Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Lending a hand at the Yale Education Leadership Conference

March 27th, 2011 by Katie Koch | 2 Comments | Filed in Business, Design, Inspirations

Last week I was asked to help facilitate a workshop about the Digital Classroom at the Yale Education Leadership Conference. Below is my recap of the rewarding day, originally posted at pixelkated.com.

Expanding Solutions for the Digital Classroom

What happens when a group of designers lead a brainstorming session with teams of school administrators, MBA students and educational policy makers? The future of the digital classroom…

On Friday my SVA classmates Clint and Derek and I took the morning train to New Haven, CT to join the Yale Education Leadership Conference. We joined a panel session about the Digital Classroom hosted by Larry Berger, CEO of Wireless Generation.

Larry invited us to work with his team of designers to lead a workshop with the group of administrators, management students, and education innovators at the conference. We stayed for the day to iterate on the solutions that came out of the workshop session.

The Brief

After watching a short panel presentation from four leaders in classroom software development, each designer led a workshop with a group of 4-7 participants.

Each group addressed a common problem:

It may be too time consuming for many teachers to keep track of all of this student data, to locate patterns in the data, and to understand how to prioritize certain information about their students in order to design lessons and small-group activities.

And worked on a single task:

With your group, design an interface that would allow a teacher to visualize data collected regarding students’ progress toward the common core math standard below. Ideally, this interface would allow the teacher to see student mastery of specific sub-skills in order to create differentiated small-group lessons.

The Workshop Experience

All of the designers agreed beforehand on a common framework for the workshop.

  1. Lead a discussion about the problem space to establish a common language among participants. Since the groups would be assembled of a variety of people with different backgrounds and ideas, this step is important to beginning a productive conversation.
  2. Define a unique problem statement to solve during the session. What does our group care about? Choosing a specific angle helps all group members be more invested in the session.
  3. Discuss what we already know about the problem. The 45 minutes allotted for the workshop isn’t enough time to do research. A quick and dirty research method is to leverage the knowledge of each group member to define the problems and opportunities in the space.
  4. Rapid sketching and solution generation. The more ideas we can produce, the more likely we are to come up with a great solution.

In my group we began with a healthy discussion about the problem of real-time data collection and visualization, which I captured on Post-It notes for everyone to refer to as the conversation progressed.

We reached a hurdle in the middle. Everyone was content to politely discuss existing solutions, but there was very little movement toward ideas for new solutions.

The tone changed when I reframed the conversation with a new question that directed the group’s thoughts back to our users. “Think of a teacher in a classroom with 25 students. What is the most important piece of data the teacher needs to see?” Suddenly one woman announced she had an idea. She began describing her idea to the table. I handed a marker to her and asked if she would be able to sketch the concept she had just described. She gladly accepted the challenge and started drawing on the communal poster paper in the middle of the table.

Once the first person started sketching it broke the barrier between group observation and collaborative generation. Instantly everyone at the table was able to talk about the new idea, adding on improvements and creating new sketches for similar concepts. The energy was tangible as my group of quiet talkers suddenly came alive.

The Design Studio

After the workshop all six designers gathered to share and discuss the outcomes of our separate groups. Across our many ideas we saw a clear solution for how a real-time data visualization system might be built. We decided to pursue three parts of the system: student input on a mobile device, teacher dashboard, and a group display visible to students and teachers in real time.

We spent the next few hours brainstorming around the three different touch points and sketched a few detailed drawings for how the solutions might work.

Teacher Facing

May and Jeremy worked out a web app and iPad app design based off the rubric used for standards-based grading. Jeremy had the idea to include social features allowing for peer review with other teachers and among students.

Student Facing

Clint, Takao and Courtney envisioned a system of dynamic mobile devices that would allow students to collaborate by subject matter and assignment within a classroom.

Group Facing

Derek, Mo and I started with the idea that we could use games and a highly visible “leaderboard” to give students the sense that they’re all contributing toward the common goal of learning. We designed a game that would reflect each student’s progress in a lesson.

A Day Well Spent

I headed into the workshop with an understanding of how to move a group of high school students in the direction of a solution. It was much different working with my group of educated adults whose heads are already full of optimized solutions. I quickly saw the value of throwing out wacky ideas and adding or removing brainstorming constraints to get them to think outside of what is normally expected.

Spending the day with a group of talented folks was enlightening and enriching for me. As is often the case, I learned as much from the workshop participants and other designers as they might have learned from me.

Sharing in the mutual exchange of knowledge and awareness was refreshing and delightful. I look forward to many more workshop opportunities to come!

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For this Weekend: Philly & EduCon 2.3

January 27th, 2011 by Katie Koch | 1 Comment | Filed in Business, Inspirations

This weekend we’re headed to Philadelphia for EduCon 2.3, a conversation and “an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools.” We’re excited to meet other educators from whom we can learn and share our ideas about design in education.

Carmen and I are excited, too, to get a little inspiration for our thesis projects. We’ve spent the past four months immersed in our subject areas. It’s always helpful to get out of studio and into the world to talk about our work.

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Project: Interaction in the Daily News

January 6th, 2011 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Business

Happy New Year! (a few days late…)

We’ve been buried under mounds of snow here in NYC, and Carmen and I have thoroughly enjoyed our extended winter break with trips to ski and to visit family.

In December we had a bit of exciting news when our story was published in the NY Daily News under the headline, Interactive designing duo is plugged into teaching. Please have a look!

Katie Koch and Carmen Dukes

Katie Koch (l.) and Carmen Dukes have parlayed their professional interest in interactive design. Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2010/12/10/2010-12-10_interactive_designing_duo_is_plugged_into_teaching.html#ixzz1AGXi6HUJ

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Small Changes In My Own Community

July 20th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Business, Design, Inspirations

In PSFK’s Future of Retail Report there are a ton of brilliant and innovative examples of ways that social networks and new technology are impacting our shopping and purchasing behaviors. PSFK is a New York based company, so naturally many of their examples were from our own backyard.

The one that stood out to me was Kickstand, a mobile coffee stand in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their website states:

Kickstand is committed to providing the best possible cup of coffee to community events in NYC with the smallest environmental impact possible. We achieve this goal by using bikes not only for all of our transportation needs, but also for a portion of the power we use in brewing the coffee we serve. At Kickstand getting people outdoors and bringing them together over coffee is our primary goal.

There are two nuggets of messaging that stand out in their mission and relate to some of Project: Interaction’s goals: emphasis on sustainability and the notion of bringing people together. Their motivation isn’t necessarily to brew and sell coffee. If we look at it another way, these coffee entrepreneurs are fulfilling the needs of Saturday morning Williamsburgers, who are thirsty, caffeine-deprived, environmentally conscious, or just in need of a good, casual conversation.

Their cart promotes the creation of social interactions between residents in their community while taking environmental impact into consideration. By focusing on the concerns of their community they’re able to create a more meaningful experience for their customers.

I can’t wait to get to McCarren Park to meet these guys!

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Motivation

July 6th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Business, Design, Discovery, Research, Videos

Daniel Pink: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

One of my coworkers showed me this quick video from Daniel Pink, author of Drive. We’re working on a research project to discover some of the reasons why our users may or may not be inclined to complete documentation for a finished project. The question of motivation has come up a lot.

Not surprisingly, lack of motivation is ranked at the top of the list of reasons why intelligent people fail.

I’ve been thinking about motivation in regards to our prospective students for Project: Interaction. Many of the educators we’ve spoken with along the way have told us about the concept of intrinsic motivation, or the idea that kids have to want to do something in order to be fully engaged with it. We’re constantly thinking about ways that our curriculum can complement a student’s existing interests, and leverage those natural inclinations for the practice of interaction design.

Have you taught or worked with high schoolers? How does Daniel Pink’s video compare to your experiences?

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The Project: Interaction Experience Cycle

June 8th, 2010 by Carmen Dukes | No Comments | Filed in Business, Curriculum, Design, Discovery, Inspirations, Research

Education is not exempt from experience design

After weeks of research, interviews, and brainstorming, Katie and I have a designed a curriculum that we believe will appeal to both students, school administrators, and faculty. So what’s our next focus? Besides finding a school to partner with,  I am exploring beyond the curriculum, and thinking about the experience.

The Experience Cycle

Source: http://www.dubberly.com/articles/interactions-the-experience-cycle.html

On my blog, I recently wrote about iPhone games and Hugh Dubberly and Shelley Evenson’s Experience Cycle. The Experience Cycle is a continuous relationship and conversation between a consumer and a product or service.  Instead of focusing on single interactions with consumers, the Experience Cycle, is a holistic approach to consumer engagement – from awareness to advocating. Successful companies, like Nintendo and Zappos, provide case studies in this method. Their success can be attributed to creating relationships with their consumers as well as continuous interaction at every possible touch point. I believe the Experience Cycle provides an interesting framework for designing how Project: Interaction will engage with high school students and ultimately provide guidelines for measuring the success of our program.

The Project: Interaction Experience Cycle

Project: Interaction Experience Cycle Sketch

The Experience Cycle has five steps. Below, I outline the Project: Interaction experience at each of these points.

1. Connecting (first impression)

We’re connecting with students at a community level. The attraction to our program will be that students will learn that they can design products and services that impact the community around them, which could be their school and/or neighborhood.

2. Becoming oriented (understanding what’s possible)

Each week of our curriculum explores one area of interaction design and relates that concept to New York City. Students immediately began to think as designers, discovering how design influences the environment around them. Students will begin exploring problems and solutions that can be achieved through design.

3. Interacting with the product (direct experience)

Our program isn’t about lecturing the students each week and having them sit still and take notes. We want them to make things. As we explore environments, mobile technology, and services, students will brainstorm, sketch, and design their own solutions to topics we propose.

4. Extending perception or skill and use (mastery)

The program is cumulative – allowing students to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and themes that we teach while becoming passionate observers of the world. After a seven week primer to interaction design, these designers in training will explore a design solution to a problem that matters to them.

5. Telling others (teaching or spreading activation)

Since Project: Interaction is a new program, our students’ successes (and failures) will determine its success. Their exposure to interaction design should excite them about what’s possible with design and intrigue them to learn more. Ultimately as we recruit future attendees, they’ll help us promote our program among their classmates and peers.

As we talk with students and schools about Project: Interaction, I predict that we will spend more time talking about the experience of the program than the details of our curriculum.  We hope the appeal of both – the tangible and the experiential – will generate interest on both sides and result in a great school partnership.


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Kids as Entrepreneurs

April 12th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Business, Discovery, Inspirations

Check out this talk from Cameron Herold at TEDxEdmonton! So much of what he’s talking about can be applied to the way we think about teaching kids to be designers and creative thinkers. Definitely worth a watch.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCar_sFfEf4]

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Inspiration over Tea – An Interview with Jerri Chou

February 24th, 2010 by Derek Chan | No Comments | Filed in Business, Discovery, Inspirations, Interviews, Resources

Last week, the team had a chance to meet with social innovator and co-founder of All Day Buffet, Jerri Chou, to talk about some of our thoughts on design education and what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Jerri Chou

Our afternoon meeting with Jerri, who has found enormous success with All Day Buffet, helped put some of our initial reservations to rest. She told us her story of the earlier challenges in starting All Day Buffet and how she eventually overcame them by working hard towards what she believes in and quite literally, just getting that idea out there. Of course, we know our plans are a lot different than starting an organization like All Day Buffet, but Jerri is a great example of someone who made it.

To me, she isn’t just a social innovator, but a design entrepreneur — a term we’re quite familiar with as a result of learning about entrepreneurial design in our class with Bek Hodgson. She had an idea and used creativity and design to bring it to life.

In addition to inspiration, Jerri provided us with a handful of resources of other people and organizations who have worked on similar projects as us. She also gave us suggestions on how to work with and learn from schools in the city.

Toward the end of the interview, one important question came up that we will need to address – do we want to focus on schools that are already more progressive, or schools that have not yet been exposed to the kind of education we are thinking of introducing? This thought is definitely something we will need to incorporate into our goal-setting and strategy.

We want to thank Jerri for a wonderful hour of insights and inspiration. And tea.

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