May 2012
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Month May 2012

Prototypes Continued…

Day 2 of prototyping is complete!  The students are almost finished with their designs and ready for end user feedback.

There are 4 groups of students working on designing a new classroom chair.  The girls below are adding arm rests and cushioning to their chair.  They are in the process of adding privacy flaps to their chair.

This group of girls have added a variety of tools necessary for students to complete classroom assignments.  From a storage bin for class supplies to speakers for hearing teacher instruction, these girls embraced functionality in their design.

These boys are also re-designing a classroom chair.  They incorporated cushioning, a coat hook and a camel back water bottle built into the back of the chair.

Below is a group of students working on a new chair that is more comfortable but incorporates privacy and personal space.  Equipped with a  light shade, storage bin and a display board for art work.

This group of students are hard at work creating a new desk that is functional and provides privacy for individual work time.  They have created privacy shields that can fold open when a student wants to work alone.

These boys and girls are creating a new space for the classroom.  As our space is limited, this group created a reading loft that would not only create more space, but add a comfortable place to relax and read.  The students decided to build book shelves into the loft which would eliminate the book shelves taking up valuable classroom space.

This group is as well creating a reading loft for the classroom.  They too embraced the idea of saving classroom space by building the book shelves into the stair case leading up to the reading loft.

Check back soon for pictures of the students presenting their prototypes to current third graders.



Go outdoors!

Interesting article from Jonah Lehrer in The Wall Street Journal on the benefits of going outdoors: Mom Was Right: Go Outside ~ Young children are increasingly shunning the country, even as scientists outline the mental benefits of spending time in natural settings. 

Classroom Prototypes

Inspired!  After a full day of prototyping, our students are near completion.  They spent a majority of Friday working in small groups to prototype one of three possibilities.  Groups focused on improving their classroom desks or chairs while other groups worked on creating a reading loft for the classroom.  Their creativity was amazing!  From built-in water bottles and pencil sharpeners to headphones for listening to laptops and teacher directions, the students truly embodied functionality and imagination with attention to saving space. Stay tuned for more pictures of completed prototypes.  Up next, feedback from current third grade students!

Classroom Redesign

Over the course of the last two weeks, our students began a classroom redesign project.  We began by having a very structured group conversation where we shared likes and dislikes about the chairs in which the students currently sit.  The children shared in a whole group setting a variety of reasons why they like their chair, it is a safe place to sit and it does not crack, and reasons why they dislike their chair, it is uncomfortable, there is no cushion, it does not move easily, and it digs into their backs.  We then continued our conversation a few days later, this time based around our desks.  Again the students shared their likes and dislikes. We heard the students share that they like their desks because it is their own personal space, there is storage and everything is easy to reach.  They dislike their desks because they do not move easily, it is hard to see what is inside, and there is no space to display their work.  After the students got the idea of how to be critical of items in their environment, we asked the students to use post-it notes to share one like and one dislike about their cubbies, bulletin boards and finally their classroom in general.  After the students shared their likes/dislikes, we bucketed their ideas into common strands.  Through the bucketing process, we learned that the students do not feel a sense of privacy and personal space in their classroom.  We also learned that they do not feel comfortable while they are working and learning.  From this information, we developed two questions for the students to brainstorm possible solutions. How Might We create a more comfortable classroom that promotes learning? How Might We create a classroom with more personal space?  Let the wild ideas flow, stay tuned!

Get it rethinkED! The team commences…

We are officially beginning the rethinkED team this Wednesday. The concept of a design thinking consultancy for teachers to begin thinking like designers has been germinating for years, but this will be the official start of our work together.

We will be doing a “deep dive” in design thinking with IDEO on 6/14 and 6/15 at Riverdale Country School. After that, there will be a summer online experience, a conference in the autumn and work on several projects.

If you wish to learn more, the team is blogging here, posting to Facebook and to Twitter.

If you don’t like it, get it rethinked!

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