Design thinking phase 1—discovery phase
Identifying the problem:
Parent involvement and support at school and at home
how might parents be involved and support their child at school and at home?
Research on Parent involvement
Discovery phase—Parts I-III
Summary, Contribution, and Challenges
The first phase of the Design Thinking Project creates the foundation for and sets the stage for the other phases of the project. The discovery phase of the design project presented a few challenges in terms of collaborative work. I was in China for the entire first week of the discovery phase of the project with limited Internet access and a 15-hour time change, which created delays in the collaborative process. We initially had four members in our group and lost one (why I’m not sure). Anyway, I was contacted by Angela Acuna and Ulises Cisneros and we conducted most of our initial collaboration via email and held one Google Hangout between the US and Taiwan, where we brainstormed possible Social Justice problems and a suitable challenge question. Ulises set-up our initial shared Google Document and I revised a lot of it prior to our final turn-in. Ulises and Angela narrowed down our challenged question while I was in China to--How might parents be involved and support their child at school and at home?
Once I returned from China and revisited all of the requirements for the Discovery phase, I revised the question to: How might parents be involved and support their child at school and at home?
This question resonated with all of us as we are at different schools. Initially, I had wanted to create a question that had more cross over with my work with schools in China, but realized it was better in terms of the time frame and potential communication delays with schools there to focus on the parent involvement issue here instead. We all wanted to work on a solution for a real problem that impacted all of our schools. We realize that we still need to narrow this question down more, and plan to do so after completing the Interpretation Phase of the project.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in the Discovery Phase was the time involved in online collaboration to develop the interview and survey questions. All three of us worked together over Google Hangouts for about six hours (2 separate sessions) to construct the questions for our end users and for the experts. I later revised a few of the questions and presented my revisions to the group. Since we were behind schedule, I suggested we divide up some of the tasks that didn’t require online collaboration. I also volunteered to complete the visual image for our DT question. I had a few ideas, constructed a draft of the visual and shared it with everyone for feedback. Everyone in the group liked it. However, I still felt it was missing something. I did some additional online research on Social Justice and looked at images on the Internet. This gave me a few additional ideas to better connect our problem in the visual to the social justice theme. Another challenge was that our group was not completely clear on what was required and we spent a lot of time working this out. This was frustrating for me, as I hate wasting time and I had a lot of work to get caught up on. I felt that much of our online collaboration was not as productive as it might have been. (I felt some responsibility for this because I was not here at the beginning of the project. Once it became clear we needed help and more direction, I reached out to our professors, took some time to revisit PPTs, videos, and guidelines for sections we were unsure about).
Overall, I felt that I did a bit more work in the Discovery Phase, but by choice. After looking over the exemplary Google Document another group had submitted, I felt our document was inferior and confusing, and did not cover all parts on the rubric, so I revised it. I also volunteered to do the visual. In terms of the interviews, these ended up being time consuming because they required transcribing recordings for some of them and time conducting the interviews (I’m not sure if the surveys were as involved).
What I would change or do differently next time:
- Review the checklist with the group in advance. Make note of questions we have and make sure we are clear on the task before starting.
- Divide up tasks that can be done individually. (Although it is important to collaborate, I personally felt it took too long to construct all of the questions together. We could have each worked on the questions for the group we were interviewing or surveying and then could have provided feedback and revisions for one another).
- Agree on a calendar of who is responsible for what much earlier in the project. I added the calendar in my revised Google Document, partly out of frustration, as I felt we were not moving forward.
How would you apply this process with students or colleagues at your site?
The design thinking process is an excellent way to get both students and colleagues to think creatively and to “think out of the box” or more divergent. Although frustrating if you are a convergent thinker, more innovative solutions to problems are possible and solutions we might never have anticipated. It also affords more work in a collective environment and teaches many skills needed in today’s global environment. For students, the design thinking process fits well with problem-based learning and connects both globally and with real world problems and issues that need to be resolved. For colleagues, the design thinking process affords an opportunity to learn and work collaboratively with peers/cohorts and learn to use many of the Web 2.0 tools in the process. Having little experience with Google Hangouts, I now feel competent and even comfortable enough to use this tool with my AP students. This was something I wanted to do last year, but never really got it off the ground. I definitely plan to use it this year for some of our online sessions, as well as the design thinking process for an end of unit project.