DESIGN HIGHLIGHT REEL
CROSS-CULTURAL GENDER GAME
When international volunteers and local staff have problems relating to the gender dynamics of others’ cultures, conversations tend to swing from delicate to aggressive. With Tostan, I designed a game that brought the conversation to the forefront for a short period. Staff and volunteers took turns at rolling dice and choosing cards, to set the actors, place, and situation of a scenario – ‘a younger volunteer / in the market / is called fat‘. They were then asked to place a marker on a spectrum on the floor, from “inappropriate” at one end to “totally appropriate” on the other, and to explain their spectrum placement. In subsequent rounds, their placements were opened to debate and to observations about gender and cultural differences in perceiving certain situations.
What can you do in a low-tech, low-commitment environment to encourage frequent discussion and application of new environments?
With CyberSmart Africa, I designed a “Weekly Challenges” activity. All participating teachers received a weekly ‘challenge’ by SMS, in the form of either a content trivia question, an application activity, a discussion question, or a stretch activity. Teachers earned points for challenges completed, and their teaching teams win periodic prizes.
CLOSED-BID TRUCKER AUCTIONS
Desludging truckers in Dakar, Senegal, have widely varying levels of formal education. A majority are illiterate or semi-literate. Still, I knew they could both understand and participate in an SMS-based bidding system if the training was well-designed!
I simplified concepts like randomization and sealed bids through a combination of visuals (tangible and PowerPoint) and audience-participation demonstrations. Most bidders started participating in the launched auctions only days after the training!
ELECTRONIC POLLING GUIDE FOR HARVARD
I collaborated with the Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) to pilot the use of PollEverywhere live polling software in classrooms. The software's capabilities are diverse and the potential for pedagogical application is high.
After exploring the software, documenting initial use, and observing professors use it in their classrooms, I drafted a guide to introduce users to basic functions and trends in best practices. I then prepared a strategy document outlining the path to encouraging more and better use of this polling technology at the university.
(A more academic reflection on the challenges of experimenting and designing for learning in this setting can be found in my instructional design journal.)