Noam
Noam
Apr 30, 2018 · 5 min read

We’ve started organising Mentor Meetups. We plan to run one a month. We did one in March and one in April, both at Bethnal Green Ventures.

We have a Design Club Meetup page. It’s currently private, mostly made up of designers who have mentored with us or expressed interest in mentoring.

The Meetups are for

  1. Supporting mentors
  2. Meeting and socialising
  3. Developing Design Club

The March Meetup

We formed three small groups and explored three questions:

  1. How might we engage returners?
  2. How might we capture feedback?
  3. Who should Design Club be for?

1. How might we engage returners?

Background: We’ve been running Design Club tracks at CoderDojos for a few months now. Our materials are engaging for one or two sessions, but they don’t currently take children on a longer, deeper journey.

Notes from this exploration

  • Create pathways to enable children to go on and build something
  • Consider a longer project, lasting a number of CoderDojo sessions
  • Consider a range of projects, going from beginner to advanced
  • Provide rewards as children progress though projects
  • Regular “challenges” for children to submit their projects against
  • Turn children into “mini mentors”

Outcomes

  • We’re developing concepts to allow children to submit their projects and have them showcased in some way.
  • We’re planning to develop 10 hours of content to pilot at after school clubs in September and January.

2. How might we capture feedback?

This is about impact. We know our sessions are fun and engaging for children. They frequently return and we see they’re engrossed in the activity.

We have a form children complete at the end of a session, but we feel it’s too leading. It doesn’t tell us what a child goes away with and understands.

Notes from this exploration

  • How do we know if an activity is working and/or has the desired effect?
  • In what ways can we test what a child has understood?

Outcomes

  • Explore this question further (which we did in our April Meetup, below).

3. Who should Design Club be for?

Design Club has been for all children aged 9–14, from diverse backgrounds. We haven’t targeted children by gender or economic background. Should we?

Notes from this exploration

  • Currently mentor a good mix of boys and girls
  • How do we be more diverse?
  • Could Design Club help solve community problems?
  • How do we expand our reach?
  • Embed in pre-existing clubs (Brownies, dance, football)
  • Should we be for children from low-income families?

Outcomes

  • Regularly checking where we are delivering, to ensure a diverse mix of children experience Design Club.
  • Map out possible delivery partners and strategically working with partners (and in areas) to ensure we deliver to a mix of children.

The April Meetup

We explored two things at this meetup:

  1. Introducing activities — collecting up ideas for how mentor could introduce and guide children through activities within a project
  2. Evaluation — we explored ways to gauge what kids are getting from Design Club (this is linked to question 2 about impact from our March Meetup)

1. Introducing activities

We worked in pairs and discussed different methods for introducing and guiding children. See the images below. The pink Post-its denote things we might say to guide children. These could be prompts or questions we might ask. The orange Post-its denote things we could encourage children to do.

Lots of good ideas came from this activity. Discussing and sharing ideas with other mentors felt worthwhile. It’s a good way to do reflection and training.

Outcomes

  • Integrate the ideas into our mentor delivery notes and resources.
  • Develop concepts for training methods involving reflecting and sharing ideas with other mentors, and ideally including people from education.

2. Evaluation

We discussed this as a group. We talked about different ways to assess how well a child has understood the material and the activities. For example, either through (1) self-assessment and feedback, (2) conversation, or (3) observation (from mentors).

We wanted to gauge how mentors felt about evaluation, and how we might ask children questions to assess their understanding of the design process. For example, before children start designing, ask them: “how do think you might design an app?” — and then at the end of the session, ask how they might go about designing their next app, to see what they’ve picked up.

There was some scepticism about how much a child (or even an adult) can really take in and remember after one or two sessions.

Outcomes

  • Develop a simple, conversation–based method for evaluating how well a child has understood the things they’re doing.
  • Develop ways to record the information.

Thank you

Thanks Niki and Jemima for helping to organise and run the meetups.

Thanks Rachel, Steve, Tom, Jonathan, Clément, Carine, Sophie and David for your contributions at the meetups :)


Design Club

Design thinking workshops for children, from after school clubs to pop-up workshops. We’re a social enterprise and not-for-profit. Join us.

Noam

Written by

Noam

Co-founded @mintdigital. Service design @appsforgood. Creating @designclub http://www.designclub.org.uk.

Design Club

Design thinking workshops for children, from after school clubs to pop-up workshops. We’re a social enterprise and not-for-profit. Join us.

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