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.
Our 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:
- I 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.
On 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.