Innovating the Toolkit

At InnovateK12 we are used to courageous leadership.

We are used to innovative thinking.

So we weren't surprised when Laura Moore, Instructional Leader in the Research & Design Lab at Upper Arlington High School, inquired about a creative way to use the InnovateK12 Toolkit.

Upper Arlington City Schools had already run their high school staff innovation event, "The Idea Hunt", in the fall and so I was intrigued, and excited to work closely with the UA team again.

Laura wrote in her email to us:

"Another idea emerged yesterday. As you know, we are building a new high school. With that comes the process of selecting furniture. Our architects met with Andrew [Principal, Upper Arlington High School] and our central office staff, and brainstormed ideas about how to elevate student voice in the selection of furniture. They suggested doing a visioning activity with our student innovation team. Because of how supportive Andrew is of the InnovateK12 Toolkit, he threw out the consideration of putting the student innovation team recommendations into a pairwise event that would be open to 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grade students. It was an entirely new approach, but they supported it, so I wanted to reach out and get your thoughts."

One thing I really love about InnovateK12, is that we get to try new things all the time.

This was Eric's response:

We quickly replied to Laura that we love their thinking and would be happy to tweak the InnovateK12 Toolkit to meet their innovative request. The turn-around time was quick but while a typical event includes a submission phase where participants enter their own ideas, we would pre-load all of the furniture options into this "Furniture Hunt". Then, once students logged in, they would only see a voting phase.

This was easy enough and seemed to be a great way to elevate student voice in the design of their learning environment.

Imagine this:

The voting event included two categories of furniture:

And when students logged in, this is what they saw:

Ultimately, this unique, quick turn-around event became a high engagement event.

Two Week Pairwise Voting Event

775 NEW Student Participants in Grades 7-10

71 Furniture Images Uploaded to Event

26,257 Pairwise Votes Cast

The results were fun to see. I love that the three last place items look like our schools today.

And finally, check out the top furniture from each category:

Kudos to Upper Arlington City Schools, Andrew Theado, and Laura Moore for advocating for student voice (#stuvoice) and thinking creatively on how to get as many students involved in the feedback process as possible. Your new high school is going to be beautiful and the students will feel immediate ownership of the space.