How might we create student-driven lessons?
Standard curriculum is from the top down, often mandated by the government, and often does not leave space for students to ask questions that may lead to exploratory tangents. Students are left with questions that, if left unaddressed, could prevent the development off critical skills, whether it be socially, emotionally, or academically. How might we incorporate fundamental student questions into lesson development?
Design Research, UX Design, Brand Development | Jan - May 2017
A student-driven platform for course ideas
You can guess at what students want to learn, or you can let them tell you. Cue+A is a design project from my Master's Thesis on education, Playing with Firebrands.
No time for questions
In a typical school curriculum, teachers are focused on covering specific content, which often means there isn't time to address questions that are not directly related to the material. Students may have unanswered questions about topics that are important or relevant to their daily lives, that their immediate social circle may not know either.
At the same time, teachers are constantly looking for ways to engage students, where some of the top suggestions include using students' interests and fascinations. Furthermore, educational companies such as Scholastic provide free resources to teachers, such as student interest surveys, to gauge areas of interest as a tool for classroom engagement.
Flipping the script
Cue+A is a web-based platform that takes the premise of student engagement surveys into a Q&A-type forum. Students can propose classes based on questions they have, and receive video tutorials, stories, or explanations from experts in response.
Teachers also have the opportunity to see what topics are trending within their classes to incorporate student interests and questions into their lesson plans and teaching. Cue+A supports teachers by providing video content and lessons of it's own on storytelling, developing a point of view, as well as video making, to help educators develop their own unique teaching style and voice.
initial proof of concept
Tutorials for video tutorials
Instructors need resources too. That's why Cue+A provides video tutorials of it's own, helping to lower the barrier to entry for new instructors. In addition to the basics of shooting and editing, Cue+A works with experts in storytelling, vocal coaching, and POV for tutorials that have a little extra flavor. As a preliminary test for Cue+A, a created a course proposal for a question: How do you create a video using basic equipment?, and reached out to Michael Chung, an independent filmmaker, photographer, and video storytelling instructor.
user testing and prototyping
Course proposal form
Using Google forms, I generated a course proposal form based on the type of information I believed was necessary for an instructor to create a lesson. The form was completed by a second grader, Quinn, who falls under one of the age extremes for users. The idea was to see how the form needed to be modified in order to guide the process for the youngest users, which would in turn benefit all users.
Proposal and response
"Because writing makes me happy"
Quinn proposed a course called "writing wonderful stories," because she wanted to get ideas for how to write a book. I reached out to journalist and author, Rob Walker, who agreed to make a video in response, as well as provide feedback on the process. Rob mentioned that one of the questions he gets asked most frequently is how to come up with ideas, and made the video below to share his tips and tricks on the subject.
Based on research and user testing, final deliverables included branding and screen mock-ups.
While the video content on Cue+A may be similar to websites such a udemy, the key differentiating factor remains that instructors are essentially pitching to students to take their courses, rather than a bottom-up approach. Additionally, udemy, coursea, and edX target an older demographic of college students or working professionals. Cue+A is branded to appeal to a younger demographic, and to compete more closely with sites such as Buzzfeed or MTV.