Explore the value of educator communities and design a tool or environment that facilitates collaborative, transformative learning among teachers.
A team of five masters students from Carnegie Mellon University partnered with BloomBoard to envision a product to support educator learning in an online community setting. We embarked on a strongly user-driven end-to-end research, design, and development process which has culminated in the creation of BloomBoard Collaborate, a tool that aids teachers in building and creating transformative professional learning communities (PLCs) in a digital environment.
In order to make sense of and find patterns of behavior in our interview data, we modeled our findings using the flow model and cultural models recommended in the contextual design process. To synthesize the content of what teachers shared with us, we used the Elito Method to gather important observations from our interviews and link these observations to key insights, design concepts, literature and competitive analysis findings. After collecting over 200 key observations, we used affinity diagramming to cluster them and search for emergent themes. These insights drove the creation of eight initial design ideas, which were iteratively refined in collaboration with our client and evaluated with users.
We collected feedback on our design from both users and experts in a variety of forms. In our user tests, we adhered to the methodologies described in contextual design (Beyer and Holtzblatt, 1988) which recommend grounding the evaluation session by giving the user a series of concrete tasks to complete. Rather than coaching the user as to how they should use the tool to complete these tasks, we solicited user interpretations and expectations regarding interface behaviors, and allowed them to freely make “mistakes.” In this manner, we identified problem areas in our interface, as well as opportunities to expand or improve its functionality. In addition to conducting numerous tests with individuals, we also sought to evaluate the synchronous video chat component with small groups of teachers.
We are METALS Prime, the members of the first graduating class from the METALS program at CMU. We bring a rich variety of backgrounds and skills to this project, which have enhanced our experience and the product we’ve designed. Let us introduce ourselves...