Design Facilitation at Oak Park River Forest High School




This concept originated from a meeting I requested with UX researcher Sammy Levy. I was evaluating my career goals at the time of this meeting. I was interested in Sammy's line of work because she had previously been a guest lecturer in my psychology class. We talked about how important design is in education once I learned more about UX and UI. Not only how it is used on a daily basis, but also how equitable, enjoyable, and practical design can benefit staff and students. We determined that introducing design facilitation to OPRF would be intriguing. As a result, I made the decision to continue teaching for another year while Sammy co-taught my psychology sessions once a week, focusing on design. I was able to learn more about UX and UI while studying with Sammy as a result.With our joint efforts, I was able to get more knowledge about UX and UI while working with Sammy and provide fantastic opportunities for students.

I, Sammy, and the students have been this program's key contributors. I work along with other psychology educators, the OPRF Principal, and guest judges - staff and students not directly involved. The students' willingness to participate in this program has been critical to its success and has given me insight into how to continue providing this opportunity in the most effective way possible. Shoutout to everyone who has supported this effort!

This curriculum was created to aid students in their comprehension of design and ultimately enable them to use it in their communities. The curriculum was developed to be beneficial to all students, to offer flexibility in how knowledge is applied, and to provide opportunities for self-reflection and development. At the end, we intended that students would be conscious of design and inquire as to why certain things are created the way they are.

Here is a brief outline of our weekly curriculum:

  • Week 1: What is HCD?

  • Week 2: Redesign a backpack

  • Week 3: Final project details

  • Weeks 4-7: First design increment + feedback

  • Weeks 8-11: Second design increment

  • Weeks 12-13: Design changes

  • Weeks 14-16: Design presentations

We advised the students to use a variety of research methods, such as interviews, observations, and various media sources. Students identified the issue, produced low-fidelity designs, shared their findings with their peers, and implemented feedback throughout the design process.

Examples of the curriculum and student presentations are on the left and more linked here. The Stanford framework for design thinking and an illustration of the human-centered design process are shown in the top image. To keep students focused on the goal, we consistently connected the curriculum to both concepts.