Final Semester Reflection

Above is my final reflection for idiploma this year. Below I have some pictures of the project that we took on. Including an infographic that I designed to reach out to our users.



Me leading an interview


Carpool in action at the Upper School


Reaching out to the Community #reMoVe10

This week my team and I has focused on reaching out to parents so we can start doing empathy interviews and test prototypes with groups of families.  Along with this we have updated our comprehensive plan and our maps to graph MARTA stops and bus routes. A big conclusion that updating this map has led us to is that (1) bus routes and some of the MARTA information is hard get your hand on (2) the public transportation system is not ideal for Mount Vernon families who don’t live close to the stops. While the possibility is not off the table it doesn’t seem likely that Mount Vernon families would see the value in switching from driving to taking public transportation.

We reached out to those parents through an infographic(attached below). My job this week was to work on it to make sure we are sending out our best work to the parents. This was our one shot to get their support something we need in order to help make our goal a reality. They are at the center of our project we are designing for them. One of the things we talked about is the best way to convey the information we have, and how to arrange it to have the biggest impact on the people we are presenting it to. The infographic was one of the ways we did that, so we had to make sure the data we had of the infographic would be meaningful enough for our audience. remove10-infographic

Sandy Springs Traffic Project

My idiploma team and I recently took on a project to help reduce the amount of cars our school puts on the streets. Our goal is to reduce the cars we put on the street by at least ten percent. We hope that our plan can be applied to other school in the area to help reduce traffic in the city of Sandy Springs. We are working closely with the city of Sandy Springs to help minimize the growing number of cars that drive on their streets. Two weeks ago we were we had our first meeting with our partners. We spent the days leading up to it scrambling to get ready for the big meeting; feeling the pressure to impress them. When it came time for our meeting we went in their a little nervous and somewhat prepared. We showed them the data we had collected so far and our plans for the future. By the end of the meeting they were very impressed and gave us great feedback. We had proved to them and ourselves that though we were just a bunch of high schoolers we could still take on a project like this. After the meeting we proudly shared a round of high fives for the great work we had done. Inspired to continue to do the great work we had done for the meeting.

Outdoor Classroom

This year to start of idiploma we took on a design brief on the use of the outdoor spaces within Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. Idiploma is a course offered by my school where a group of students and I learn about being innovators and take on tasks in order to improve the community around us. In our first two weeks of my second year of the course we took on  project about bringing more traffic into our outdoor classrooms and showing our Mount Vernon Community the importance of using the outdoor spaces to improve learning.  

By the end of the week the idiploma team created various prototypes to solve different problems ranging from the absence of desk space to the lack of knowledge about the outdoor spaces we have on campus. We even made the area more colorful and inviting to everyone who happens to pass by.

Along with this to help improve traffic and spurr our mustangs(School Mascot) to get outside we put us message around the school.

These things and a couple others things we did along with this we hoped help change the mindset that our school has which is that learning only happens indoors. Everything small hack we made was to help change the mindset our school has. Success in this project for me would be to get at least a couple of classes to be moved outside into nature. The spaces still need a bit of work if we would like to have all types of classes out there.

Jumping right in

In my first semester at iDiploma I learned a lot and started a recycling company that is hoping to make a big change in our community. Before we went on Christmas break my group ended on a great note, in our last session we interviewed Mr. Jones an entrepreneur who is also working on a recycling project. He helped us figure out more about the role of our business and the direction we should be headed in. It allowed us to define things about our group and to look into the future of our venture. It was great to end on this note, because as soon as we got back from break we hit the ground running.

In a month or so we will unveil the first iteration of our RISE sustainability system. Along with this unveiling we will reveal our business plan and much of the other things we have been working on. Many of these things we have only started this semester. Because we hit the ground running I have no doubt that we will be able to present our system very soon.

IDiploma 7 Question Weekly Reflection

REFLECT: What lessons did my work teach me that I could build upon next week?

One thing I learned in our last couple Idiploma sessions was that my group and I do not have to undertake this project without help. This is a very helpful thing to learn because my group of only four people did not have the resources and the skills to solve every problem that we will face. This is great because with their entire school to lean on we can outsource some of the tasks that we aren’t capable of doing. This will help me in the future with my project because I know that I can go to others to help me solve problems and not just my three other group members who may not be capable of helping me for whatever reason.

FOCUS: Are my short-term efforts and long-term goals still aligned?

At this point in time my group and I have decided to outsource our first cardboard prototype so that we can see the benefits and the weakness’s of the material. While we will delegate this task to another Mount Vernon class my group and I have decided to work on a long term plan to decide how to approach the issue of the lack of recycling at Mount Vernon either by solving the socialistic aspect or eliminating human interaction and allowing the machine or trash can to do all the work for our user. At this point in time we aren’t crossing roads with our long-term plan so that’s something that me and my group need to discuss which way this project is going to go and what aspect of the recycling problem we are going to solve for. As far as the short-term we are mainly trying to figure out the best material for our final product.

Reflection on User Centered Experiment

At the school I am currently attending, Mount Vernon Presbyterian school, I am taking a course on design thinking known as the idiploma, it teaches students the how to be innovators. In this course we’re currently doing design challenge in which our he how might we is how might we make sustainability a part of Mount Vernon’s DNA? In order to do this we have set out one thing in specific: that is improving recycling within our school. In order to do this we have redesigned a school recycling bin that would meet our users needs. Our users have stated that they need to save space and that they need to recycle more. In order to solve these problems we have designed a recycling bin that save space by using vertical space and we have combined their recycling and the trashcan. As for the recycling more, our design of the garbage allows it so that the recycling bin is on top so that people will always think about recycling when coming to put something that might be recyclable in the trash. We have also found that a problem with recycling is that no one knows what to put into the recycling bin, that is why we have put a poster above the trash can to make sure everyone knows what they can and cannot recycle. Last week we implemented this recycling bin into one of the classrooms in order to monitor the use and the reaction that people had to our new recycling bin. I noticed that this bin has not only been successful because before the classroom did not have recycling bins, but it also seems to be working and making more people recycle. This can be seen by the censor we set up that allows us to count every time a person opens the recycling bin. So far it looks to me that this is experiment has been very successful because the recycling minutes opened many times and it is fuller and saw the recycling bins in the upper school campus. Although nothing I can see is wrong with the prototype now, I feel like that’s going to change because we have yet to interview the custodial staff in the recycling bin has only been there in use for two days. Once these problems become noticeable we’ll have to start working on my second prototype in order to improve the recycling experience. This is a picture of our prototype below


Reflection on Design Challenge so far

Last Thursday me and my design challenge group presented our prototype and our solution that would help make sustainability a part of our schools DNA, and that also met the needs for our user. Our solution to this was to improve recycling by redesigning the recycling bin. After this presentation me and my group got a lot of much needed feedback through the I think, I feel, I wonder, feedback system. This was very helpful for me and my team because it helped us Think about some of the problems we need to fix with both our prototype and are solution. Throughout this whole challenge I’ve learned a lot about the design thinking process, and how it can be implemented and used to come up with a viable and helpful solution. Other than this I have learned a lot of facts and reasons why are solution should be implemented in the school. Looking at the whole picture this project has helped me find out what idiploma is all about and I am glad I was able to take on this challenge and find out what I’m going to be doing for the next two years in the idiploma course. In response to the second prompt, I realized I have already mentioned this in one of my blog posts yet I want to reiterate how this moment really helps me get a grasp on what design thinking is all about, My ah-ha moment in this design challenge was in the first day when we got our project and we went to look at the malnourished garden that none of us had really noticed until then my first sought after looking at that garden was ” we need to fix this garden”, yet this is not what the design thinking processes about, the Design thinking process help us come up with the solution mainly for our user. After being introduced to the design thinking process I realized that thankfully we were not going to solve this problem with the first thing that popped into my mind we are actually going to use this problem as a stepping stool for other problems need to be solved within the school, because in the end the school really didn’t need a garden. Thanks to design thinking we were able to come up with a solution that not only have something to do with our design challenge but will be improving the lives of our users which is what innovation is really all about.

Meeting the Users Needs

So far our design challenge team has interviewed three l users, but there more to come to ensure that we meet our users needs at every level. In the end it all boils down to the user, the design thinking process ensures that we meet the needs of several users so that our product is needed and will be used. That is one of the core differences when comparing design thinking as opposed to just designing, You have to make sure it serves a purpose or else it’s a useless in the eyes of your consumer and no user. This is why Tim Brown says design thinking is coming back is imperative that you listen to the user and make sure their needs are met, this is one of the most important aspects of design thinking because it’s not justI designing for the sake of designing, It ensures that the product will be used and is needed in the community(it will serve a purpose). That is why in our design challenge we are “thinking big” and making sure that the needs of our users needs are met and the solution we come up serves a purpose and acts as a valuable part of our community.