Our Second First Class

October 25th, 2011 by Katie Koch | Filed under Programming, Teaching.

This fall we’ve teamed up again with the Urban Assembly Institute for Math & Science for Young Women in Downtown Brooklyn. They were such an incredible partner school last fall we’ve decided to continue our relationship with them.

This time around we’re making a website! The girls all participate in an after-school program through Girls Inc. of New York City. Girls Inc is a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. At UAI the students participate in a specific division called Project GROW. Having been around for two years, it’s time ¬†for this small but mighty organization to have a web presence.

Before our class began we vetted the project by speaking with Odette Nemes, Director of Project GROW to make sure we’d have enough work for the girls. From Odette:

I would like to see them make a website that’s more girl friendly, not something for the parents or teachers, but for the girls to use.

In our first week we asked the girls to introduce ourselves to us through a short video interview. (Unfortunately they’re all a little Vimeo-shy so we’ll just keep those to ourselves!) We asked them to share the most beautiful thing they’ve seen recently, a great way to break the ice into talking about design.

For the rest of class we talked about what design is, and dissected what interaction design is. We made a HUGE list of the things we use the internet for and talked together about how and why design might be important to those tasks.

Then, we dove into the meaning of words. We did an iteration of Graphic Jammin’ around some words that we think are important to website designers: community, emotion, social, and communication.

We ended the class by handing out new sketchbooks to the girls, encouraging them to decorate and take ownership of their thoughts and drawings there.

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