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Projects @ Harvard Graduate School of Education

2020-2021

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Universal Design for Learning Online Teacher Training Course

Course: Universal Design for Learning: Theory, Practice, and Innovation

Problem: Online learning presents unique challenges and opportunities for students' access and inclusion. However, teachers lack knowledge on how to create engaging and inclusive learning experiences online. 

Action: In collaboration with teachers from Canada, Senegal, France, and the US, we studied UDL guidelines and researched UDL implementation in e-learning. We interviewed teachers from diverse contexts to develop user personas which we used to iterate various solutions. Ultimately, we decided to design a cohort-based, online teacher training course to address the problem.


Result: Using Wix, we developed a prototype: a five-module, online course to inform educators on how to implement the UDL framework to minimize barriers, maximize engagement and belonging, and promote the development of expert learners. We conducted UX research using qualitative methods and used feedback to refine the next iteration of the course.

Evidence: Below is the prototype website of the UDL & Online Learning course.

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Tip of the Iceberg: Micro-Learning on Literacy Instruction for K-12 teachers

Course: Innovation by Design: Projects in Educational Technology

Problem: We set out to find ways to help teachers support their students with dyslexia since many teacher preparation programs do not teach research-based practices for literacy instruction. Therefore, many teachers in the US are in need of professional development that focuses on supporting struggling readers.

Action: Our product is an app that provides users/teachers with micro-learning on literacy instruction. This solution is based on the following theories of action. 1. If we deliver online PD in the form of short, engaging personalized videos, then teachers will become interested in learning more about the topic because we are making the information easier to access, more flexible, and more relevant. 2. If more teachers learn about research-based literacy instructions, then literacy scores will improve because a greater number of teachers are delivering high-quality instruction. Throughout the life-cycle we consulted with Harvard faculty, education professionals, and experts on dyslexia and used their guidance and feedback to design the app and develop early prototypes. 

Result: We presented our prototype at an online showcase event to educators and subject-matter experts who would consider adopting such a product within their own context given the projected impact it would have on teacher self-efficacy on reading instruction strategies.

Evidence: Below is a short video vignette on how the app works.

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Harvard Professional Education UX Design Research

Course: Connected Teaching in the Digital Age

Problem: Professional Education at HGSE offers several professional development programs and courses that are in-person, hybrid, or fully online. During the pandemic, these programs had to shift 100% online and course designers were left wondering how to best re-design courses in order to maximize engagement, collaboration, and community-building.

Action: As a consultant, I conducted an audit of the course "Online Teaching and Learning in Action" using Universal Design for Learning guidelines and with a culturally-sustaining pedagogical approach to identify areas of improvement. In my audit of the course syllabus and materials, I noticed that there was a lack of alternatives for auditory/visual information. Options for expression and communication were also limited since course participants could only produce written work. Opportunities to build community were also limited since this was a self-paced, fully-asynchronous course.

Result: In my findings report, I included suggestions for ways that course designers could foster collaboration and community: namely by using messaging tools like Telegram so that course participants can reach out to one another and share takeaways from the week's course material and activity. I also recommended that the course include an easily accessible DEI statement and information on how to report code of conduct violations. The report was presented to course faculty and administrators who took the recommendations into consideration when evaluating and re-designing the course for future delivery. 

Evidence: Below are the slides used in the presentation to stakeholders.

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WODI: kids' fitness-tracking wearables and exercise gamification

Course: Informal Learning for Children

Problem: A sedentary lifestyle, increased screen time, decreased fitness and the resulting poor health outcomes in children have been long-standing problem areas that had only been exacerbated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Action: In collaboration with cohort members from the UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and China we addressed this problem by designing "WODI", an electronic pet device and game for children. WODI encourages kids to be proactive about their physical health through exercise. Our project’s target audience are parents (customers) who have children (users) between 6-11 years old living in China. WODI aspires to help children meet the WHO daily recommendation of 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity, while instilling in the child healthy routines and a sense of responsibility for their own health and well-being.

Result: We developed a business plan and pitch that was delivered to Harvard faculty, and SMEs from the Sesame Street workshop. We garnered praise and areas of improvement for the business plan.

Evidence: Below is a video of the pitch we delivered to faculty and SMEs which details product information, formative and summative evaluation plans, outreach design and partner initiatives.

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MusiCraft: AR Guitar-learning app

Course: Entrepreneurship in the EdTech Marketplace

Problem: Novice guitar learners need accurate and positive feedback to develop correct playing techniques.


Action: I collaborated with designers and musicians from Argentina, Russia, Mexico and the US to design an augmented reality (AR)-based solution, Musicraft. MusiCraft is an affordable, online learning platform that teaches beginners the basics of how to play guitar. With just a computer’s camera and mic, MusiCraft provides automated real-time playing feedback using AR (augmented reality). 

Result: We developed a business plan which provides in-depth market research (competitive analysis, SWOT, go-to-market strategy, marketing strategy, etc.) We also developed and delivered a 5-minute pitch at our course's "HGSE Venture Investments" competition for which we came in third place.

Evidence: Below is the MusiCraft business plan.

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Skillbase: Formative Evaluation of Platform for Workforce Up-skilling

Course: Formative Evaluation for Educational Product Development

ProblemSkillbase is an online platform developed by cross-sector team of students, staff and graduates representing four Harvard schools. Skillbase connects workers and learners to free, high-quality online educational resources in foundational skills that can help them advance their careers. Stakeholders need to evaluate the effectiveness of the platform in order to do a nationwide launch in the near future.

Action: I worked alongside researchers from China to conduct a formative evaluation of Skillbase. The evaluation informs the effectiveness of Skillbase and of the Community of Practice (CoP) workshops in serving the needs of intermediaries and provides recommendations for future workshops. We carried out the formative evaluation using three instruments: observations of Community of Practice workshops, and exit survey, and individual interviews with workshop participants.

Result: We made the following recommendations in our final report: Future CoP sessions can include guest speakers who have successfully implemented Skillbase in their practices; More live guidance or hands-on exercises related to implementing Skillbase in a variety of contexts; More time for intermediaries to network and connect;
In designing and developing the Skillbase website, center diverse abilities/disabilities and diverse racial, ethnic, linguistic, and national backgrounds of users.

Evidence: Below are the slides for the presentation we delivered to stakeholders from the business, government, and education schools at Harvard.

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Harvard Graduate School of Education: Winter Holiday Digital Gift Exchange

Ed.M. Program Cohort: Technology, Innovation, and Education

Problem: In Fall of 2020, Harvard Graduate School of Education had its first-ever, fully online cohort. Building community had to be intentional since there were no holiday parties we could attend due to covid-19 and our cohort being all over the world.

Action: Using the collaborative, online bulletin board, Padlet, I designed a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange where cohort members were paired up and created a digital gift based on set criteria.

Result: During our online holiday party, participants "opened" their gifts. Both creators and recipients were able to connect and express gratitude while having a good laugh at the rather funny digital gifts. It was a warm and fuzzy community-building moment for us all at the end of a very stressful and busy semester.

Evidence: Below is the Padlet with all of the digital gifts.

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Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE): Youth Theater Improv Workshop

Course: Field Experience in Education Technology

Problem: Albany Park Theater Project is a youth-theater company who devise original plays from real-life stories of residents from Chicago's immigrant, working-class neighborhoods. As the city went on lockdown, the weekly, in-person improv workshops for teens had to move to an online modality. Workshop facilitators were unfamiliar with this new landscape and needed guidance on best practices.

Action: I worked with staff from Albany Park Theater Project (APTP) to train staff on a variety of edtech tools and help them design virtual community theater workshops with high school students. I guided them on how to use tools like Padlet, Flipgrid, and Zoom to organize games and exercises in new ways. I also collaborated with the APTP Director of School Programs to design an improv workshop for HGSE graduate students in Designing for Learning by Creating (popularly known as T550) to showcase real-life applications of the "4 P's of learning" (Projects, Peers, Passion, Play.)


Result: We ran the online workshop with a handful of teen artist facilitators and 20+ students and faculty, including the Program Chair, where we played fun, interactive games, engaged in reflection activities, and community-building exercises. The 1.5-hour workshop wrapped up with a performance of original 30-second music videos which participants improvised in breakout groups. Participants and facilitators shared positive feedback and reflections at the end of the workshop.

Evidence: Below is a video montage of highlights from the workshop.

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