Team 3ST (Smoothie, Sushi, Spicy, Thai) :) Week 1: Discovery Phase
When our group got together via Google Hangout and began discussing what we might like to study for our Design Thinking project that will focus on social justice, I remember the topic of stereotyping rising to the surface very quickly. We all work with young people who deal with stereotyping on a daily basis, whether at school or in the community, and we agreed that we would like to investigate how to help students and teachers with awareness and action around stereotyping. We brainstormed many questions on a Google Document asynchronously, and ultimately came up with one overall question to guide our research: “How can we better deal with stereotyping in school?”
We decided that we really have two groups of end users: students and teachers. That is a bit tricky, as we have only a few weeks in this course, but we knew if we chose this topic, the two go together. As Dr. Ward pointed out when I interviewed her last week, “We can’t deal with kids, and not adults.” Clearly, if we are educating students about stereotyping, we must also address the stereotyping that comes from the adults who are teaching them. So, with two groups of end users in mind, we set out to figure out the best ways to obtain information on the topic of stereotyping in education.
Since this is a summer course, most of us are not working with students right now. Jose is the only one currently teaching, so we created a survey, using Google Forms, which Jose would administer to his students. We spent a good amount of time during our initial Hangout devising survey questions. Collaboration and multiple points of view during this process was key, so that we could write questions that would elicit useful and focused data. I really valued our synergy and teamwork during that process. We work well together. We also decided to interview two very gracious experts in the field of stereotyping: Dr. Cheryl Ward and Dr. Delores Lindsey.
As for my contribution to our Discovery Phase, I added information, resources, questions, etc. to our document as we worked asynchronously. I attended several Hangouts with my team as we worked through this process. I interviewed Dr. Ward via telephone, and she was wonderful to give me an hour of her time- a rich conversation- and I typed up the results of that interview and added that to our shared document. I also set up and attended the Hangout interview with Dr. Lindsey (I managed to connect to the Hangout using my phone at a Starbucks- first time for everything!) All of our gathered information was added to our shared document.
The only challenges for our team were time and location. We didn’t have long to set up our research plan, interviews, survey administration, etc., so if felt a little crunchy at times. But everyone we worked with was so great, so we made it happen. The members of my team are all spread out across the county, and we are all very busy, so trying to “Hangout” was really challenging. There was impressive dedication to the cause though, and with good communication either by phone, email or text, we made it all work. Team 3ST is a group of ultimate professionals, and it is my pleasure to work with them.
If I were to attempt this process with colleagues at my school site I would probably do it much the same way, except hopefully our timeline would be a bit more spread out. I probably couldn’t count on my colleagues being so willing to do research outside of their working hours like Team 3ST did, so I would have to work with site administration to work it into our PLC time or something of that nature. Overall though, I feel that our methods were good and effective.
We discovered a great deal about our end users for this project during this phase. Learning about this process is enlightening and ultimately, only by going through the process am I able to understand how powerful approaching a problem with a design thinking mindset can be.