HCD21 Update: The Interview Phase

According to IDEO.org, “There’s no better way to understand the hopes, desires, and aspirations of those you’re designing for than by talking with them directly.” (The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, 2015)

Our HCD21 re-design team is heading into a number of homes over the next couple months to interview families in our district as a key part of the Inspiration phase for human-centered design. Beginning this week, each 3- or 4-person team will be visiting five different families in an effort to get to know the students and their families we will be designing for, while hearing in their own words the dreams and aspirations they have for the future, as well as their fears and concerns for the present.

Photo Nov 11, 15 34 04Our teams will use a variety of tools and techniques provided by our coaching team from NewNorth Center. Everything we gain from each interview will be uploaded to a spreadsheet data-base and when combined with other interviews and secondary research, will help our team recognize patterns and begin to tell the story of K-12 education in our community — what it should and should not be.

We’ll be checking in as a whole group several times over January and February to review our findings to date.

Part of our secondary research and interview process includes large group activities and feedback. Last week, we held two viewings of the documentary, Most Likely to Succeed. On Thursday afternoon, fifty-two members of the senior class spent their afternoon off viewing and discussing the film with me. I have summarized their comments and questions in the following list:

  • 2015-12-03 15.47.58I was volunteering as a translator at the ECC for parent conferences and they talked about kindergarten testing. When did they start testing way down in kindergarten? I don’t remember ever taking any tests. It doesn’t sound right.
  • When we did Rebel Prize, we worked all year long as a team with Mr. Lambert planning for it. Everyone did something and it felt good to be a part of a team and to do something together.
  • When I had Mr. ___ for math, he was mad that we couldn’t remember what he taught us in the first trimester. We couldn’t even remember it.
  • We are taught a lot of things trimester after trimester. It seems like it comes too fast and then it’s the next trimester and we don’t remember it.
  • I don’t know why I had to take chemistry? I don’t really like science. I’m interested in law and helping others. Why couldn’t I take classes that interest me? I don’t do very good in my classes when I’m not interested in them.
  • I was in a special education class for a while when I was young and there were just a small number of us. We worked as a team and it seemed to be better.
  • It just seems if we were able to make something we could learn more about how the stuff they teach us in class really works.
  • We just are always, like, taking tests and things.
  • We can’t just learn what they called soft skills because the colleges will want to know what we learned in our classes.
  • How come nobody asks us what we want to take or if we want to learn different ways? Even the classes we take now are sometimes just forced on us because they say it’s the only class they have that hour.
  • In sports and the plays and other stuff like that, we work as a team and we learn from making mistakes and fixing them. We don’t do that in school.

2015-12-04 14.03.11On Friday, the entire staff of Godfrey-Lee convened to view and discuss the film in a session facilitated by our HCD21 leadership coach, David Koetje, and our NewNorth Center coaches, Seth Starner and Jason Kehrer. We collected written thoughts and comments from each of the more than 225 participants and they are currently being uploaded to a data-base to share with the group and be part of our pattern-finding process.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 6.56.01 AM

The HCD21 team is following this problem-solving approach led by our NewNorth Center coaches. We’re currently still in the “Understand” lower quadrant but following the interviews and secondary research capture, the team will move forward into the upper half as we identify and synthesize patters and begin exploring concepts and solutions. This work will run into the Summer 2016 period.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 6.56.16 AM

This is a more simplified diagram of the problem-solving approach.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 6.56.53 AM

This is a capture of just who the stakeholder groups are for our school district. Our work at understanding people and eventually identifying solutions will take all of these into consideration as we move forward.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 6.57.19 AM

The current HCD21 team consists of thirteen members of our staff representing all of our schools and central administration. Following the interview phase, additional volunteers will be added as we synthesize the information gathered and begin a long process of exploring possible solutions and developing prototypes. The current team is made up of volunteers who responded following Superintendent Britten’s opening keynote address that included a call for volunteers. The team has put in more than 26 hours of work thus far and will spend another 15 hours conducting family interviews.


About David Britten

Retired U.S. Army Officer, former elementary, middle and high school principal, currently serving as a public school superintendent.
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3 Responses to HCD21 Update: The Interview Phase

  1. Pingback: Most Likely to Succeed: More than simply project-based learning | Superintendent's Notes

  2. Pingback: HCD21 Update: Gaining Emapthy | Superintendent's Notes

  3. Pingback: HCD21: Year 1 report on redesigning our educational system | Superintendent's Notes

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