Youth-Centered Design Methodology


Published on

A Youth-Centered Design Methodology for Education Technology. SITE 2010. March 3, 2010. San Diego, CA.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • EDC – educational research and development non-profit based just outside of boston, ma. Within EDC, I am responsible for developing a portfolio of youth media and technology projects, that we co-develop with you. In all these NSF funded projects we have worked closely with middle school aged youth in the creation of resources for them. This session will share that participatory design process we go through with youth. I’ll briefly share one share project as an example (MSP). Copies of my paper available xx.
  • 5 STEP process
  • Lit review – research related to project content/topic, on youth participation in TE and data collection with youth, and recent instruments for data collection and measurement with youth. Overall provides a context and framework for the planned work with youth, how best to engage them in both the content and design aspects of the project. Our work combines PD + LC-D + CI (a more recent paradigm for working with young learners to create new technologies) - Online surveys (what) Our largest source of data: types of websites youth are interested in, their preferences for internet use. - FGs (how/why) Offer a more detailed and nuanced exploration of how youth find educational information online as well as a greater explanation of visual and layout preferences for online information/websites.
  • Youth co-design team: heart of this process, where project staff and youth work together for several months to craft a series of prototype designs While process is very youth-centric, each of these phases includes data collection and work with educators – just not the focus of this presentation (offering insight into online resources they most often use with youth, websites used in classroom, their perception of website features and content that engages their students, topics that would be most important to cover and why).
  • Focusing on MSP2 for this presentation – begin with our survey and FG data collection efforts What is MSP2?
  • Parent permission forms, youth consent forms/contracts, photo/video releases
  • Pre - PPTs level of computer knowledge varied but all able to do basic online searching, game playing, messaging, some had experience with creating and posting videos on YT, customizing an interface/page of their own. Not the best at assessing what is a quality site or resource Identifying relevant web site elements (menu, button, icon, link, images, scroll bars, navigation, search functions etc). Develop their vocabulary for critiquing websites, demo and leading the team through this critique Creating mock-ups: Individual paper mock-ups (paper), then groups of 3 in a mixed-idea/combined design (paper & online) Group critique of designs (happening in tandem) to come to final solution – constructive criticism, reinforced what our data told us about ‘good sites’, images, fonts, colors, balance of amt of text, ability to chat with peers, get homework help, organized by grade and subject level, restricted search results. Groups then came together for a single final design (online), subsequent design of a math/science topic page Post – increased interest in technology, ability to identify other, unique ways in which STEM connects with personal lives, gained knowledge and skills such as ability to describe the visual elements and basic structure of a web page, articulate the good/bad of animation, color, text etc.
  • Youth-oriented – allows interactive content, is ‘flashy’, use of animation lots of images, very colorful, easy to navigate, content AND usability Other +ve features – designing something new, clear and organized layout (blocks, colors), control of privacy settings, minimal Ads, use of color, balance text and images, limit introductory information, multiple search options, limited search results, dictionary feature -ve features – too much information, lack of multiple search options, too many search results (, required log-in, links of links (question integrity of other sites)
  • Team building activities, ice breakers – through out Switching of hats of project staff, had to be both most of the time Sometimes problematic that data collection must occur through observation and note taking Constant revision of ‘curriculum’ to accommodate learning challenges and interest of groups, be flexible! PPTs need to believe, see and feel, that their ideas are important (e.g., when web designer visited and critiqued their work)
  • Youth-Centered Design Methodology

    1. 1. Designing digital STEM resources FOR and WITH middle school-aged youth Sarita Pillai Education Development Center, Inc.
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) </li></ul><ul><li>Portfolio of youth media and technology projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National Science Foundation funded projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The FunWorks ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Girls Communicating Career Connections ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Middle School Portal ( </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Process <ul><li>Preliminary Data on Youth: Literature Review </li></ul><ul><li>Guiding Data From Youth and Educators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus Groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Heart of Participatory Design: The Youth Co-Design Team </li></ul><ul><li>Product Creation: The Final Product </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation: Pilot and Field Testing </li></ul>
    4. 4. Process <ul><li>Literature Review </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research, methodologies, instruments, data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content and Design </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Guiding Data From Youth and Educators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Surveys – breadth of data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus Groups – depth of data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4-6 participants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on “how” vs “what” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contextual information missing from survey </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Youth Co-Design Team <ul><li>Learner-centered design principles </li></ul><ul><li>6 - 8 youth, specific populations </li></ul><ul><li>12 - 20 weeks, afterschool setting </li></ul><ul><li>Project-developed curriculum of activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Team building & trust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orientation to project goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities (scaffolded and cummulative) – information gathering and skill building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth as consumers AND producers of content creating new knowledge </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Case Study: MSP2 <ul><li>Middle School Portal 2: Math and Science Pathways (MSP2) for middle grades students and teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Online Survey </li></ul><ul><ul><li>440 middle school youth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>617 middle school educators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Youth and Educator Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5 middle school youth from Boston, MA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6 middle school educators (NSTA) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Categories of data - Science/math topics, favorite websites, technology use, web design preferences, evaluating online information </li></ul>
    7. 7. The Co-Design Team
    8. 8. The Design Team <ul><li>9 students, 13-15 years old, 7 th /8 th grade </li></ul><ul><li>Recruited through a community technology center </li></ul><ul><li>Urban setting – Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Application process </li></ul><ul><li>Participation incentive </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive IRB process – not for the faint of heart! </li></ul>
    9. 9. Design Team Activities <ul><li>Pre-assessment of computer/Web knowledge/skills </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of relevant and engaging Web elements </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of STEM Web site mock-ups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Balsamiq </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Critique of STEM Web site mock-ups </li></ul><ul><li>Post-assessment of computer/Web knowledge/skills </li></ul>
    10. 10. Design Preferences <ul><li>Clear layout, easy to navigate, ‘original’ content </li></ul><ul><li>Use of color, balance between text and images, not childish </li></ul><ul><li>Limited introductory information and text, more interactivity, video </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple search options, limited search results </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to create/add content </li></ul><ul><li>Dictionary feature </li></ul>
    11. 11. Designs
    12. 12. Designs
    13. 13. Process Challenges <ul><li>Session scheduling, communication beyond sessions </li></ul><ul><li>Effective work in groups, trust and incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Memorandums of understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Design partner vs. mentor </li></ul><ul><li>Development of, and revisions to, activities </li></ul><ul><li>The impact of importance - participatory design </li></ul>
    14. 17. Thank you! <ul><li>Sarita Pillai </li></ul><ul><li>Education Development Center, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The FunWorks ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Girls Communicating Career Connections ( </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Middle School Portal ( </li></ul></ul>