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In preparation for the group presentations ins session 6 and 7 I shared a presentation and feedback template:

Guest Speakers:

Session 6 started out with a guest speaker:

Laurie Underwood shared wonderful, actionable advice on how to become a better presenter. After brainstorming what can go wrong between sender and receiver of a communication message (e.g., language barriers, technical connection, culture, interest, mood) she walked us through ‘golden rules’ of communication. Remember the ‘MAC Oral Presentation Structure’ and the useful tips and tricks of practicing your first minutes with a friend by recording to your phone.

Lesley-Ann Noel shared her tremendous expertise in critical design thinking in astoundingly short time. An important concept in her work is positionality (worksheet screenshot attached). She encouraged everyone to think beyond the rigid design thinking models, and instead cook up your own design ‘curry’. I have been thinking quite a bit about the positionality worksheet as a tool for research design, and also about creating teams who are comfortable sharing their personal background.

Group Rainbow presented their design thinking journey and prototype. I was so impressed with the deep thought that went into your development work. I have a few suggestions to take this idea to the next level: Reach out to Khan Academy, this is a US-based non-profit that has created hundreds of hours of free learning material that is currently chiefly aligned with US-common core and offered in English language. They might be interested in adapting their material for Afghan students by doing translations, and also offer it in an app that students can use offline. Another partner could be Outschool ( Again, here the market is the US, but they might have advice, encouragement or interest in working in Afghanistan. Here is the greatest strength of your idea from my perspective:

(1) While there are many teaching and learning apps, I absolutely think it is wonderful and unique that you want to connect ‘serious’ topics such as language learning with artistic expression through drawing and music. Oftentimes in apps there are games and animations but they are apart from the lesson as a reward in the end, but not integrated. The idea(s) for getting students active off-screen are wonderful.

(2) You understand and know first-hand the culture, language and identities of the young elementary learners that you are targeting as well as their parents.

(3) I love the name ‘Rainbow’ as a way to create connections.

For your prototype, please don’t get hung up on creating something that is a functional app at this stage. A prototype is just that, it give people an idea what your product might look and feel and function like.

My only criticism – don’t use generic ‘Google’ as a source for learning material and don’t plan on copying / downloading assets without copyright clearance – that why you want to work with material that have an open license for reuse (Creative Commons).

Group Chamber of Secrets presented their design thinking journey.

Their wicked problem is the lack of educational access due to the cultural and the resource barriers in Afghanistan. Informal learning is key and parents are the key partners that this group wants to tap into (‘Tiger Dad’). Resources that work offline, worksheets, games, things that are easy to do. Many ideas evolved around community awareness and support. New legislation that restricts civic rights (e.g., potential smartphone ban for women) will make work in this space both more urgent and more difficult. I SO look forward to seeing your prototype Saturday.

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