This interdisciplinary project was a unique one. The teachers gathered us freshmen together into groups of four or five students, and tasked us with designing our new school. I have never done an all grade project, so it was interesting to see that they trusted a bunch of freshman to design a new school, potentially our new school. Each group did an overall school design, and one specific design. Throughout our process, we were told to come up with a problem statement that we could focus on and make our main mission. My group’s mission statement was: How might we design a school that will accommodate to future students, but also leave a legacy of Animas’s past students. During the project, we worked towards that one problem statement, and ended up with a product we were all proud of and could present to the rest of the school. Throughout this project, we all learned something new. I myself learned about the importance of the human-centered design process. In this project, we had to be compatible with other people that we were grouped with, and we had to be efficient. We did a lot of prototyping, and got a lot of feedback. We then had to learn how to take that feedback and apply it without completely throwing away our first idea. As humans, we tend to overthink, and to not take our time with things. In this project, we definitely had to take our time; especially with the final product. With the final product, we had to work a lot on photoshop. We made every little detail as we wanted it, and it definitely took patience. I learned that you have to go slow to go fast, as some would say. The more time you take on the little detail, the better your product will be in the end.
The thing that stood out most was how well our group worked together. Whenever we came to a place where we disagreed or didn’t know what to do, we sat down and thought about productive ways we could work through it. We got our tasks done in time, and we bonded well. It was a little difficult some of the time due to the fact that sometimes all of us weren’t at school, but like I said, we figured out a way to work around the problem and get things done. Although we all worked well together, something I would have done differently was I would have figured out a way to distribute the work more evenly. I am naturally a driver and an expressive, so it was very hard for me to work with other drivers. Me being a driver, I have always taken the lead, and I feel like this project has allowed me to step back and let other people help. I have been able to let my expressive side take over. My group and I worked well together when it came to the participatory decision making. We all understood everyone in the group and what they strived for, and we all tried to split the work evenly. It was a little harder at the end because of the fact that the final product was on one computer.
Personally, it is very important for students to have an opinion on the school design. We go to this school, and it is supposed to help us grow educationally and personally, and it’s a little hard to do when you don’t feel comfortable in the building you’re in. We are the people with fresh knowledge on what kids are comfortable with. So why not let us make a school we are comfortable in? We are the voice of the future, as most would say. Our high school education is what leads us into adulthood, and we need to get as much from it as we can. We have a voice, and I think it needs to be heard. Allowing us to design a school is a great start.