Classroom Redesign Reflection

We’ve finally ‘finished’ our classroom redesign project in D-Lab! The reason it’s not definitely finished is that while we’ve gone through all of the motions of making ideas and prototypes and cost lists and grant write-ups, we still need to present everything to the school district and get approved in order to even start making the changes we so desperately want to. It’s pretty intense, but the project was and still is really exciting. I have such a soft spot for interior design, so brainstorming furniture ideas and wall colors was perfect for me.

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For the project we had to go through a design process that followed certain areas. The first section we really focused on for our classroom redesign was the Focus on Human Values. We started this project by interviewing Mr. Heidt and what he wanted to see his classroom be morphed into, and even a classmate and I were interviewed ourselves for our viewpoints as both Design Lab and Ghenglish students. These interviews helped the class emphasize with both the ideas of the teacher and students that use the classroom, as our ideas as Design Lab are biased to how we see and use the space personally.

We didn’t do much Radical Collaboration for the project, as the class really stuck to our own ideas without any outside help. We didn’t interview kids who just took Ghenglish either, which I think we should have done to get an outside opinion. We did, however, interview my classmate and I for a good viewpoint on what the Ghenglish kids need out of the class, too. There aren’t many professional designers for us to talk to, but researching articles from Steelcase helped add that professional aspect to our viewpoints.

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Throughout the project we participated in the section that tells designers to Be Mindful of the Process. We researched articles, did interviews, and brainstormed before filtering through our ideas to create a well written How Might We statement. The class was mindful of the process, as we knew that to design the best idea we needed to communicate with each other in discussions and refine our ideas so that the design had a clear purpose.

This feeds right into the next section of the project, which was to Craft Clarity. “Culling” our ideas together, as Mr. Heidt likes to call it, helped everyone understand the class’s viewpoints altogether. When we did this, the common, major ideas became our main concern, but extraneous ideas were still remembered and talked about often. Siphoning our thoughts down made the class decide what was the most important thing for us to achieve, and this was obvious in our final prototype and materials list as the unpractical, unneeded ideas were placed on the back burner or scratched.

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The prototypes we built as groups and the final prototype we’ll present to the school district both cover the  sections of Show Don’t Tell, Embrace Experimentation, and Bias Towards Action. The first prototypes we made in our four separate groups were a way to show off our thoughts visually to the class and see what everything would look like as a scale model. This helped everyone see the different redesigns, and figure out what would and wouldn’t work space and functionality wise. I know many of the prototypes had bookshelves and chalkboards on wheels, but we realized that this idea was too extreme as it just wouldn’t fit in our small class.The whole act of making prototypes also helped the class feel even more legit when it came to designing, as we were actually producing our ideas into something we could look at. For the final prototype we scavenged pieces of the old prototypes, and this really summed up how ideas could be plucked from one place and remixed into something new to work for everyone.

So this is a wrap on the project! I definitely want to see how our presentation goes, and I’m excited to find out if it’ll get the green light or not. We all worked really hard, and our ideas became so polished through these areas of thinking that I hope the school district can see it.

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