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Project Background

A design charrette is a highly collaborative, structured engagement that brings teams of experts together to work in a short, concentrated burst on a specific challenge. For this design charette, Brooklyn LAB Charter School has teamed up with various educational partners to publish a resource regarding creating stronger school culture and educational communities after COVID-19. 

The Challenge

Collaborate and design with an educational expert to bring their proposal to life by developing a presentation ready for publication.

Details

Freelance Design Intern for Dezudio 

Client: Brooklyn

Charter School

Role

Tools

Time

Consulting

Communication Design
Visual Design

Illustrations

Illustrator

Procreate

Figma

3 weeks

The Outcome

Building Culture Back Better Guide is an actionable resource for schools across the country to generate and modify relevant, evidence-based solutions to longstanding challenges in education that have been amplified by the pandemic. 

Working with PD expert Dave Stuart Jr., we had developed the following document regarding five key beliefs to inspire motivation in students and creating a healthy classroom culture for them to thrive and flourish in. The following are selected slides from the document.

The entire Brooklyn LAB Charter School resource can be found below:

Design Process

Each designer on the Dezudio team was paired with a partner as a consultant to draft up ideas, sketches, and assist them in publishing their piece. The process started with the partner providing their own initial research and presenting their work for feedback to Brooklyn LAB. Afterwards, Dezudio and its interns would facilitate and design frameworks and diagrams to help communicate and shape their ideas into a finished deliverable. This was a two week process.

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Finally during the last week, the presentations were stylized and ready for publication.

Inital Presentation + Development

Brooklyn LAB started off the design charette by asking all of the partners the following question:

What are the most impactful things schools can do to meet the unique and diverse needs of our students and create a thriving culture as they return to school during the 2021–22 school year?

For two weeks, I had the pleasure of working with Dave Stuart Jr.a high school teacher, writer, and professional development specialist. In our first meeting, he expressed his approach verbally over a simple presentation. Taking in his ideas and then discussing further, we would come up with a visual methodology to best relay his proposal in creating a thriving student culture for 2021-2022 school year.

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The Approach

Dave had focused his approach on building healthy school culture through teachers focusing on five key beliefs and student motivation in their classrooms.

"The biggest thing you have to solve when trying to impact schools is people. You cannot change schools without changing people, because schools are people-intensive. "
- Dave Stuart Jr.

He claimed that if teachers could tap into these five beliefs, it would be the key to understand student motivation and keep classroom lively and well.

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The 5 Key Beliefs

The five key beliefs existed in each student and teachers had to tap into each specific one to instill a belief. They are also dependent on one other for students to stay motivated in the classroom. To express this idea and beliefs, we explored metaphors and concepts that would accompany his presentation.

The Five Key Beliefs
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Eventually, we settled in on the pyramid because we liked the idea of an individual climbing the mountain to reach the said goal: a classroom culture that accompanies students with all diverse backgrounds and needs. Once this structure approved by both Dave and the BK team, it was stylized into the following:

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The beliefs then could be split into individual slides to explained in detail. Dave had also specified that these five beliefs existed on a spectrum, from belief to questioning to fear and to unbelief. We wanted to display this with examples of each value so teachers could pinpoint what phase a student existed in currently.

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From the Classroom to School

To wrap up, Dave had thoughts on how this approach could eventually lead to a change in school culture. It started at the individual level and would slowly affect other students and teachers, leading to more classrooms and eventually schools. To visualize this influence, we thought about a hive mentality, especially with how one student could affect one another until the classroom was filled with motivation.

Primary Sketches
Finished Diagram
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The Finished Product

Finally once the framework and ideas passed through two rounds of feedback, the booklet was passed to Dezudio to create a consistent style across all educational collaborators and then published by Brooklyn LAB. The following images are the result of Dave's piece.

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Dave's piece was only one of many collaborators and it was great to see the various approaches to this prompt. Towards the end of the process, Dezudio and its team worked on uniting all of the collaborators into the final piece, shown on the right.

Reflection

For this project, the three-week timeline was a whirlwind but because of these time constraints, it played a role in generating ideas and moving forward with decisions quickly. As a freelancer for Dezudio, I got the chance to take the design lead for several collaborators and also participate in conversations tackling present-day issues like inclusivity and the impact of COVID-19 in the school spectre.

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Joint Collaboration

It was enjoyable to work with various educational experts like Dave over the three weeks. I got the chance to learn from their knowledge and perspective. This in turn, widened my understanding of education, especially leading and running classrooms.

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Visual Communication

When coming up with sketches, the importance of design principles and terminology such as visual hierarchy and contrast was valuable. By employing these principles, it was easier to verbally communicate to a client why some designs worked better than others.