Bringing Student Insights to the Forefront
One of the main reasons that Design Thinking is the chosen facilitation process in designing NEXTschool is its integral focus on human needs. In this case, the humans are students! In order to get past their own inevitable assumptions and biases, EXPLOREteachers have taken on a number of initiatives to listen to the student perspective, to dig deep on pulling out their insights and ideas, and to giving them the opportunity to help build and iterate their prototypes.
At St. Johns School, Riverside School board, teacher Eric LeBoeuf described their approach:
“As a school team we took part of a day to survey the kids and ask for their input about
when their school looks at their best, what does it look like? What change would they like
to see based on the STARC systems? We collected their input and are in the process of
implementing some ideas. All students enjoyed having a voice. It was good day. It is
important to listen to our students. They use our building and see things differently.”
Teachers at Heritage Regional High School have also focused on integrating student voice. In addition to a series of one on one ‘empathy interviews’, a student panel of 5 students were invited to an Explore Lab to share their own peak learning experiences and how we might ensure more peak learning experiences in high school. Their input was clear and forthcoming – they consistently spoke about situating learning in real-life experiences and about the importance of the student-teacher relationship.
The image below summarizes some of the keywords that surfaced in this insight-gathering stage to describe the type of experiences that students are looking for:Several students at Heritage High School were also invited to join the design process side by side with their teachers in several labs including the prototype and testing labs. Here are some of the powerful statements made by students upon reflection of their participation:
“Today was something unique and very cool. I was able to talk to the teachers at a personal
level and I was also able to express my experience as a student and it was valued”
“I learned about the importance of this project for education and discovered that any areas in
which I felt our education is lacking are addressed with NEXTschool”
“… we had a lot of time to talk about school and how to improve it”
“Empowering to feel included in such an important organization”
“It was really fun to sit down and think on how we can really help the students!”
All EXPLOREteams will invite student input for designing and providing feedback on their prototypes. The non-linear nature of the design thinking process has facilitated a constant return to ‘empathy ‘in order to ensure that the user-centred (i.e student-centred) nature of NEXTschool and a spirit of continuous improvement.
Be sure to mark June 26th in your calendar – as this is the date of the NEXTschool Summer Institute being held at the Phi Centre in Old Montreal, where we will host a Student Panel, share the Explore Year experience and welcome keynote speaker, A.J.Juliani who will inspire and collaborate with participants on the topics of student engagement and project-based learning. Educators from across the province are welcome and there is no charge for admission – Register here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org://hosted.learnquebec.ca/nextschool/2019/04/02/bringing-student-insights-to-the-forefront/NEXTschoolOne of the main reasons that Design Thinking is the chosen facilitation process in designing NEXTschool is its integral focus on human needs. In this case, the humans are students! In order to get past their own inevitable assumptions and biases, EXPLOREteachers have taken on a number of initiatives...lizfalco email@example.comAdministratorNEXTSchool