Our mission is to promote student achievement through academic and individual goals in a safe learning environment. Abbotts Hill, in collaboration with the community, is a place that celebrates and fosters the development of responsible, self-confident and self-reliant students.
Abbotts Hill strives to make sure students are achieving at their highest level, and we have a staff dedicated to giving students their best in a nurturing, learning environment.
What was your original HMW (How Might We) question coming out of the January 14th Design Workshop?
How might we design a way to maximize meaningful use of instruction and collaboration?
Tell us about your team's experience with the Empathy phase and the biggest surprises and unexpected insights you found.
For our empathy interviews we focused on the areas of collaboration and instruction. We set out to interview as many staff members as possible including teachers across grade levels, departments, and support staff.
Once we had an opportunity to interview our own staff, we decided there was much to learn from the personnel of surrounding schools and counties. We listened to their experiences with collaboration and instruction in hopes of finding insight on what is working and what is not, within their own schools.
We, as a team, enjoyed the empathy interview process. We were surprised to find just how much empathy can be gained from brief interviews. People were so willing to talk to us--they want be heard and hope change will occur. Through empathy, we also saw how much we related to those that were talking to us. The insight we gained was the number of people who felt the same way about the time committed to our job, and also, how differently collaboration can look throughout our own school building.
Tell us about your team's experience with the Design Summit. What stands out most? What will you take with you?
First of all, we were excited and impressed with the strength of our own team. We found we work well together and we are free to express our ideas openly. Throughout the two day process, we interchanged roles with each of us stepping forward to be a leader when needed. Using collaborative ideas built so many better ideas than individual times would produes.
For all of us we loved the concept of both thinking and acting fast so as not to get hung up or attached to one idea (especially if it was the wrong idea). A quote from our training that our team came back to often throughout the Summit was, “When in doubt, give yourself less time.” We appreciated that we had the power to constantly edit and recreate so that we didn’t have to worry about being “right or wrong”.
Each of us enjoyed creating the prototypes. During the test phase of our prototypes, we appreciated the feedback and input we obtained from other professionals.
What POV (Point of View) statement did you settle on at the Design Summit (at least for now)?
We met a teacher pulled between work and family.
We were amazed to realize there are other methods available to provide teachers the feeling they can get their job done during the school day.
It would be game changing if we could provide the teacher with methods of collaboration to be efficient.
Tell us about the prototype you built at the Design Summit. What was it? How did it address your POV? In the testing you did with users, what did you learn?
We left the Summit with two different prototypes (one from Friday and one from Saturday). Our first prototype focused on a schedule that provided more time for teachers to accomplish the many tasks that occur throughout the day. We simulated a day in the life of our user currently as well as in the future with more time built into the schedule. Feedback was helpful in that it showed us that just adding time may not solve the problem, but maybe the focus should be on what is going on during that time.
So on Saturday we reiterated and began a new prototype focusing on collaboration. We decided maybe our user needs to employ a “team approach” to getting everything done during the day. As we proceeded, we learned maybe both our prototypes need to be combined so that time is provided for collaboration and efficiency to occur.
Tell us about what you're going to do next to continue iterating. What's your action plan? What are you doing on Empathy? What are you doing on Define/POV? What are you planning to do on your prototype?
Immediately after the Summit, we went right to a user in our school and presented both prototypes separately. We obtained feedback on both models. Again, the answer was not clear on one prototype over the other, but maybe a combination of time and collaboration together. We then used the opportunity to have a second empathy interview with our main user. We, as a team, spent time understanding a “day in the life” of our user.
Since then, we have revisited composite POV statements from all of our empathy interviews. We wanted to make sure that we are focusing on a prototype that will work for more than just one person. Going forward, we would like to present both of our prototypes to more users within our building for more feedback and maybe more direction on which concern is greater: time/schedule or models of collaboration.
What other reflections on the process to date and the collaboration with other schools would you like to share?The entire Design Team process has provided us with a great network of people and resources. We are excited to learn the Design Thinking process and have already discussed ways design thinking can be used for different experiences with students in our school and in our own personal lives.