When applied to the K12 environment, human-centered design principles seek to optimize positive interactions between people and schools. How far-reaching are the impacts of this sort of design?
Take a moment to step back from your role in the design and building process and put yourself in the position of the user. How would you use this learning space? What activities would you be performing in this environment, and how might the space be highly motivational to you? How would you like to interact with others in this school? Finding the answers to these questions is at the core of any truly effective human-first design strategy.
The Human-Centered K12 Design Philosophy
A human-centered design process in a K12 environment simply means that the wants and needs of the end-user have the final say in the choices made during the design process. This most often includes students, teachers, and administration.
We believe that the design of any school should not be made from our perspective but from the perspective of those who will eventually use the space. K12 architecture and design should be centered around people.
Human-centered design is an iterative approach. Innovation and change are driven by understanding how and why people will use a design solution. Authentic creation leads to real change much faster than a typical copycat strategy. That’s the end game.
Where Do You Start?
One word: empathy. The best way to create empathy? Go out and observe people teaching and learning in K12 schools in the real world! If you have the opportunity, first-hand observations bring true perspective, remove guesswork, and help generate creative ideas. Collecting real-world information about behavior will help identify powerful design solutions that make human-centered design possible.
Making it Work
Armed with a better understanding of your students and teachers, along with clear identification of key design solutions, it's time to bring your vision to life! Now you’re ready to create a real K12 environment that embodies specific solutions. A human-centered design process is simple to understand yet requires a lot of hard work. However, if the process is executed well, people can reap the benefits for decades!