From the Whiteboard to the Real World: New Work with Fund For Teachers
We are excited to announce that the BIF Student Experience Lab and Fund For Teachers are beginning a second round of work together! We will work with Fund For Teachers (FFT) to design and test a new orientation experience and documentation tools for the 120 Connecticut based teachers in FFT’s newest cohort of Fellows.
Fund For Teachers has improved the lives of thousands of teachers over the past 15 years by providing grants for teachers to self design professional learning experiences around the globe! Fellowships are incredibly diverse--from studying the environment of village fish farms in Kenya to examining bridges all across Europe. Whether it’s studying sea turtles in Bora Bora or participating in the Creativity Workshop in Greece to explore the world of visual journaling as a tool for teaching, teachers are free to design learning experiences that they are passionate about, creating a wide variety of different fellowship experiences. You can read more about the different learning experiences some of the newest Connecticut Fellows have designed here. You can also catch all the latest news about FFT in their spring newsletter.
At the Business Innovation Factory, we are always eager to work with innovative leaders in order to develop and prototype new models. This past January, we got to do just that with Fund For Teachers. During our first round of work, we helped lead a participatory design studio with Fund For Teachers’ staff, advisors, and past and current Fellows to explore new models for increasing the fellowship’s impact. You can catch all the details of the design studio here. We centered the participatory design studio on the experiences of end-users: the Fellows, local and foreign partners, community members, and students. The Fellows and FFT staff underwent some intense brainstorming and came up with some fantastic ideas to increase the program’s impact!
Drawing from ideas generated at the participatory design studio, we are helping Fund For Teachers build out an orientation experience for new Fellows and documentation materials Fellows can use to capture and share their fellowship experiences. The Orientation will allow Fellows to connect and collaborate with other teachers in the program with shared interests, and the documentation framework will give Fellows tools to learn from their experiences and broadcast their learning in order to increase the impact of the fellowship. Understanding the value of trying ideas quickly with small groups and iterating fast, in the coming month we will take the prototype we developed and test it with three cohorts of FFT Fellows in Connecticut, iterating on the design between each session.