“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” By Bill Gates
Why Use Focus Groups?
Focus groups are a great way to gain consensus or to use for improvement from different stakeholders such as teachers, students and/or parents. Having a set protocol will help the time you are holding the focus group be intentional based on what you are trying to gather feedback on for improvement.
For example in my classroom, I ran focus groups on obtaining different feedback from projects to overall class structure. With teachers, I ran focus groups to improve professional development by gaining their insights. With schools from my district I ran a focus group to gather feedback on an initiative to see how I could improve it.
|Before The Focus Group
- Outline goal
- Determine questions* and time limit
- Define roles:
- Note Taker/Timer
- Decide on space:
- comfortable and circle setting
- Invite participants to the focus group
|During The Focus Group
- Take attendance of who is participating
- This can be anonymous such as 6 boys and 5 girls.
- Review guidelines and moderate the session so that everyone gets a chance to speak and no one participant dominates the discussion.**
|After The Focus Group
- Compile all focus group data (if you hold multiple sessions)
- Review the notes as soon as possible and fill in any gaps while the session is still clear in your mind.
- Report out findings***
*When generating questions make sure:
- They are open-ended and not “yes/no”
- They are short and to the point
- Max of 10 questions, 5-8 is ideal
- You should have an opening question and exit question
**Script for Facilitator:
Welcome everyone, our topic is…. The results will be used for…
- No right or wrong answers
- one person speaking at a time as we are recording your answers anonymously
- You don’t need to agree with others, but you must listen respectfully as others share their views
- As Facilitator I will help guide the discussion
Examples to help participants expand ideas/thoughts….
- “Please tell me (more) about that…”?
- “Could you explain what you mean by…”?
- “Can you tell me something else about…”?
- “Could you give me an example of …”?
***Report out findings:
- Populate exact statements of the participants
- Descriptive summary
- In order to have valid data, you need to have at least a few focus groups with the same questions being asked
“I like the challenge of trying different things and wondering whether it’s going to work or whether I’m going to fall flat on my face.” By Johnny Depp
On Friday all three major networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, aired a live show called Think It Up. (If you missed it, watch it. It gave me chills and hope that we are moving in the right direction) Think It Up inspires public school students in grades 7-12 to pursue their passions through student-powered, teacher-led learning projects. They have partnered with donors choose and others such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to help support educators and change classrooms. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. To get started with Think It Up Educators go to thinkitup.org/getstarted
Other great opportunities to bring to the classroom that Think It Up referred to are below:
Just Keep Livin
*ICYMI = In Case You Missed It – They also featured this video that has been popular on YouTube called Teaching Center
More than 60% of the jobs of the future don’t even exist yet…are you preparing your students for your world or theirs?
“It’s no longer enough simply to outperform the competition; to thrive in a world of ceaseless and rapid change, business people have to out-imagine the competition as well. They must begin to think-to become-more like designers.” by Roger Martin
Design challenges uses the design thinking process to find a solution to a challenge. Design thinking takes on a problem solving mindset. Design challenges create real world opportunities for students be innovative and creative while using their higher order thinking and 21st century learning skills. Design thinking and challenges provides a student centric learning experience to happen in the classroom. Below is the design process that Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (all rights reserved) uses:
Design Challenge Ideas for the Classroom:
- How might we create ways for younger students to better understand how important digital citizenship is?
- Create an app that would help you solve a problem you encounter daily?
- Knex: Design Challenge
- Design a clothing product that allows for heating and cooling of materials for different sports. (Example of standards based Design Challenge – Science: 5.P.3)
Other resources on Design Thinking and Challenges:
Museum of Science, Boston Design Challenges
Design Challenge Lessons from The Tech Museum: Museum of Innovation
A Design Challenge to Students: Solve a Real-World Problem!
Design Squad – PBS (Great for 3-8th graders)
Real World Design Challenges (HS Level)
Threadless Design Challenge – Real world application
K12 Lab Wiki for Design Challenges
Design Thinking for Educators
IDEO Design Thinking
Great article by Forbes: Design Thinking: A Unified Framework for Innovation
I would love to hear design thinking and challenges ideas from your classrooms.