Posts Tagged ‘community’

Explore Interaction Design at the High Line

July 19th, 2011 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Curriculum, Discovery, Teaching

We’re teaching a three-day workshop this week at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. We’re excited to lead 25 NYC high school students on an adventure to discover why and how we share our experiences in a digital world. We’ll be investigating technology from the past and present, and dreaming up new ways to use lo-fi solutions and mobile technology to design experiences for the future.

The Challenge

Your friends are visiting from out of town and they really want to go to the High Line. Too bad you’re stuck at your summer job and can’t go with them. Create an interactive experience that makes them feel like you’re right there with them.

We’re taking a field trip to the High Line tomorrow so the students can better understand the experience of visiting such a place. More to come this week!

For more, check out the Cooper-Hewitt’s write up and our story over at SVA’s Visual Briefs.

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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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We’re Speaking at the EdLab

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

Carmen and I are so excited to be speaking at the EdLab at Columbia’s Teachers College next week. We’ll be sharing our experiences with Project: Interaction and our ideas for how design can play a role in any classroom.

Carmen Dukes and Katie Koch will share their ideas about the potential to use design in a successful high school environment as a complement to students’ core coursework. They will discuss their process of discovery and invention as it relates toProject: Interaction , an after school program they’ve created and taught that teaches high school students to use design to change their communities. Katie and Carmen will share lessons they’ve learned from their first class of design students and will lead a discussion around ways educators can incorporate design into their classes.

For more information and to RSVP, visit the EdLab Seminars site.

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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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A Visit from Transportation Alternatives

November 22nd, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Programming, Teaching

Last week we were so excited to welcome Julia de Martini Day from Transportation Alternatives! We’ve been working with Julia over the past few months to develop a lesson that would be meaningful to our class of students. We wanted to structure the lesson to include many of the skills we’ve used so far: things like sketching, brainstorming, problem and solution definition, and refinement and presentation. That sounds like a lot of stuff to cram into one lesson, but our students are getting used to quickly thinking through ideas!

Julia began the lesson with a presentation about safe streets and what it means to engage in healthy living in an urban area. It was really interesting to see where each student stood in our “human barometer” test at the beginning. Most were in the middle between agreeing and disagreeing with the statement, “The best way to stay healthy is to walk and bike around my neighborhood.”

Human Barometer

Julia did a wonderful job explaining the mission and goals of Transportation Alternatives to our students. She put activism in terms that were easy for them to understand, like describing protests: “Sometimes the people in charge don’t listen to us, so we get a lot of people together who can talk really loudly together!”

For the rest of class, we all looked at the intersection of Jay St. and Tillary St. near the students’ school. Many of them cross this dangerous intersection each morning to get to school. When Julia asked them to sit down and talk about the problems with the intersection they had no trouble coming up with a ton of ideas.

Group Work

After each group defined a set of problems, they focused on one problem that they could attempt to solve. We asked them to come up with a quick solution and sketch it, either on the map we provided them, or on a separate sheet of paper.

At the end of class, each group presented their ideas. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of overlap in the problems each group defined. It was really exciting for us to see how thorough they were in their definition of the problems in the space.

Presenting projects

Problems/Solutions

Our Reflection

This was a tough week for us in class. Carmen and I are feeling the strains of our own course load increasing near the end of the semester, while also working with students who are feeling the pressures of their semesters coming to a climax. And, as much as we valued the lesson from Transportation Alternatives, it occurred to us after class that teenagers may have trouble grasping the value of the message “don’t drive, use alternatives instead.” They’re right at the age where they are dying to get a car and drive, and the idea of voluntarily not having one may have been lost on them!

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New Supplies

October 27th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Programming, Resources

It’s been a busy week around here! We’ve been planning our class this week and are seriously excited to teach it. We’re teaching about the importance of mobile technology in the ways we find people and information. Students will be asked to consider a series of scenarios in each of three different technological points in history: 1990, 2010, or 2030.

For example:

Your friend is coming over for dinner and you know they love deviled eggs. Unfortunately, you don’t know how to boil egg! How can you find out how to boil eggs?

How would you learn to make eggs today, armed with an iPhone, YouTube and hundreds of people to call for help right in the palm of your hand? How would you have learned about the delicate art of egg boiling in 1990? Called your mom? Looked in a cookbook?! (gasp!) And what about 20 years from now? How will our ability to find information change in just two decades? It’s going to be a challenging exercise, but we’re hoping the girls will take a lot away from the lesson.

We’re also thrilled to give a BIG thank you to our friends who have sent us goodies from our Amazon Wish List. In the past couple days we’ve received a whole parade of boxes filled with giant sticky paper pads, foam board, Legos, origami paper and even a Flip camera.

Katie Koch & Carmen Dukes with supplies

If you’re interested in contributing to our classes by donating supplies,please send them through our Amazon list!

And, a special thank you to the folks at Busy Beaver who are keeping us supplied with buttons. We just got all of our reward buttons for our friends on Kickstarter!

Project: Interaction buttons

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Invent Design Change!

October 7th, 2010 by Katie & Carmen | 1 Comment | Filed in Inspirations, kickstarter, Schools, Sketching

Join us Sunday from 3pm-6pm in SoHo!

In the last three weeks we’ve brought together an online community of people on Kickstarter who are passionate about design education. Now we’re inviting our online community to join us offline for an event this weekend to support arts and design in education.

We’re teaming up with Re:Form School, a REDU project that has transformed an abandoned school into a gallery of art for the enjoyment of all.

Please join us!

  • Record your own story answering “How did you first learn about design?”
  • Contribute your ideas and sketches to our giant wall of sticky note art!
  • Meet other awesome people who love art, design and education!

Can’t make it but still want to help? Donate to our Kickstarter campaign!

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The Future of Teaching

September 23rd, 2010 by Carmen Dukes | No Comments | Filed in Inspirations, Research, Schools, Teaching

Katie and I attended Teaching + 30: The Future of Teaching, a Y + 30 Meetup event. The panel discussion included some of the brightest minds in the field of education including David Levin, co-founder of Kipp Schools and Joel Rose, Founder of School of One. All of the panelist were very opinionated about what’s wrong with education today, some saw the system as not broken but just in need of a slight redesign, while several of the panelists talked about the need to bring more respect to the teaching profession.

When it came to talking about the future, many of the ideas for change centered around technology. Jose Ferreira, Founder and CEO of Knewton, an adaptive technology learning program, spoke of the need for more data in education – data to assess the progress of students to help identify learning styles and difficulties and to also evaluate the effectiveness and capabilities of teachers. Joel Rose concurred as he talked about the success of School of One and their use of technology to provide lessons based on student performance. Alex Grodd, founder of Better Lesson, a curriculum sharing platform, and a Teach For America Alum, was the biggest advocate for teachers. Grodd talked about the need to give teachers more resources to connect with each other and build their community.

However, despite the call for technology to help augment classroom lessons, curriculum planning and student development, all the panelists agreed that no amount of technology could replace the intimacy of teaching. The personal relationships that teachers build with their students through mentoring, tutoring, and one-on-one instruction is truly irreplaceable. So as we go on a path of deciding how teaching will change in the next 10, 20 or 30 years we must remember that the human connection is still very relevant and critical to the teaching and learning experience.

Photo from Flickr: BenLego

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Some Other Exciting Work!

July 28th, 2010 by Katie & Carmen | No Comments | Filed in Inspirations

I came across a few groups today that are doing great work in the field of design, community action and education.

DESIGN21

DESIGN 21: Social Design Network’s mission is to inspire social activism through design. They connect people who want to explore ways design can positively impact our many worlds, and who want to create change here, now.

Renegade Pencils

Three guys. One ambulance. 8,000 miles.
Raising money to build three schools where they’re needed most, and empowering kids with the knowledge that creativity can solve anything.

R3

R3 is a collaborative effort to promote sustainable design. Their approach focuses not only on redesigning better things, but on better experiences. (Tom and his group are working with students at Academy of Art University.)

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A Little Late Week Inspiration

February 26th, 2010 by Katie Koch | No Comments | Filed in Discovery, Inspirations, Research

This week on Design Observer I came across a group of volunteers in Lincoln, Nebraska and instantly fell in love with their ambition.

Our small effort was just one part of a bunch of other small efforts by a handful of dedicated creative people who jumped in and helped make this loose collection of concerned citizens into something worthy of attention.

Their work is beautiful, and I admire that they saw a need and started doing something about it. No planning, no hierarchy, just action. As we continue to flesh out the details of our little project, Derek, Carmen and I can relate to the sometimes scary feeling that nothing is known or planned, but that we’ve found a need and are doing something about it.

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