19: Reflective Research Process





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Reflective Research Process:
  • Formulate a specific question: What do I want or need to know?
  • Collect and document data: How will I find out?
  • Discuss and analyze data: What did I find? What does it mean?
  • Take action: What will I do as a result of my findings?
  • Reflect and evaluate: What did I learn?

Teachers gather a lot of data due to grading expectations.  Since a lot of time is spent gathering and analyzing this data, this time can be used efficiently if grading is also used to answer questions that can be use to improve student learning.  Also, using a reflective research process can be used to test and revise new projects and new lesson plan designs.

Preparation Steps
  • Identify a question worth asking and that can be answered by gathering data
  • Decide what data can be gathered to simultaneously serve as formative assessment and as research data sources
  • Recruit data partner(s) who can help you make sense of your data interpretations
Early Implementation Steps
  • Gather and interpret data.
  • Share interpretations with data partner and see if they can see the plausibility in your interpretations and notice other connections
  • Make lesson plan or project revisions in response to lessons learned
  • Generalize lessons learned so they can be applied to future projects and lesson plans
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Include students as data sounding boards
  • Ask and investigate questions that develop more empathy for students and deeper understanding for how they learn
  • Integrate reflective research process with human centered design process
  • Use reflective research process to evaluate classroom systems and routines and improve them



11: Human-Centered Design (HCD)





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  • What is Human-Centered Design? design process + empathy
  • The Design Process Phases:
    • Inspiration: How do I ask questions and stay human-centered? What key constraints can I use to set benchmarks and objectives? How can I balance concrete constraints while staying open to exploration? What research studies can I conduct to identify what my clients truly need?
    • Ideation: How to I interpret what I’ve learned in order to develop concrete ideas and prototypes? How can I keep my mind open to generate many ideas?  How can I evaluate ideas to determine best solutions?
    • Implementation: How can I develop sustainable solutions?  How can I assess whether or not solutions are working? How can I use prototypes to reveal unforeseen consequences and constraints?
  • Design Process Implementation:
    • Phases often overlap
    • Cycling between convergent and divergent thinking is normal
    • Find solutions that relate to needs of community
    • Postive deviance – use positive outliners for inspiration
    • Do not forget to consider distribution systems while designing sustainable solutions
  • Mindsets of a Human-Centered Designer:
    • Learn from failure
    • Make it – tangibility is good
    • Creative confidence – everyone has ideas and the power to implement them
    • Empathy – clients are roadmaps to innovative solutions
    • Embrace ambiguity – not knowing creates opportunities to explore
    • Be optimistic – the solution exists
    • Iterate often – use feedback to revise often



Human-centered design (HCD) is an approach that can be used to develop projects that engage students AND teach content & 21st Century skills.  This approach is also a problem solving model that can be scaffolded for students to develop better products.  The HCD phases can be used to organize projects into phases – especially projects aimed at designing products for specific clients.  The mindsets of a human-centered designer can be cultivated within teachers and students in order to make them better problem solvers.

Preparation Steps
  • HCD Applied to Designing & Implementing Projects:
    • Use multiple data sources to identify needs of students
    • Use needs of students to develop criteria/constraints for evaluation of project design
    • Design assessments based on student needs for assessing success of project activities
    • Develop ideas based on constraints for scaffolding content and 21st century skills
  • HCD Applied to Developing Project Scaffolding:
    • Develop scaffolding ideas and empathy by going through HCD cycle first – can apply it to designing and implementing a project
    • Research methods for teaching phases of HCD process.  See Design Process articles for ideas.
    • Develop activities and tools that scaffold student application of HCD phases.  See Design Process articles for ideas.
    • Design activities and tools that focus on HCD mindset(s) that will be honed and applied in upcoming project
    • Develop assessments for determining whether or not students are successfully learning content and applying HCD steps
Early Implementation Steps
  • HCD Applied to Designing & Implementing Projects:
    • Implement project and use assessments and constraints to measure success of project and make adjustments as needed
    • Use student input throughout the project to assess project effectiveness and to fine tune project
  • HCD Applied to Developing Project Scaffolding:
    • Implement scaffolding tools and activities that guide students to apply HCD processes
    • Use assessments to determine if HCD is helping students develop better understandings and better products
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • HCD Applied to Designing & Implementing Projects:
    • Uses experiences from implementing HCD to design scaffolding that helps students apply HCD
    • Reuse effective HCD practices to design other projects
  • HCD Applied to Developing Project Scaffolding:
    • Use student input to refine HCD tools and processes
    • Use programs such as Ignite by DiscoverSTEAM to connect students with corporate clients to make HCD applications more relevant
    • Develop routines that give students opportunities to deliberately practice HCD steps