social role is determined accordingly. Social roles are visualized by animal icons that offer a balanced representation of each pupil’s social behaviour and place within the group. There are no good or bad roles, there is no goal. The roles are there to provide a handle for reflection and discussion about differences between people and roles within a group. It allows pupils and teachers to collaboratively reflect on and discuss about actual, real-life information.


The teacher has access to a web-based hub where all social interaction data and development is visualized over time. The pupils’ awareness of their own social role within their group combined with the teacher’s overview provides content for reflection and discussion about social topics that the pupils can identify themselves with as it is based on their own situation.

In order to get to know their role, pupils need each other. 2 Pupils interact with each other’s Enneas by moving them close together in a circular, explorative motion to reveal their social role. This allows them to either share their social role or to keep it for themselves.

Ennea was the winner of an internal competition where 6 groups of master students competed for a presentation at the Design Expo 2008 at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA, USA. Microsoft Research invited top design schools from all over the world to present their best work as a part of the Faculty Summit 2008 We presented Ennea to an international and cross- disciplinary crowd of designers, researchers and CEOs

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