Design Tech High (d.tech)is a 2-year old public charter high school founded with design thinking as (1) the curricular focus for students; and (2) the process for change management.
CURRICULUM & ASSESSMENT
Funded by a grant from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to accelerate Design Tech High's (d.tech) implementation of new learning models, I was brought in as a Designer in Residence for 8 months to collaborate with the Stanford d.school to (1) improve d.tech's design programming for students; and (2) create various resources to help staff adopt design thinking as a change management process.
Project 1: Rubric Design
d.tech was in its second year of operation, so many initiatives and resources were still in-progress. In order to add more rigor and support to the design thinking (d.lab) program, I was tasked with using my deeper knowledge in design thinking to flesh out & revise the rubric for students & staff.
The original rubric (2015)
- Given that the school is only two years old, this was a sufficient first pass on the design thinking class (d.Lab) rubric
- Staff who were less familiar with the design thinking process did not know HOW to look at the various gradations of the process such as "EMPATHY" or "SELF-DIRECTED"
the new rubric (v1)
- Clear division of student outcomes into Process / Mindsets / Soft Skills / Technical Skills makes it easier to notice different facets of student learning
- Since d.tech was migrating from a Pass / No Pass system to a graded system for d.Lab, the V1 Rubric lacked grade levels that were consistent with other classes (i.e. Emerging, Developing, Proficient, Pioneering)
THE FINAL RUBRIC (V2)
Project 2: Tool for Training New Teachers to Personalize Learning Experiences For Students
To prepare for its upcoming 3rd school year, which included doubling teaching staff, d.tech needed a way to train staff in a common practice of creating personalized learning experiences for students. I co-led a 6-week design sprint with the Stanford d.school to explore potential solutions.
The Process: a 6-week design sprint
weeks 1 - 2: what is personalization?
My design sprint team consisted of four additional members: Nicole Cerra (Director of Learning), Melissa Mizel (Director of Student Experience), Ariel Raz (d.school Learning Experience Designer), and David Clifford (d.school Senior Learning Experience Designer). When we engaged in empathy work by interviewing staff, we discovered there was no common definition of "Personalization."
In one of our Friday PD sessions, we spent the hour with all the staff pairing up to definite "Personalization." Then, we as the design sprint team synthesized the findings.
WEEKS 3 - 4: REFINING OUR DESIGN CHALLENGE
From the definitions, we saw various themes around:
- Teacher Needs vs. Student Needs
We then came up with several iterations of our How Might We question to reframe our design challenge:
Too Broad: HMW better support teachers in personalizing learning?
More Specific: HMW onboard new teachers to personalizing learning?
Messy Constraints: HMW onboard new teachers to personalizing learning (especially in terms of our philosophy and practice of the term) while honoring their authentic teaching style?
Addressing Institutional Racism: HMW support & engage new teachers in building a practice of extreme personalization at d.tech in a way that does not perpetuate institutional racism?
Final Problem Statement: HMW support & engage new teachers in building a practice of extreme personalization at d.tech?
WEEKS 4 - 5: PROTOTYPING
We time-boxed our ideation session to 5 minutes. From that, we generated three ideas we wanted to prototype:
- Personalization Cards (a deck of cards with various "levers" for personalizing learning)
- Online Teacher Resource (an online collection of staff stories and tools for personalizing learning)
- Personalization Clinic (a weekly meeting to troubleshoot staff's personalization practice)
Our Executive Director, Ken Montgomery, had great interest in the Personalization Cards so we decided to pursue prototyping that.