A reflection on field research for KeyUp

I embarked on a career change last August after teaching high school math for almost 15 years. After doing extensive research during the academic year 2016–17, I decided I would attend Austin Center for Design (AC4D) in 2017–18 to get certified as an interaction designer and social entrepreneur. With what felt like false confidence, I exchanged the certainty of a regular paycheck, a pension, and excellent health insurance for uncertainty, ambiguity and risk. Through my education at AC4D my peers and mentors observed how I dealt with overwhelming anxiety and insecurity. …


How might teachers find value in Microsoft’s Inclusive Design toolkit

At the end of a 72-hour race to complete the Student Design Challenge (SDC) hosted by Microsoft at IxDA this year, I was prompted to think about how my experience could not only benefit future designers, but also public school teachers. The challenge was to design an interactive way to teach rhythm to a student with a mobile impairment disability using Microsoft’s Inclusive Design toolkit. I was placed on a team of students I had never met before and we were tasked with creating a 3-minute pitch in the form of a video. After our final presentation, Ashley Walls, the…


Teachers are designers. I was a public school teacher for over a decade and am almost finished with a graduate certificate in Interaction Design at the Austin Center for Design. To me, this is an unequivocal statement. Every day, teachers make intentional decisions about how to respond to their class’ needs through intended (and unintended) manipulations of:

  • space (walls, furniture, student choreography)
  • text (protocols, graphics, posters, adaptations of textbooks)
  • connections (through time, content, qualitative and quantitative data)
  • interactions (student-to-student, student-to-class, and student-to-teacher).

This list is not exhaustive but does indicate the breadth of the materials that teachers design.

Reflective teachers are designers. Designers are reflective teachers.

Applying design…


My experience developing new products for teachers

As a high school math educator and teacher trainer over the last decade, I designed curriculum to build healthy, collaborative ecosystems. I believe that focusing on facilitating intentional student-to-student and student-to-teacher interactions through group work is a foundational piece to any democratic classroom. My designs were founded on a practical philosophy and research-driven community called Complex Instruction. If you would like to learn more about complex instruction and how it informed my curriculum design, please get in touch. …


`“A basic human right is for people to be protected from being measured along vertical lines that claim to be universal.” — Munir Fasheh, Arab Education Forum, Palestine

I will label the 2014–15 school year as THE one in which I came out of the designer’s closet. I have been a public high school math teacher since 2004. I have also been the head of my school’s math department and College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) teacher trainer leader since 2008. And it wasn’t until 2014 when I finally got to feel like I was able to design curriculum that fully reflected…


A meditation on different kinds of curiosities

Which image might inspire more wonder?

Adam Chasen

Interaction designer, social entrepreneur, co-founder and educator

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