Update: An updated version of this post is available on my main blog.
Replace the trappings of the compliance classroom with student-created context, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and BYOC (Bring/Build Your Own Comfort). Let’s hit thrift stores, buy lumber, and turn the compliance classroom into something psychologically safe and comfortable to a team of young minds given agency and open technology.
The School User Experience
What do kids see? What do they feel? What do they smell? What do they hear? What is their experience as they move through your school?
How much more effective we might be if our user interface design was intentional, and intentionally designed to support children?
Have many fewer rules, and ONLY have rules you can successfully defend in a debate with a student.
Eliminate lunch detention and no recess punishments. Those are cruel punishments which demolish your credibility with every child.
Working graffiti is good.
We cannot build an effective, an empathetic, a working User Experience unless we build a User Interface that kids won’t turn away from. And our schools are User Interfaces. Our schools are the “how” our children interact with education. Every door, wall, room, teacher, rule, chair, desk, window, digital device, book, hall pass are part of the User Interface, and that User Interface defines the User Experience.
And we cannot begin to understand the User Experience we need until we get fully into the heads of our users. That’s true in web and programming design, its true in retail and restaurant design, and its absolutely true as we design our schools. This understanding can have complex analytical paths – and those are important, and it has a committed caring component – but it also has an essential empathetic underpinning, and maybe you can begin working on that underpinning in a serious way before this next school year begins.
Source: SpeEdChange: Writing for Empathy
For more, this collection of links on classroom ux and student-created context is continuously updated.
Student-created Context at Albemarle County Public Schools
Albemarle County Schools (#APCS) has embraced BYOC, student-created context, open technology, toolbelt theory, and universal design for learning. They are leaders and innovators to watch and emulate. Follow superintendent Pam Moran, technology and innovation director Ira Socol, and their fellow Albemarle educators on Twitter — and read their blogs.