school lab

School Lab Interns Hack Diagrams


A few weeks back our School Lab User Researchers were visited by an old Studio friend, artist Judith Leemann. As a professor at Mass Art, she'd found that her students were better able to talk about their art-making process if they didn't actually have to talk about it. Rather she offered them a unique variety of diagrams and invited them to "hack into" them to use them to describe their work. Hearing about their success, we decided to do the same with our School Lab project. Judie came in and invited our interns to hack into some unusual diagrams and use them to describe the physical, social and temporal elements of their school hallways. Below is some of their work!

Like Judith's Mass Art students, our interns found that this strange task helped them get at some of their views of hallway life in a new way, from the challenges of hallway flow (and their tendency to blame the students in their way vs. the hallway as a flawed system) to the sturdiness of social life and romance as part of every 5 minute class-switchover!

Thanks Judith!

DS4SI's School Lab Youth User-Research Begins

School Lab is a design research project and an interactive installation.

It investigates ways everyday school objects, rituals and settings shape students’ experience of school. We want our youth-led research to:

  • surface less explored ways of thinking about what makes school “school” for students
  • function as a fresh way to speculate about school change and improvement
  • support the capacity of students and youth organizers to imagine the kinds of schools they want, even as they engage in struggles to keep the schools they need

Last week we hired 8 fabulous youth interns from the Boston Public Schools to do our user-research with us. To get a sense of what we were talking about, we invited them to think about the chairs in their schools and sketch some ideas of what could make them better.  Ideas included ways chairs could be more comfortable, work better for holding backpacks, help keep students awake and even help keep students comfortable in the hot and cold temperatures of some of our old school buildings. Here are a couple examples..

Next up..sketches and observations from school hallways... Stay tuned!