Thursday, October 14, 2010

user testing: 3rd, 4th, 5th graders...

So today Micah and I went to Frank Rushton Elementary and tested our prototypes. We had a group of about 15 students to work with. They were a Mix between 3,4, and 5th grade. When I first walked into the school I was by myself bc I had no clue where Micah was and so I thought I was going in alone... I was terrified! There was this cute little girl that seemed to be wandering along by herself. I noticed she was holding a book. She stopped, looked at me, and then asked "Would you come read with me?" I was emotionally moved by this because she had no clue who I was, she just wanted someone like me to read with her. I said " Well, I am unsure where I am supposed to be right now or I would love to." She responded " Its okay you can just come read with me." In the end I had to turn her down and said maybe next time. She said "Ok I will be here." This inspired me even more to focus on and interact with the kids of Rosedale.

We asked several questions about reading and had some interesting discoveries. Here is a list of what stuck out in my mind the most:

1. When asked if they had a problem getting books or getting to a library they said No. This whole time Micah and I assumed that we were going to have to just get books in their hands to inspire them. Turns out, they are very familiar with books and love to read.

2. When asked What reading does for them: Most responded about imagination. One girl said that she likes to pretend that she is the character in the stories that she reads. Another said he likes to read and then write about what he has read and kind of create his own story. So obviously these kids do have imagination.

3. When we asked what was the coolest thing we presented them with (from the prototypes) They all loved the activity book, and loved how the bag had organization for new books, and books to return. They said this would really help with remembering to return books.

4: When asked if there was anything else they would add to the bag: An older girl (5th) grade said she would also like just a plain notebook to write down any thoughts. Another girl said she would like some sort of book to log the dates and books that she read to keep track.

So taking all of this in, I got to wondering If all the stuff we thought was the problem really isnt the problem... Then what is the problem here?
Through talking to these students we discovered they love to share their thoughts, feelings, creativity. Even if it is just getting it out in our little activity books or notebooks. They get a sense of pride knowing what they have read, and how much they have read. So I think we need t start thinking more about the creative writing, or expression that comes out of these kids with reading. And the goal is to keep them interested in reading and help them gain more access to putting their thoughts down. Because I honestly believe these kids DO DREAM... It is just that no one ever asks them to express what they do dream. They sometimes get lost in a crowd of kids when trying to express themselves at school maybe something as simple as a paper journal is just what they need to express their thoughts. BC we did ask for the activity books back for documentation, but no one wanted to part with them. :)

I am so glad that we went to test this and had the opportunity to be around these kids. They definitely opened our eyes to seeing what the real problem is and that it wasn't what we originally though.

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