A problem of practice I face in my role as Technology Integration Specialist is helping teachers to become less resistant to use technology in their classrooms. To support my teachers and hopefully address this problem, I have done many different things (created http://www.educationaltechvideos.com, podcast execution, digital citizenship unit that is applied across curriculum, etc.), but I am going to focus on one in specific right now. Because we are launching a MakerSpace next year, I created a website about the Design Thinking process. It is my hope that this website will teach teachers about the Design Thinking process and encourage them to think of ways to use the MakerSpace, which has both technology-rich and unplugged options.
To test my website, http://www.elementarydesignthinking.weebly.com, I elicited the support of a colleague, a Michigan State classmate, and a family member. My MSU classmate commented on a Google Doc (a screenshot is below) and answered questions about the relevance of content, simplicity of understanding the content, visual design, ease of navigation, functionality and usability. He made a few great observations, which sparked changes to the website. He suggested I embed all videos, rather than having links to some and having some embedded and encouraged me to add links to get from page to page to the bottom of each page. This was great for navigation. He also caught a few links that were broken. Lastly, he noticed that some links opened new tabs, while others opened new windows. Next, my colleague completed a Google Form about the website. I asked her what worked really well and what changes could be made. She thought the content was easy to understand and the videos were engaging. She really liked that I had a resource page with additional books to check out and that it was broken into subjects. She did not have any negative feedback (there is a screenshot of her survey below). Lastly, I asked my husband to check out the website. It was helpful to get his feedback, because he’s so far removed from education. I knew that if he was able to understand the content, it was written well. His favorite part was the use of multimedia. He was impressed with the videos, Padlet, and MentiMeter. He wants to use MentiMeter in his own presentations! He suggested that I add more of my own examples. This is a suggestion I would like to take into consideration in the future, but without an actual MakerSpace setup in my building, I do not have that many examples yet – it’s all ideas!
The testing process was really helpful to me. The most important feedback I received was from a classmate. I think the reason he had the most valuable feedback was because we do not know each other outside of school, so he never felt like he would hurt my feelings. He was able to be critical and trust it would be received constructively. I made many of the changes he suggested right away. The other advice I received about adding more of my own examples will be implemented over time but is not possible until we have our MakerSpace up and running.