Four iDiploma members wanted to redesign the traditional classroom in order to change the future of classroom learning. They worked closely with the Frazer Center, who had already made strides towards non-traditional learning through the use of their outdoor classroom. Through their work, they deeply impacted many of the participants of their labs and interviews, changing their mindset about what school should be like.
Reimagining Classroom Design
By Megan Lienau
From October 2016 to June 2017 I worked on a design brief in conjunction with the Frazer Center. As a part of the Experiment stage I orchestrated meetings between Frazer faculty and the faculty of other forward thinking schools in Atlanta with the understanding that partnership between these organizations would be incredibly valuable for all parties. Our team was able to see the beginning of such a partnership through a couple of professional conversations and a flash lab design thinking workshop.
I held a joint visit to the Turning Sun School in December 2016 with Director of Turning Sun Alicia Karpick, and Director of the Frazer Center Paige Kubik as a follow up to a previous visit our team had in November. The conversation that took place during the joint visit was extremely beneficial to both sides as they were easily able to communicate in detail their problems and get quick responses to their questions about accreditation, use of outdoor space, and curriculum. Our team took inspiration from the success of this conversation and felt that by scaling up and including more schools a partnership would begin to grow and the questions that our team could not answer could be answered by organizations who had worked through similar problems before.
Using this inspiration, we orchestrated a half-day design thinking workshop to build partnerships among schools and brainstorm about the future of education. The attendees of the “Re-Imagine the Classroom Workshop” followed a shortened version of the DEEP design thinking flow called a flash lab. This workshop was centered around the concept of building an ideal learning environment. The attendees engaged in empathy interviews with one another and designed for their partner based on the stories that were shared.
The “Re-Imagine the Classroom Workshop” was an amazing experience for all involved parties. My team was able to see educators pushed a little bit outside of their comfort zones, interacting with one another over a common problem. Each attendee was able to engage in a new mode of problem solving and leave knowing that they had created something that did not exist before. The designs, ideas, and insight gained from the workshop were extremely beneficial to the Frazer Center about how to effectively utilize their outdoor space, and to the other attendees to continue progressive mindsets in their own schools. However, the excitement that the attendees had for the experience and the budding relationships that were formed were the more impactful results of the day.
Our team spent two months designing the “Re-Imagine the Classroom Workshop” this process included an initial brainstorming session concerning what we would like to accomplish from the experience and how we wanted to accomplish those goals using the framework of the DEEP process and Flash Lab experience. After establishing our goals I wrote an initial sequence events or flow that would allow the participants the opportunity to form partnerships and engage in conversation about the future of early education. This flow underwent four iterations of trial, feedback, and revision before we landed on this final FLASH LAB FLOW. Feedback came from the MVIFI team, and Disney Cohort Innovation Diploma members. We conducted multiple site visits to the Frazer Center to ensure we had access to the right space and compiled our necessary materials. In the flow document you can see the emails used to contact prospective participants. Additionally, we designed a survey around the Social Type Playbook tool which we asked participants to fill out and is the tool we used to spark initial networking conversations. This is the slide deck we prepared to accompany our flow, the slide deck also went through multiple iterations and was utilized on workshop day.
The participants of the Flash Lab were so motivated by their experience that each requested a DEEP playbook for their own use, and more information about MVIFI and the then upcoming FUSE 17 experience. Participants from the Frazer Center and other attending institutions took this experience and utilized design thinking to motivate their faculty and staff at the next faculty meeting through use of SPARK and the empathy interview process. Later in July the Frazer Center took these experiences and our final design brief write up to complete two separate grant proposals to forward the work that my team and I completed.
For more information concerning the whole design brief take a look at this final write up that was presented to the Frazer center in June 2017. This write up details the learning and growth that I underwent in regards to the Frazer Center, and proposes next steps for the Frazer Center to take. Due to this experience organizing and facilitating a design thinking workshop I have been motivated to share design thinking more and lead others through the DEEP process, this informed my next steps to become a Coach at FUSE 17 and apply to be Lead Project Manager on the Innovation Diploma Executive Team.