Monday, May 4, 2015

Real Kids Meet Real World

During my STEM lab, two students approached me and asked if they could explore graphic design as their next unit of study.  I set out to investigate options for them and got a recommendation for a MOOC from my district's director of technology - Human-Computer Interaction from UC San Diego. This went right along with areas that I have been experimenting with lately - rapid prototyping and designing with the user in mind.  Tying this online experience in with face-to-face interaction with them in class, I have been able to discuss the learning with them and come up with practical ways for them to use what their new knowledge and skills.  One of the initial projects involved interviewing someone about what they would want in a dashboard.  I arranged for them to interview another teacher about her preferences for a personalized dashboard and they got a better idea of what it meant to design for humans.  For example, she would want to be able to control the notifications that pop up right from her dashboard.

I then shared the portfolio of a real-life graphic designer with them so that they could get an idea of how professionals work.  I also showed them an example of a contract that a graphic designer presents to clients to model for them the process of working with clients.  It involves the prototyping stage and presenting the client with three options and then discussing further iterations until the 'perfect' design is arrived at.

It was time for my students' first job!  I approached a local restaurant owner and she invited them to help them redesign the table tents she uses for special occasions at her eatery.

Here is the original design:

Here is my students' redesign using Canva (with the name of the restaurant omitted for privacy):



Great experience in design-thinking and design-making tied to the real-world for my students!

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