Mira Pages from Disrupt 2nd Edition2

DNLE led me to SMILE- Stanford Mobile Learning Inquiry Environment.


My name is Mira and I had recently finished my Masters Thesis on Stanford Design Thinking Methodology in 2012 through Western Governors University online. When looking at free resources offered by Stanford, I saw the key words – human centered design in Designing a New Learning Environment with Professor Kim and took this opportunity to do more Innovative Design Doing. My concern was how to design a new learning environment without programming skills and was hesitant to start the class without my programmer friend. Fortunately, we took the class together and discovered a dynamic, wealth of collaborators excited to experience Global 21st Century learning as well offering their skills (including programming). By providing opportunities not offered anywhere else, DNLE changed my life overnight.

One of the biggest take-aways was the rubric Professor Kim gave us to focus:

1. Engagement, 2. Educationally Sound, 3. Accessibility and Scaleability, 4. Sustainability, 5. Business model.


Although I have been teaching for ten years and had a Masters in Learning and Technology, I had no experience in:


3.Accessibility (people on earth have more access to cellphones than access to drinking water).


4. Sustainability as in a learning environment that can grow and work on its own ( My initial response was green sustainability regarding the environment.)


5. Business in regards to a real functioning start-up including insurance and pay roll. I learned it all in DNLE.

My strength  was having a background in innovation.  Stanford design methodology starts with empathy, then stating needs to solve the correct problem. It encourages appropriate risk.

However in order to feel comfortable taking risks, one needs to be educated by the best, and this is where Professor Kim’s DNLE succeeds best.

Empowering others to change the world.

The year before I wrote my Masters in Design Thinking, I traveled to Israel/Palestine for a Peace mission on reconciliation through Echo of Christ Ministries with Saed Awwad, a Palestinian Christian. After coming back to the states, I started a new job as an innovation instructor with Workshop Education. Here learned about a board game on Peace. Concurrently, DLNE has just started accepting sign ups. After seeing the global contacts offered in DNLE, people who are passionate about changing the world through education, a global team (with the tenacity needed to make action happen) I formed our DNLE team.

Serendipitiously, the perfect mix of passion and timing came together. But who has control over passion and timing? The only thing we do have control over is making opportunities happen and choosing to get out of our comfort zone. DNLE can be an adventure off a lifetime if you are willing to “fail fast, do it, and never give up.” (Professor Paul Kim).


My DNLE classmate, Roz Hussin from Nebraska, was invited to Stanford to work with Professor Kim. Roz and I became fast friends because we both have the same passion on improving education. Roz had asked me which hotel she should stay. I invited her to stay with my family and me. I am Filipino and culturally that is how we do things.


People learn from their classmates and my learning curve with Roz is actually a vertical line pointing up. She invited the Peace team to write this book. I have not published anything outside my Masters Thesis until now.  However, writing a book as a team became an opportunity to learn quite extensively from the best and  to advocate for those who are striving to become sustainably independent in their learning as well.

The collective impact of the diversity and generosity of members of DNLE cannot be underestimated. These members are motivated to connects gap of academic theory and practice to ideas about progressing toward multinational goals to help all. Also, by finding classmates of “the same species”  who work toward the same goals, have the same priorities of justice and helping the most marginalized, DNLE alumni now have the confidence and skills to make this vision into a reality.


While staying with me in Redwood City, I dropped Roz off at Stanford for her meeting with Professor Kim. I had asked if I could  get a picture with Professor Kim. He has been a huge inspiration to me in becoming a better teacher to help others. This encounter turned out to be more than what I had hoped for. To my amazement, not only did I get a photo with Dr Kim, but I also ended up being invited to a lunch discussion with Professor Kim, Pam – our DNLE Teaching Assistant, and Roz. In the meeting, I listened as Professor Kim and Roz discussed SMILE.


Stanford Mobile Learning Inquiry Environment


I learned about ways to leverage local resources to create a sustainable grassroots support of inquiry learning. I realized that SMILE is a strategic catalyst towards reducing the gap between rich and poor, one of the 15 Global Challenges.  Through education in local communities as well as abroad, we can train students to become high order critical thinkers which supports innovation.  Because I teach at an after school program, Workshop Education, and in East Palo Alto for summer school, this became an opportunity incorporate SMILE at our schools. Currently, SMILE is in Tanzania and India. Along with SMILE, 1001 stories empowers its environment, as as Professor Kim told me during the meeting, all the way to Palestine.


Beudoins in Palestine


During my stay in Palestine, I saw Bedouin sheep farmers and their tent communities but did not connect it to scarcity of water. The home I was staying at lives on water tanks that would be filled up like gas tanks in a car. This is water needs to last through the week, because water tanks are only filled up weekly. The Bedouin communities closest to us at the time are nomadic herders, They also earned money by transferring  products and people through the desert. Professor Kim’s Seeds of Empowerment plants seeds of hope even there among the Beudoins of Palestine. If we can plant SMILe there. Surely we can do it here, as well. After all, cell phones are more abundant than drinking water worldwide. SMILE does not limit itself to secular or religious groups. It works with both. It connects both. SMILE is a learning management program that gives students the ability to to connect to each other by creating, sharing, and judging each others’ inquiry learning.


Inquiry Learning and Open inquiry


Out of the four types of inquiry learning in science, open inquiry is the most challenging and least likely to see on a test, yet is the most important when it comes to innovation. Confirmation, structured, and guided inquiry is most common, however, for open inquiry, instead of finding the right answer, the challenge is to design the right question and find the answer to it, which is the highest of standards and expectations.


Designing a New Learning Environment for Workshop Education

Workshop Education is an after school program that provides a place where experimentation, building, and designing (that is lacking during the school day)  can be the focus. “At our Innovation Workshops, children learn 21st Century “verbs” – how to create, persevere, and communicate successfully.. “ After doing research, I learned of Transforming STEM Education: Inquiry, Innovation, Inclusion, and Evidence


Inquiry learning supports innovation in profound ways. SMILE is the vehicle to bring seemingly intangible inquiry learning to connect with innovation so students have the skills to design with critical thinking skills to solve the correct problem.


How can a designer decide they are solving the correct problem? The right solution can be formulated only after the appropriate question is asked.  For the Peace team, the question is “How can we get people to make friends for peace?”  We designed Peace Game to get people who do not communicate to become friends. For SMILE, the question is “How can we train the user to become an inquiry learner in order to innovate for 21st Century problems?”


Logistics on facilitating smile into five separate schools have led to other potential learning environments that can be equally participatory.


The K-5 and K-8 after school programs through Workshop in the following schools:

Mission Farallon, a public Elementary School in Half Moon Bay, off the coast of California 20 minutes from San Francisco. 37% free lunch in Half Moon Bay


North Star Academy, a 3rd to 8th grade public school in Redwood City, CA in between San Francisco and San Jose with 13% free lunch in Redwood City, 
and three elementary schools in Hillsborough, CA


By  introducing SMILE- Stanford Mobile Inquiry Learning Environment to these 5 programs, we can collect data from wealthy and underprivileged schools. Students will be trained with critical reasoning and problem solving strategies by generating, 
sharing, and grading peer inquiries which their friends designed with them. Students improve their inquiry learning skills and SMILE can adjust for any necessary changes.


Since Workshop is on five separate campuses, we can spread our agenda  to introduce SMILE  because we are a private organization. The potential research data collection that is  possible  enriches action research findings on local communities.


My teammate, Alison Burek who lives in the Bay area near me, came to visit Roz also. It felt like a DNLE class reunion, except that we were meeting physically for the first time. Roz asked to observe my after school program and watched as our 20 students designed a case for the new Raspberry Pi, an activity I experienced at Stanford Design School. Roz and Ali are such wonderful teachers, my teacher partner suggested we consider invite Ali to be a potential teacher on our team.


The purpose of Roz’s  visit  was to observe how SMILE could benefit our students. Roz is currently working with Ali and me to do Action Research on SMILE.


The objective of the Action Research is to improve the DESIGN of the SMILE workshops (in other words, we will be designing a new learning environment for running SMILE workshops).


DNLE Assignments that prepared us for SMILE task


Dr Kim gave us a challenge  to understand the pedagogies behind instructional technology strategy. He pointed out that these pedagogies must have a target to meet the needs of the learner through critical analysis, both at the surface and at the root.


Assignment 1:  Different environments focuses on engaging instructional design and an exercise to train us to be aware of issues (and indirectly, become familiar with the Venture Lab interface). SMILE has pedagogy built in to engage the user.

Assignment 2: “Educational Challenge Scenario” focused us to apply  learning through role play to gain empathy for the user of SMILE.

It was an exercise for us to identify a need (and indirectly, be aware of our subject of interest).

Assignment 3: “Prescription for a Learning Problem”  gave us experience in tackling the task of how to train students to think with inquiry learning and how to spread SMILE to other places. It was an exercise in analyzing and synthesizing (and indirectly, practice working on others’ ideas, building  teamwork and collaboration.

Assignment 4: Bloom’s Taxonomy applied to the activity of formulating high order questions provided an sequenced and structured pedagogy to transfer to the teacher and student. DNLE helped me target the synthesizing process.


Assignment 5: on Response to a Journal Article on Palestine and Learning solutions that need to be designed for its unique environment, make my visit to Palestine more valuable than previously thought.


Teams were formed with considerations on strengths and skill sets combined to give opportunity to grow in potential areas.  “meaningful learning interaction” for “demonstrating the flexibility and generosity of spirit that will help us grow from each other’s perspectives and experiences.”


The first three  assignments were exercises designed to prepare us the final team project. The instructional design of DNLE, referred by Dr. Kim as the  pedagogy is direct instructional design.


Our Action Research uses strategies from to DNLE. Since Roz has been trained by Shawn Kim to execute SMILE, she connected Ali and I to also be trained so we can teach it at Workshop and in East Palo Alto.


Professor Kim was so kind as to get us trained to teach our students real inquiry learning. He also offered a letter of appreciation after this book was completed and an opportunity to visit places to introduce SMILE where it is needed most like India and Tanzania.


Training at CERAS with Shawn


Shawn Kim who works at CERAS spent a couple of hours training Ali and me to use SMILE. Benefits of SMILE include the fact that it can be used without internet connection, teachers can still control the environment, and it can run on android mobile devices. Most importantly, it turns passives students into active learners.


It is user friendly and quite engaging. I imagine my students will have fun designing questions for their friends. Immediately, I made a Peace Game group and messaged Talal where we can create questions and answers regarding ways for segregated groups to communicate. SMILE ultimately leads to discussion, the way Peace Game does.


Since SMILE is in Beta testing, it will soon have a feature to answer open ending question. Currently there are 271 people on SMILE as of June 11, 2013.
Designing a New Learning Environment for East Palo Alto Pilot for SMILE


Our assignments in DNLE made SMILE relevant to EPA because SMILE is in Tanzania and India. Some local communities such as these underserved areas are also in great need of such excellent teaching. East Palo Alto is known historically to be one of the most marginalized communities in Silicon Valley and the closest to Stanford University. Ali and I  took on the challenge of customizing SMILE to suit the specific culture and economic environment for  EPA because we had the confidence which was instilled in us through DNLE.


“This cohort of students comprises low income K-12 children from the East Palo Alto neighborhood. Mira has been involved in this program for the past four years, both as lead teacher as well as curriculum designer. Our plan is to pilot incorporating SMILE methodology into Mira’s existing creative-thinking curricula.”


The demographics of the kids in this summer school camp program in East Palo Alto through Ravenswood Youth Athletics Association  are mostly Latino, but also African- American, and Pacific Islander.
 RYAA takes in students from Bayshore Christian Ministries.


While considering our learning outcomes from DNLE, we applied our human centered design thinking. Roz shared a example lesson plan with me during our video conference call.


It was a visual example created and used by Roz for a series of lesson plans on a class of 5th graders that  was quite engaging and successful. We customized the design of the flash cards to suit the specific culture and economic environment for EPA.


The objective was to teach the Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) Information Processing Model (IP model), which is a Masters in Education (high level) type concept. The lesson plan was designed to explain this “high level” theory to students aged 10-11 years old. In simple English, the IP model explains how our brain works, how it learns to remember, how it forgets, how we create schema (or memories) in our brain, and how our brain tells our body to react.


There are 5 workshop activities related to the first slide, which was the “lecture”. The original file was an animated cartoon that showed the various steps of the brain in sequence. The file we are using for the pilot is a flattened pdf without the animation. In addition to showing the animation, Roz also photocopied the pdf and gave one black and white sheet each to each child. The purpose of that is to ensure each kid has access to a visual aid in his/her own hands (addressing learner differences). I am planning to do the same. This is an example of just one of the many pointers we have been blessed to have because we met in our DNLE class.


Roz was so generous to assist us in our first lesson plan for EPA. I  pilot tested it with my daughter for the redesign.


The objective of the pilot is for “action-research”, which means METHODOLOGY is very important, and close communication with Roz (co-researcher) is key.


East Palo Alto Connection


While teaching summer school in East Palo Alto, I met one of the coordinators who pointed out that RYAA and Bayshore Christian Ministries have had MANY people  come to do one workshop, put it on their resume, and are never heard from again. I remember clearly being so thankful to be a 4 year returning teacher.


While preparing for the lesson, I began to feel uncomfortable like we are advertising for Apple with these cards, when these kids live below the poverty line. In fact it is in the news how some from EPA and ERWC come into Palo Alto, stalk the Apple Store, follow the customer home, and hold them up with a gun before they can get their Apple product into their $8 million house.


The kids are 3rd to 5th grade. Here are some  demographics. “If you walk a few miles down the road from Stanford and the wealthy suburb of Menlo Park, you’ll notice the houses and shops change abruptly. You’re in East Palo Alto, where nine out of ten people live below the poverty line.The kids here want success, and their parents want success for them. But since they don’t usually experience the opportunities for learning and networking that kids across the highway get, the odds are they will drop out by high school and be underdogs for the rest of their lives.” Citizen Schools


3 Day Workshop at EPA on SMILE and Tinkering


We are doing pilot to develop a (better) system of training for SMILE for Research and Development (R&D).


I had difficulty choosing an object for the SMILE game on the new set of cards.

Roz explained that an airplane might be too simplistic an “answer” for a 4-5 point question. At the most, it can generate a 2-3 point level of thinking. The purpose of introducing the iPhone 5 as an inquiry sample for SMILE is so that new learning content can be introduced as well, such as “What is voiceover control?” or  “What is an Android versus iOS system?”  The point of SMILE is to introduce INQUIRY-LEARNING, not rote repetition of existing knowledge.


To ensure we were solving the correct problem, while investigating the root causes of poverty in East Palo Alto, I discovered that 67% of the population is obese. In fact East Palo Alto received their first grocery store in 30 years in 2010. It is also dangerous to be outside because of the drive by shootings. My friend who lives in EPA is trying to move out. Recently, she experienced a drive by shooting while leaving a church service. The percentage number is similar to the number unemployed stemming from the fact that it is difficult to get a job when you are obese. This led me to encourage Charlie to write a 1001 story to help the community of East Palo Alto.



SMILE questions can be targeted toward ways to focus on healthy eating, exercise, empowering the community to end drive by shootings so people can walk outside.

SMILE flashcards will be directed toward fresh fruits and vegetables.


Appendix A: EPA Schedule


Appendix B: Flash Cards


Using Charlie’s ipod, my cell, work’s ipad, my laptop, Eva’s ipad mini she bought with her own money gave us 6 devices using my wireless to access smile on website.


The plan was to get 4 kids to turn into 2 pairs, each kid gets 1/2 hour.

We can give each kid an inquiry learning experience by the end of the 3rd day.


On, I set up game sessions.


July 1 Asynchronous. Students can create, answer, and review questions at any time.

July 2 Synchronous. Control in real time which mode the session is on. The session remains closed until you enter create mode.


Roz informed Professor Kim and Neha, head of Seeds and SMILE that

based on feedback received from the preliminary beta-tests, she created a second version of the teaching cards. The content is more generic and focuses on health science and nutrition (fruit), as opposed to technology (iPhone). Also, Roz  developed a composite summary handout that would be given to the students.


Ali and I will be using this version next week when they pilot in East Palo Alto. These can be used for other team’s consumption if relevant. We are still developing and refining these teaching materials. Some areas of improvement that are in the pipeline:

– Gender equality

– Localized content

– Multilingual delivery


We also hope to develop matching train-the-trainer materials that highlight:

– Rubrics for question clarity

– Benchmarking for higher order learning

– Guidelines for synthesizing multiple concepts


Both of the above are being developed in two formats:

– Low cost black & white photocopy print version

– Color / animated / voiceover online video version


By the end of August 2013, developers will change SMILE so open ended questions can be asked and answered. Currently SMILE is multiple choice.


My daughter age 13  and son age 10 are helping me print the cards, and are bringing their devices to help with the lesson, taking pictures, and helping the younger ones form questions.


Appendix C: Testing on Elementary students


Appendix D: Lesson plans for SMILE Notes 1


Research part with direction from Roz

An adventure into action-research


Ali is assisting me as needed and taking that opportunity to observe and gather data. She suggested writing up a qualitative impressions would be easy if she have a spreadsheet with each kid’s name (first name is fine; I just need something so she can tell who’s giving what answer). She can check off boxes like “thought they deserved 4 stars, thought they deserved 5 stars, here’s why … “.


If there are specific data points needed, she can look for them. Otherwise, we can use Day 1 to look for interesting things to follow up on by Day 3.


Day 1 to gather preliminary data, allowing that data to point us in interesting directions, and then using days 2 and 3 to follow up on those directions.


We need to develop an observation rubrics by listing the workshop GOALS.

Point form.Each point should be a learning objective.

We need to list the specific measureable objectives that you need to observe.

Each  learning objective should have several observable outcomes. We need to create a scale from which you can measure these observations. Draft these in a table format.

This will be your field research rubrics.


We need to make it simple and easy to use, so that you don’t spend too much time deciphering. But it should be detailed enough so that you can jot down as-you-observe, without being bogged down by the format. Free-flow note taking is fine for pure ethnography. But it would take too much follow up coding.

So, design a rubrics ahead of time. This will simplify your data recording task.


Review what Shawn sent us and what Paul sent.

Review what inquiry-based learning is, and the relevant concepts.

It will help you identify the workshop learning objective.

As for the measureable objectives, think to yourself — what will I be able to observe?

How can I measure what I observe? What visible evidence can I document?


Appendix E: SMILE/Innovation Workshop Goals


Appendix F: Timeline


Appendix G:Advice from Professor Kim


Mid Reflection


We had difficulty just using my account, 2 cell phones 2 ipads, 1 laptop, 1 ipod touch

All of day 1 questions started with what and were not technical

All of day 2 questions start with how and are technical


Because we don’t get the list of kids until they walk in, logging their names should be prepared hours before class starts. Also one kid left for vacation and one new kid joined.

The kids are very rowdy and too excited about tinkering. Even though I said no touching devices or equipment until we get our questions into smile, they sneaked when I turned my back, so we did smile questions at the same time, which worked out better because they had visuals.


End Reflection


1 day Getting comfortable with smile and tinkering was great. They enjoyed the guessing game.


2 day Forming high level tech questions was challenging and

making prototypes of their inventions was even better than day one because there were many discovery and learnable moments


3 day was difficult.  The kids wanted to finish their designed but had to answer questions first. Some were fine with it, some complained.


It changed the mood of the day, so the few tenacious ones were the only ones building, the rest lounged around when they could have been designing or redesigning.


Some were over saturated, some just wanted a break. Some think that  answering questions felt like school.


The kids wanted to make videos of their designs not about how smile works.


Eva said that last year was better because it was only tinkering and designing. Smile made it less fun. SMILE is for 6th grade up.


However the kids need to learn the functions of the parts they are taking apart to learn how to reconstruct and  to learn how it works, so they can redesign the wiring, LEDs, etc.

and SMILE is effective.


LOL – in closing I asked how next year could be different and Brevin asked me to bring in car parts and a welder.


My 5 star question. How is a diode like a check valve?


Appendix H: Field Notes Day 1


Appendix I: Day 2


Redesigning a New Learning Environment for SMILE Tinkering


How could we incorporate the activity of answering SMILE questions simultaneously while  actively doing hands on tinkering and exploring so the kids stay engaged.  Because these kids are so young, they get caught up in their invention and by the time they have an answer, SMILE has fallen asleep and you need to relog in which is feasible if you have a big screen.


Gamification:The one who answers the most questions gets prototype points.

Next time I teach this, each team will get a point for answering questions -points go toward their prototype (the first model of their invention) to engage them through gamification. We will be able to track this, since each person will have their own log in. Charlie said there are badges built in to SMILE, I haven’t tinkered with it.

Ali and I will start taking notes on PROPOSED NEW DESIGN SUGGESTIONS.

Some are very interested in this “new” hybrid model that we have begun to experiment with. This is a follow up to a discussion / publication that Roz worked on with Paul back in March, which involved a previous workshop where a group of 5th graders did hands-on problem solving. At that time, the workshop design needed a more “qualitative” research methodology. This is why we were invited to do SMILE workshops, while Roz continue to work with Professor Kim on refining his research methodology.


The SMILE+tinkering model is something that Professor Kim now wants to develop and refine.


How can we design such activities to be more engaging, and how will we to document these observations in a more efficient manner?



Roz had an idea for a “SMILE-tinker-party“… a one-hour workshop activity where kids get together for a purpose (some type of hands-on tinker event), and are timed (like a game).


For example, “Muffin-Monster-SMILE-Tinker-Party”.


Objective is to bake muffins.

(note: reason for muffin, and not cookies, is because muffins could be made of fruit, oatmeal, corn, or other healthy ingredients)


Challenge is to research recipes and to discover what ingredients are in a muffin, and of course, to bake the muffin and eat it.


Academic content could include chemistry (what are the chemical reactions involved), nutrition (calorie count, food groups, etc), social studies (culture, history, evolution of recipes, etc).



SMILE activity could be run simultaneously at all stages:

– team discussions while researching

– formulating questions while making

– answering and ranking questions while testing

– video recording interviews while eating the muffins


Workshop During the School Year


Workshop is all about the kids designing challenges. I will do this at work and see what they come up with. I think it will be similar to what we did at EPA.


We will break into teams, use the design thinking process to come up with a prototype.

Team with the most SMILE points wins.


Charlie and his friends can tinker, too in a tinker party. This would be valuable as Charlie’s age group is a prime target age.


break into teams, use the design thinking process to come up with a prototype.

Team with the most smile points wins.


For West School in Hillsborough, we have about 10 kids who come everyday.

Once we get their log ins done, this will be easy but we only have 2 ipads.


Formally every week:

Monday- Empathy interviews for human centered design

Tues- Define correct problem

Wed- Idea discussion.

Thursdays are our biggest tinkering  days from 3-5 and making questions

Friday 3-5 will be answering questions and ratings while testing prototypes.


There will be about 4 teams, the top team who creates and

answers the most 5 star inputs gets a SMILE certificate.

We can see top performers by the badges they have earned.


There are some kids who insist on tinkering everyday.

They work independently and can earn the certificate on their own.


I interviewed Charlie and Eva


Paul’s Q: I wonder what the students or teachers would say about the overall process, efficacy of SMILE, and whether they want to continue to use it or not and why.

Can they separate the overall workshop and SMILE to tell specifical pros and cons of different components from the overall workshop?


Mira’s A: I will continue to use it with my students.

While designing on teams, one team member can input questions like taking notes. This brings inquiry learning into their thought process.


I think SMILE would be best for 4th grade up.

Pro is that they liked inputting questions.

Con is that they disliked answering questions. LOL

Q: Typical questions we usually ask include:

Q:What new things have you learned?

Eva’s A: I learned about a diaphragm in a speaker.

Charlie’s A: I learned about a rheostat.


Q: What did you like or dislike the most from the workshop?

Day 2 was best, we got to build a lot. Day 3 was worst because we had to answer questions.

Eva: I liked seeing other people’s questions on SMILE and rating questions. I disliked writing the answers to the questions.


Q; How should we improve the workshop?

Eva: would like a saudering tool.


Q; How should we improve SMILE?

Eva:Make answering questions fun.

Mira: Gamification


Q: Why they came up with a question on a particular topic.

Eva: Teaching told them to use technical words about

the device they were tinkering with.


Q: Why they believe the answer choice is the only correct answer

Eva: I did research

Charlie: I did research and got help.


Q: Why they gave a particular rating on a question

Eva: 5 star questions are specific and teach you something

Charlie: Yeah


Q:Why was a question easier or harder?

Eva: hard questions have vocab you don’t know.

Logistics for the next pilot

I realized that I spent $60 on the 3 day EPA workshop because I could not collect enough old electronic equipment to tinker. I used up everything last year, so I went to the thrift store. This last school year they teachers and I brought in old equipment when we came across it but this list is the actual list from Stanford design School that my work provides the kids to build. So tinkering would be executed when we come across devices. Instead of  old devices, we will use ” low resolution rapid prototyping material” ( Stanford design school) because if there is any money invested into a bad design, it is difficult for a designer to let go.

Designing a New Learning Environment for 1001 Stories


Assignment 3 of DNLE: “Prescription for a Learning Problem” prepared me to  analyze and synthesize projects outside of DNLE, including the 1001 Stories project. It is another project with Seeds of Empowerment to increase literacy skills for the underprivileged. Professor Kim will continue with this project until he reaches a collection of 1001 Stories. Currently, he has 37.


My son Charlie has written one story about East Palo Alto on how this Silicon Valley community  is well known in the area to have an unending stream of crime and has struggled with poverty in the midst of the Bay Area’s wealth. It is especially provocative considering it is on the other side of the freeway from Palo Alto, one of the richest communities in the world next to Stanford University.


Because of my first priority of Peace Game, she volunteered to help with 1001 because it connects to world peace. Peace will not be a reality until the end of poverty. 1001 is an empowering motivator to help bring the end of poverty to fruition. However, my initial understanding of the project was mistaken.


My first reaction to help the project was to find as many un copyrighted stories to collection. Ioanna from Greece, began organizing the volunteers and I sent her a link to 300 free children stories on the internet. It was not until Professor Kim met with me and explained the importance of turning a child in a village into an author.


The 37 stories collected so far have been from students in areas where education is not valued. The culture sees no value in reading until the story competition has been completed and the winner sees their book published and spread throughout the village. Not only is this new author beaming with pride, their friends become jealous and also want their stories published. The power of storytelling has historically changed the world and continues to do so.


I asked Talal to have his little brother Taha write his own 1001 story.

Taha in 6th grade Pakistan and Charlie in 4th grade USA met through skype to play Peace Game and are now becoming authors.


With a discussion with Ali, I found an interesting story to tell when Ali mentioned her friend’s daughter who was adopted from China. This story may be produced for 1001 at a later time.


Mira also knows another child whose father died when he was 3 years old.


1001 rubric I created from DNLE’s contacts and exercises


Assignment 2 of DNLE : “Educational Challenge Scenario” directed me to apply learning through role play to gain empathy for the user, even on projects outside of DNLE This skill, by role-playing the write and testing a rubric on my son, is essential to produce a human centered design.  I was able to identify and anticipate some of the needs of the future 1001 writers (who may be some of my students) in regards to guiding them into creating a 1001 story.


After Charlie turned in his first draft, Professor Kim reviewed it and pointed us in the right direction. Under his guidance, I created a rubric for kids to follow.


Talal and I, In our next iteration of  Peace Game MOOC,  will request our students to provide 1001 stories through kids they know and also to promote SMILE. This rubric will help guide them to a successful 1001 story.


Appendix J: Example 1001 checklist


Learning through DNLE and its connections


My peace team and I have spent many hours data mining for evidence and outcomes of projects born out of our DNLE class. Mike’s localization, initiatives to bring local students to create stories for 1001,  Parent App by Shone Sadlier,  complexity of non-disclosure contracts that can be freed through Creative Commons licenses.


Under Roz’s and Paul’s guidance, I have learned a wealth of knowledge to improve as a teacher and as a person,  made wonderful friends all the way to Fiji, and have been given opportunities through challenges beyond expectations, all stemming from DNLE


Working as a team with members with the same vision is a source from which passion, skill, and tenacity come together and reinforce each other for the benefit of all.


CERAS known as the Center for Educational Research at Stanford is headquarters for Stanford School of Graduate School of Education. I have begun attending public forums regarding the Digital Future of Education. I was invited to join the Phd group to learn about copresence. Along with coaching from Roz, Ali and I are currently being trained to teach basic cognitive psychology to 5th and 6th graders to support inquiry learning.

What I learned from Professor Kim


Professor Paul Kim is the assistant Dean of Graduate School of Education.

Through him, our first experience in 21st century global learning and connections has opened doors for us to apply our learning to environments that need it. DNLE gave us perspectives to connect to the global world since ultimately all countries affect each other. We learned how to bypass media, and teach a our own MOOC because he modeled it for us. In DNLE, he instructed ways to become even more sustainable, consider how cell phones are more common than drinking water and through example  help reduce the gap between rich and poor.  Professor Kim truly cares for underprivileged as proven with Seeds of Empowerment, 1001 Stories, SMILE since he has traveled the world to help those that need it.


Through him I have been led to free learning events at CERAS. Professor Kim accepted an invitation to be on discussion panels regarding new education technologies.


DNLE’s rubric was an excellent guide to refer to for our project Peace Game. It improved our game to be relevant and flexible enough to avoid traps. Professor Kim’s rubric called for the following: Engagement, Educationally Sound, Accessibility and Sustainability, and the Business Model.


Since SMILE is a platform that can be used over numerous subjects, we are excited to put together incorporate  Peace Game questions in SMILE, as well as  design thinking questions on empathy, ideating, prototyping, and testing for innovation.


Peace  Game is a large-scale social changer.  In DNLE, I met Yibin in China who suggested to put Peace Game on SMILE first interdependent world reduce poverty 1 of the 15 global challenges. Using design thinking, we  advocate to design a seriously flawed global communication system where industrialized countries which have benefitted from the colonial mercantilist system have taken advantage of uneven economies. The importance of SMILE cannot be overstated. Inquiry learning creates curiosity, passion, and drive which is ultimately the foundation of innovation and success. Asking the right question brings people to solve the correct problem.


Through Professor Kim, I “met” Mike Tranium’s Localization. After researching Mike’s project and I am beginning to understand how this relates to transferring learning between languages. Mike Tranium connected the observations he learned in DNLE to advance localization.


Professor Kim guided me on how to teach students to write a 1001 story.

These are stories of hope which we are collecting using the power of storytelling to empower the poorest of the poor.  The challenge is how to spread these opportunities and manufacture books.


“I see too many children without any hope. Many do not have a role model, in their lives. On top of that, too many children do not own a single book to read and most of them never will in their lifetime. We have a lot of work to do in this world. We need inspirational and empowering stories and I need your help.” said Professor Kim.


With resources available on the internet, I researched the effectiveness of and SMILE 1001 stories. It is indeed quite empowering and worth the time commitment. If you are looking for effective ways to change the world without donating money, please join us.


Appendix H: Field trip to Tech Museum for SMILE


What I learned from Roz Hussin, my DNLE classmate


Peace team did not have directions in a flow chart until Roz asked for it 5 months after the class had ended. Flow charts for visual learners is a necessity to train students to become inquiry learners on SMILE. Roz is currently coaching Ali and me to successfully execute our first pilot program.


She advised on observing the behaviors and interests of the user by making connections to Blooms Taxonomy combined with  Piaget’s Learning Development Theory. This exercise helps us to become TRAINED to observe the students in our SMILE workshop and to observe the adults us as well. By refining our ANALYSIS skills we are truly gaining empathy for our users in order to create a truly human centered learning experience.


Peace team was working on videos for our MOOC and it was not until Roz sent us her google hangout recording that we made the connection to do our own google hangout since we are on opposite sides of the word.


Classmates from our DNLE class enrolled in our Peace Game MOOC! Little did I know that transitioning from a MOOC student to a MOOC teacher would lead to so many opportunities. I was jus thinking if it as another learning experience and an opportunity to show others how to play for Peace.


Neutral teaching on connecting all types of people has introduced me to interfaith for the Peace Game MOOC. As a first time instructor for my own MOOC with the Peace team, this was a learning adventure on

what types of information provides effective learning.


After Roz “introduced me”  to more DNLE classmates like Von in Fiji, I started playing Peace Game with many others. This was Von’s first time to skype and my first time to skype to Fiji. Von was so kind as to give Peace Game a time converter for towards Global meeting Conference.


There were 13 middle school students enrolled in our DNLE class. I have signed up my own daughter, Eva to take her first MOOC this summer.


Roz was able to explain to me the theories behind Step by Step which is extremely valuable and effective learning. Roz showed us how to write a formal paper if Mr Q gives valuable information that needs to surface. Metacognition is not a new concept to me, however metacognition in regards to writing in first person is new and having this new venture in writing has given me experience in writing on thinking about thinking. I am using all my writing skills that I gained writing my Masters thesis in APA format and taking advantage of Zotero for referencing and improving my academic writing skills.


Connectivism as a theory is relatively new. The traditional theories of behaviorist, cognitive, constructivism is well known. Connectivism is new because of the social and online learning explosion of recent years. Roz is teaching a WOOC MOOC regarding this dynamic concept.


Data mining is not a term I had heard until I was in charge of collating the interviews of DNLE students and their stories of empowerment for Chapter 4. On top of it, my first challenge in publicity and media writing started here. With the DNLE book, Roz showed us how to write with a HOLISTIC view.


We discovered that some projects are hung up in non disclosure contracts. and it was our Creative Commons license that brought Peace Game to the public. I have a Project Management Certification and this is the biggest project I have worked on and first real project in the cloud.


Different formats are representing different philosophies. APA is social science based. The concept is that there must be a continuous FLOW of thought. Hence the reason why the format is strict. There should not be any disruption in the presentation of the “voice”. Different formats exist due to the philosophical differences between the humanties, the social sciences, the sciences, and specific professions, such as law.


Example subject specific styles:

Overview of various styles:


Action research during our EPA pilot.

Roz has even taught me how to cook some amazing Malay dishes.



I am grateful for the venture Professor Kim and Roz Hussin have offered me because of my connection to DNLE. Not only am I learning from the best for free, my students and my own children are benefiting as well.  The incentives to take advantage of these opportunities have changed my life.

My skills in pedagogy have been refined to transform me reach my potential.

Works Cited


(1) Designing a New Learning Environment. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from


(4) Frisbie, Alexa, (2013). Workshop Education. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from


Peace Game : Global Challenges. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from


Final Team Project, Description – Designing a New Learning Environment | NovoEd.


(n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from


(5) Individual Assignment #1 – Evaluation of 3 Learning Environments or Technologies,


Description – Designing a New Learning Environment | NovoEd. (n.d.). Retrieved


June 18, 2013, from


Individual Assignment #2 – Educational Challenge Scenario, Description – Designing a


New Learning Environment | NovoEd. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from


Individual Assignment #3 – Prescription for a Learning Problem, Description – Designing


a New Learning Environment | NovoEd. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from


Individual Assignment #4 – Learning Classification Chart using Bloom’s Taxonomy,


Description – Designing a New Learning Environment | NovoEd. (n.d.). Retrieved


June 18, 2013, from


Individual Assignment #5 – Response to a Journal Article, Description – Designing a New


Learning Environment | NovoEd. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from


(7) Roz Hussin. (2013). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from and


(8) Citizen Schools.(2011). Retrieved June 18, 2013, from




Appendix A: EPA schedule


Day 1 July 1 for 3 hours

1st hour-We will be using 2 sets of cards.


Banana set deals with their real problems. Parents are too obese to get hired for jobs.

After playing the game for practice so student feel comfortable without the devices we will move to 2nd set.


Iphone set leads to innovation which will empower them to be inventors. Leading to the latest innovation of a voice controlled “Siri” computer that can answer questions, we will let students play with it, then form SMILE questions on devices.


2nd hour- Students will be given design boxes. They will use their inquiry skills to guess was is in the box. If they can guess, they can keep the box. The box contains

rapid prototyping material, building to think of their own inventions to create.


3rd hour- Students will be given tool box with screwdrivers to take apart old clocks, fans, hairdryers, etc. to tinker with how it is made.


Day 2 July 2 for 3 hours

repeat game focusing on innovation, then SMILE questions on devices regarding innovation, design boxes for small prototypes, putting back together clocks, fans, etc. share with group


Day 3 July 3 for 3 hours

repeat game, then on SMILE devices, blend equipment into new inventions they designed. share with group


Appendix B: Flash cards


Banana set Print these (7 pages) on 8 1/2 x 11″ card stock as teaching tools.


Iphone set Print these (7 pages) on 8 1/2 x 11″ card stock as teaching tools.


Print this (1 page) on 8 1/2 x 11″ normal paper as student handouts. Each child gets the “student” version (1-page). Encourage them to use the page, write/draw on it, circle the key words, etc. Make them write their name on the top of the page.


Appendix C: Testing on Elementary Students


1 point -given to you (remember and understand) Category object

2 point meaning, sense- Do people use it?

3 point – What do people use it for?

4 point judge – Does it have pictures or is it just sound?

5 point – Because it is just has sound, is it a cell phone?

6 point- exchange



blank map



1 point given to Charlie – It is an object.

Charlie: Is the object used to help other people? 2 points

Answer: Yes.

Charlie: What do people use it for? 3 points

Answer: Communication.

Charlie: What time period was it created in? 4 points

Answer: The last 10 years

Charlie: How do you power it? 5 points


test 2 Eva

I put a post it with an airplane on her forehead


Eva: is it a boy?

Answer: no


Eva: what kind of job do the people involved do?

Answer: bring people from one country to the other


Eva: what kind of way do they transport people

Answer: airplane


As the game progresses, have them self-evaluate… ask them if they think they reached 4 star? 5 star? and why?


Appendix D: Lesson plans for EPA SMILE Workshop



By the end of this activity, all students have produced 3 questions, of which each question clearly relates to the subject theme.

By the end of this activity, all students have experienced inquiry learning.


By the end of this activity, all students will have the skill to ask higher level questions.


identified BARRIERS and PRIOR KNOWLEDGE SCHEMA that are to be understood before starting SMILE activity

The students probably do not understand Bloom’s Taxonomy levels and need to be introduced to the concept of “level 3 Blooms = being able to define” versus “level 4 Blooms = being able to analyze”


LESSON PLAN on HOW I will overcome the barriers (item 2 above) in order to achieve the objectives (item 1 above).

AIM- to warm up students in inquiry learning by starting with Bloom’s 1, then build to Bloom’s 5.


Day 1 Activity 1




first 15 minutes of

class, warm up



This lesson is designed to teach inquiry learning.




It places a pedagogical focus upon good questioning.


‘Guess Who/What?’ : the simple party trick of common fame that students love. Place a key word/character/concept etc. onto a post it and place it upon the forehead of a student – they subsequently have a limited number of questions they can ask before they guess the term/topic on the post it.




1. Remember- by hiding post it,

2. understand game and better questions,

3. start the next game

4. Create different version of game.


Assessment Criteria:


Students will form higher level questions.


Day 1 Activity 2



30 minutes



This lesson is designed to teach inquiry learning.



It places a pedagogical focus upon good questioning.


What is in the box?


Students will receive a shoe box.


1. Remember post it game


2. understand game will be applied to box game to form better questions,

3. students are allowed three questions to keep what is in the box.


4. after using up their questions, students will create a prototype invention from contents.


Assessment Criteria:


Students will form higher level questions.

Students will share their prototypes and others will ask higher level questions on how it will work


Day 2 Activity 3


1.5 to 2 hours



This lesson is designed to teach inquiry learning.



It places a pedagogical focus upon good questioning.


Tinkering School


1. Remember box game


2. understand box game will be applied to tinkering game to form better questions,

3. students are allowed three questions to guess what is in their device and how it works in order to open their equipment (fans, vcr, old speakers, radio, etc)


4. after using up their questions, students will use screwdrivers to find out what is inside to find out how it works .


1 hour- introduce SMILE


Assessment Criteria:


Students will form higher level questions.

Students will blend appliances to create new prototypes and others will ask higher level questions on how it will work


Day 3 Activity 4



3 hours



This lesson is designed to teach inquiry learning.



It places a pedagogical focus upon good questioning.




1. students will remember post it game and what’s in the box game


2. students will understand that they are to form questions on SMILE now


3. students will apply higher level questions to SMILe


4. students will create better questions to improve their inquiry learning


Assessment Criteria:


Students will form higher level questions on smile playing the game with each other.


end of activity- students can tinker


Appendix E: SMILE/Innovation Workshop Goals






  • Students improve skills in inquiry-based learning


    • Banana flash cards introduce students to inquiry-based learning through the use of familiar items as examples (in this case, fruit)


    • SIRI set will challenge students to use their inquiry-based skills by exposing them to new ideas and tech


    • Through using new inquiry-based skills, students will use devices to create their own SMILE questions (on a topic regarding their community?)


      • Which topic does each group select? (not necessarily “measurable”, but allows us to gain insight into which concerns in their community interest them the most)


      • Do students create 1 star, 2 star, 3 star, 4 star, or 5 star questions?


      • How long does it take students to create questions in the 3-5 star range (and/or how many iterations with instructor)?


    • Students will employ inquiry-based methods learned in SMILE by guessing what’s in their design box before they receive it


      • how many questions did students ask?


      • how long did it take students to find correct answer?




  • Students improve skills in inquiry-based learning


    • Engage again with SMILE game


      • Do students create 1 star, 2 star, 3 star, 4 star, or 5 star questions?


      • Are students able to produce more questions in the 3-5 star range?


      • How long does it take (or how many iterations with the instructor) for students to create questions in the 3-5 star range?


      • Has time improved over previous day?


    • Students will employ inquiry-based methods learned in SMILE by guessing what’s in their device ie clock, radio, hairdryer, etc  before they open it.


      • how many questions did students ask?


      • how long did it take students to find correct answer?




  • Students improve skills in inquiry-based learning


    • Engage again with SMILE game


      • Do students create 1 star, 2 star, 3 star, 4 star, or 5 star questions?


      • Are students able to produce more questions in the 3-5 star range?


      • How long does it take students to create questions in the 3-5 star range?


      • Has time improved over previous day?


July 1 July 2 July 3
Start time
End time
number of students
any adults around
other helpers


profile of everyone involved
student language competency Non-English only, very little English, some English, fully bilingual, English-only
reading competency based on words per minute.
interaction with facilitators How often?  Positive or negative (is child acting out?)
peer interaction Peers shared/took turns using device within teams; peers disagreed about using device …
questions asked to facilitator Categories: how to use device, how to engage with SMILE, how to use tools for projects …
attention span Log how many minutes the student was engaged
comprehension of instructions given How many mistakes are made in implementing instructions?  How long does it take instructor to explain?
comfort with technology How long does it take student to learn how to use device?

Appendix F: Timeline


10  kids grades 2 to 6th

Day 1


Our Teaching Assistants getting comfortable with SMILE


Charlie, Mira, Malik, Sam, Ali, Eva – the team


Andres learning how to make 5 star questions


Jackie making 5 star questions so Sam can guess what is in the design box,

with Malik inputting Jackie’s questions into SMILE


T A’s playing with SMILE on their phones


Nathan guessing what is on the post it. Malik using teacher’s cards


our class watching Nathan guess


Take 2 because the class told Nathan the answer


Take 3. No one knows the answer except Malik


breaking into Pairs to play the SMILE game


Learning how to ask 5 star questions


Guess what is in the design box?


Zachariah asking better questions


Carlos asking better questions


Charlie in 5th grade and Giovanni in 2nd using student Rubric


Sam explaining rubric


Malik explaining student rubric


Eva explaining rubric to Nathan


Jackie inputting Angela’s questions


Malik inputting Zachariah’s questions


Nathan’s turn to use rubric


Team on floor thinking of 5 star questions on what is inside

the radio


Kids asking the TA’s questions because they have it now.


Opening a radio to discover what is inside


Nathan asked 5 star questions  about this clock radio

and is opening it


Angela in 6th grade inputting her questions about the clock radio she is going to open.


Talking about their invention


Seeing what is inside


Angela discovering what is in her clock radio.




Ali and Nathan on circuit board questions


Opening a lynux operating system


Inputting more of Angela’s questions.


Opening an electronic dictionary


Nathan inputting his own questions


electronic dictionary circuit board.


Inside a hairdryer, the screws were stripped so

we went outside and through it on the ground until it cracked open.


discovering what is inside a hairdryer


Redesigning parts into a new prototype


These will be prototyping material for designing inventions for Day 2


Jesus thinking about his redesign for tomorrow


Collecting parts


Robotic heart on left and Eva’s prototype for a free wireless phone on right.


Charlie’s prototype in progress


Zachariah so excited about his robot he is making on day 2


answer: a design box


Appendix G: Advice from Professor Kim

I am now beginning to think about how we might capture the learning experiences and analyzing them.

I am sure you captured some videos of kids while engaged in various stages of the learning. If not, that’s alright.

I wonder what if we gave them a few sets of head-mounted cameras (

Are they all learning in the same sequence/path or do you have some variations? If there are variations, it will be interesting to capture:

1.       How many distinctive steps/stages do they take to come up with a question (guided/unguided)?

2.       Measuring time of each stage (in minutes/seconds)?

3.       When and how do they intervene at what stage?

4.       What is the level of reciprocal interactions between students and facilitator at each stage? (Quality, quantity, frequency, time on incidence, scope, etc.)

5.       Any particular patterns of notable behaviors/attitudes or changes they demonstrate individually as teams?

6.       What triggers them to be more auto-pilot versus passive mode?

7.       Any subject/domain dependency while engaged in the activities?

8.       Is there evidence of expansion of knowledge?

9.       Is there evidence of development in critical thinking/problem solving/analyzing/applying/transferring knowledge?

10.   Any particular words/comments/gestures students are presenting to indicate difficulty, ah-ah moment, boredom, anxiety, progress, mental block, etc. at any particular stage or moment?

Overall, you may want to capture:

Learner profile

Community profile

Constituent profile – who else are stakeholders?

Condition profile – environment, challenge, resources in the environment

Task Resource profile – elements specifically tied with the learning intervention itself

Problem/Task/Activity/ Assignment profile – triggers, given task

Time on task – overall time spent for the entire session / specific time spent on a particular sub task

Type of task – list of things asked to perform

Type of engagement – hands on manipulation, listening, presenting, demonstrating, etc.

Frequency of Engagement – weekly, daily, hourly for the sessions and minutes and seconds for a particular task

Duration of discrete and overall engagement

Time to solution

Path to solution

Evidence of cognition

Evidence of metacognition Evidence of collaboration

Evidence of competition

Evidence of attitude towards task

Evidence of perception of task

Evidence of self-regulation

Evidence of procrastination

Evidence of task selection

Evidence of team member preference

Not all these may be relevant, but if so, please see if you can capture some of them or answer some of them.


Day 2:Timeline


How do LED lights work?


Brevin’s first day. Nathan is explaining how to form questions

What does a rheostat do? How does the diaphram vibrate in a speaker?


Tinkering with SMILE


Zacharya forming his how question on heating systems.


Angela is the only girl who signed up for tinkering. Most girls are in the cooking class.


Jeremiah putting in questions about his rain machine prototype.


Augustine explaining why he loves tinkering:  opening up devices and building.


Elena doing empathy interviews with Angela and Carlos using Stanford design school method.


Eva interviewing Angela for empathy on her leg muscle soreness.


Brevin loves to tinker. He is disappointed that tinkering ends tomorrow.


Sam talking Jeremiah through design process to help with rain machine prototype.


Angela drawing her ideas on an ipad for the first time.


Charlie’s computerized fishing rod to detect fish.


Brevin’s motherboard for his robotic car .


Eva and Angela building their leg massage prototype.


Jackie went through design cards to ideate about how to get a bike so she doesn’t have to rely on the bus. It takes 45 min to walk to school.  Ideas to get 10 others to join her.


Charlie’s new friend Nathan.


Sam is a football player.


Charlie is done with his computerized fishing rod prototype.


I love how Brevin loves to tinker and SMILE


Inside the rain machine.                              Control side of leg massage prototype


Brevin’s remote control car design.                                  

 Eva explaining how their prototype works.

Testing their boat prototype

TA’s went through the design thinking process



Appendix H: Field trip to TECH museum for SMILE


Make sure that we systematize the action-research documentation, and solidify the SMILE design-intervention pedagogy, otherwise we will not get the ROI we expect. At present, we merely started the pilot. Plus, Mira’s current summer camp engagement is not flexible for this cohort. Her access to these kids is limited and governed by a predetermined schedule. Unfortunately, our SMILE pilot for this cohort is only a 3-day workshop, which ends today.


HOWEVER, we could….

  • (1) plan the logistics and finances to sponsor this cohort of students to visit the San Jose Museum later in early Fall,


  • (2) design an “event” where we host an open public “SMILE-competition” at the museum, and sponsor a few EPA students to be transported to, and to participate in, the “SMILE-competition-event”.


For the second suggestion, we could kill many birds with one stone:

  • design the event using the “charrette” pedagogy (timing, teaming, theming, DBL, PBL,  etc)
  • pre-plan multi-facet multi-media field-research documentation (photo, video, audio, head-mounted camera, etc)
  • publicize SMILE (ensuring media coverage, engaging Museum Administrators, inviting various schools, etc)
  • broadcast globally on Google hangouts to create Global Teams (kids collaborate with other kids around the world)
  • and MANY MORE crazy ideas that come to mind…

Possibility of taking the kids to the san jose science museum to do SMILE activity with things in the museum.


media release:

It would be feasible to use the photos of the kids, but not until we get consent forms signed. The earliest would be the week after the 4th July weekend, and even then, I cannot guarantee we get everyone’s signature. Ali and Mira need to get the SoE form that Neha emailed, AND the existing Stanford one that we have been using for the DNLE-book, to be filled out by all the students’ parents and all the TA’s (note: if the TA’s are below 18, they need their parents’ signature too) (also note: the reason we need both forms is because we will be using the same documentation for our DNLE-book as well).


reporting template:

We will be sure to incorporate the items missing from in our pilot version, into the revised version for iteration #2 onwards.

Our objectives for doing SMILE is primarily for action-research. We are using my STeP by STeP method to experiment on building a sustainable and scalable vertical-studio model for implementing SMILE. Which is why our field-notes rubrics and videography documentation is detailed (and still a work in progress). We plan to do a post-mortem of this pilot workshop next week, after which we will revise our lesson plans, field-notes rubrics and teaching flash cards. At that point, we would be glad to send you a copy so that you could use it to supplement your existing reporting template.


Appendix I:

SMILE/Tinkering Workshop Day 1

July 1, 2013

Field Observer Report


This report consists of the field observations from Day 1 of the SMILE workshop as it was incorporated into the “Tinkering” class at the Summer Adventures in Learning program at Bayshore Ministries in East Palo Alto, California.  The first section of the report consists of a profile of the workshop participants.  The second section of the report is a synopsis of the day.  The third section is a description of the field observer’s interaction with one of the students in the class.


SECTION 1: Participant Profile


Start Time

2:35 pm

End Time




Adults Present


Mira Gillet, M.Ed., Instructor

Alison Burek, M.A., Field Observer


Malik (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Sam (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Elena (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Other Helpers


Jackie (?), High School Senior, Teaching Assistant


Eva Gillet, 8th Grade, Age 13, Teaching Assistant

Charlie Gillet, 5th Grade, Age 13, Teaching Assistant



Student Ages and Grade Levels (Fall 2013):


2 students entering Second Grade, Age 7

1 student entering Third Grade, Age 7

2 students entering Fourth Grade, Age 9

1 student entering Fifth Grade, Age 9

1 student entering Fifth Grade, Age 11

1 student entering Sixth Grade, Age 11


SECTION 2:  Synopsis




    Upon arrival, adult from site informed Instructor and Observer that class size was 10 students instead of 20.  Also said that there would be 3* teaching assistants (high school upper-classmen and recent high school grads) in addition to Instructor, Observer, and youth teaching assistants.  Observer revised rubric to evaluate individual students instead of teams.

Instructor and Observer quickly trained TA’s in SMILE rubric. Observer connected devices to the internet.  Instructor set out Design Boxes for later use.


*Another TA, a recent high school grad, increased the number of TA’s to 4; she arrived late and missed rubric training.




  1. Adult from site brought class into room and handed instructor a student roster, which she passed along to observer.  Observer asked if attendance needed to be taken.  Instructor said “no”.


  1. Instructor began class by seating students in a circle.  In turn, three students and three TA’s were called upon to demonstrate “guessing game” with post-it.  “Fruit” flashcards were used as an example.  Objects to be guessed were simple, such as other pieces of fruit, writing implements, etc.


At first, instructor attempted guessing game with entire class knowing what was on post-it; several students yelled out the answer in spite of being asked not to.  Next two game iterations were 3-5 star questions, conducted with only the TA knowing the answer.


Students were able to guess answers in less than 2 minutes each.


  1. The next step was to have been SIRI game, but deviation from lesson plan was required due to unforeseen circumstances: fourth teaching assistant was late, missed rubric training, and brought candy with her (against the rules apparently).  The candy served as a distraction to several students, and she was under the mistaken impression that the next step in the lesson was to for students to get their design boxes and start using them.


  1. At this point, students grabbed boxes en masse.  Two of them ran into the hall with theirs, taking them apart and beginning to play with contents.


  1. Instructor decided to reiterate SMILE game with students working with TA’s (two TA’s worked with two students each) to play the guessing game with objects in their design box.  Instructor checked in with each group to ensure SMILE rubric was being employed effectively.  Observer began taking notes.


  1. Observer quickly ascertained that all students were fluent, “level 5” English speakers.  Began evaluating other criteria, such as attention span, peer relations, etc.


  1. Observer also learned, to her dismay, that her question about taking attendance had been misunderstood; she believed it meant that all students listed on roster were present, and that she could therefore simply assign students numbers 1-10 for rubric purposes.


In fact, “taking attendance” meant that the program staff had used the printed roster to register which students were present for that day, and had noted this on a separate document.


  1. Two students listed on the roster were not present in class; one student who was present was not on the roster.  Thus, the assignment of number to students is inaccurate.  This will require a different presentation of data than the chart she had originally planned to use.


  1. Instructor moved into portion of the lesson in which students were allowed to investigate the inner workings of an object by taking it apart.  TA’s partnered with students to encourage them to formulate 5-star questions related to their object.


  1. Snack break, after which students gathered in a circle to discuss how to use the parts from their machines, and the objects in their boxes, to create an invention.  Observer gathered student information about age, grade level, and whether they had fun.  Asked to rate how much fun they’d had on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most fun, the lowest student ranking was 5, and the highest was “a zillion”.


SECTION 3: One-on-one field observation: can a student create a 4 star question without knowing what an object is called?


FO was wandering the classroom, doing data collection, when she noticed Student 8 (age 7, entering 3rd grade) working on taking apart his object by himself.  She asked if he had a question about his object.


He replied, “What is blue, flexible, striped, and bumpy?”.  They proceeded to play “the guessing game” about his object.


FO pointed to one of the blue capacitors. Wrong answer.


Student 8 clarified: “It’s on the bottom half”.


FO pointed to one of the resistors.  Again, wrong answer.


Student 8 clarified further: “It’s on the right-hand side”.


FO realized at this point that he was talking about a cable that she thought of that color as being “gray”, not “blue”.  However, the student’s increasing specificity enabled her to get the right answer: it was the cable that connected the clock display to the circuit board.  In final form, the student’s question was, “What is blue, flexible, striped, bumpy, and located on the bottom right quarter of the object?”


Student 8 had no idea what any of these objects were called; for that matter neither did the FO.  Yet the student’s highly specific question enabled her to find the right answer while making her investigate the circuit board and thinking about what she was seeing.  Also, in spite of seeing the object as two different colors, Student 8 was able to create a question that made her investigate the circuit board and think about what she was seeing.


FO asked Student 8 to write up his question on the website, and handed him her Android device.  He readily figured out how to use the device.  Then he surprised her: “How do you spell “what?”, he asked.  FO literally had to spell out the entire question as the student typed.  He was not fluent with the keyboard, but clearly had a rough sense of where the letters were located, and was able to type the questions without help.


FO then explained that he needed to provide a multiple-choice answer set that made people think.  The answers right answer couldn’t be too obvious, which meant that the other answers should have some characteristics in common with the correct answer.  He chose the coil (bumpy, but red instead of blue), the speaker (bumpy, but black), and a capacitor (blue, but not flexible).


The FO’s coaching on answer set creation was by no means as extensive as the instructions he had received regarding the quality of the questions.  Yet, he was easily able to come up with a very thoughtful answer set.


As mentioned earlier, the FO did not actually know the relevant vocabulary.  She listed the “blue, flexible, striped, and bumpy” item as a LCD cable.  She later realized that the clock radio doesn’t have a liquid crystal display; the correct term is “ribbon cable”.  She also mistook the capacitors for “transistors”.  Therefore, his answer set does not contain the correct answer, and one of the other options in the answer set misidentifies the item in question.


In retrospect, the FO should have encouraged Student 8 to do internet search on the components of a clock radio or on different types of cable.  This would have enabled him to answer his own question, taught him internet research skills, and helped him learn the vocabulary concerning the item her took apart.




  1. The SMILE site required new log-in every time device went to sleep.


  1. Two of six devices did not connect to internet in spite of each device recognizing the network:


  1. Field Observer did not know that her portable hotspot device would only connect to 4 devices at a time.


  1. For unknown reasons, other devices did not stay connected to facility’s WiFi, in spite of that network being listed by the device as “recognized” (i.e., device has previously been connected, and has been set to connect to that network whenever it is in range).


  1. Didn’t know about mid-class break for snacks and bible story (15 minutes of class time) until arrival.


  1. One TA was late, causing several minor disruptions (misinformed students about what would happen next in the lesson, needed to be quickly trained in the rubric, also brought in a bag of candy that caused distraction).  Instructor had to change lesson plan but adapted smoothly.


  1. Didn’t know class size until arrival.  Observer had to revise chart on the fly.  Such is life.


  1. Observer failed to take attendance. Lesson learned.


  1. Observer is bad at putting names to faces.  Tomorrow, there will be nametags!


  1. Upon later reflection, observer confused SMILE rubric with mere “specificity” and “making you think”, and did not fully consider higher-level Bloom’s items when working one-on-one with her student. This is likely because SMILE training focused exclusively on using website or ad hoc setup, not on rubric.  The only understanding the of the rubric the observer has is from working on the flashcards, which are still in process; the instructor’s understanding of the rubric comes from having read the flashcards, and having been given feedback on cultural setting.




  1. To the extent possible, field observers must know the technical parameters in which they are working (i.e., connectivity of various devices).


  1. All facilitators should be present for pre-class debriefing on lesson plan and SMILE.


  1. FO must take attendance for the accurate assignment of student numbers.


Appendix I: Day 2 Field notes


Field Notes

SMILE/Tinkering Workshop


SECTION 1: Participant Profile


Start Time

2:25 pm

End Time




Adults Present


Mira Gillet, M.Ed., Instructor

Alison Burek, M.A., Field Observer


Malik (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Sam (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Elena (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Other Helpers


Jackie (?), High School Senior, Teaching Assistant


Eva Gillet, 8th Grade, Age 13, Teaching Assistant

Charlie Gillet, 5th Grade, Age 13, Teaching Assistant



Student Ages and Grade Levels (Fall 2013):


1 students entering Second Grade, Age 7

1 student entering Third Grade, Age 7

3 students entering Fourth Grade, Age 9

1 student entering Fifth Grade, Age 9

1 student entering Fifth Grade, Age 11

1 student entering Sixth Grade, Age 11


  1. Before Class:


  1. FO took attendance, assigned name tags, assigned accurate student numbers for rubric evaluation purposes, and ascertained ages and grade level of the student who had not been present the previous day.
  2. TA’s prepped appliances students would be taking apart.  Since the students are young and have small hands, they might have trouble with some of the screws, so the TA’s loosened some of the tighter screws.
  1. Class:


  1. The internet connection was far more reliable.  This may have been due to the fact that we were logged on to site’s “real” network as opposed to the “guest” network.


  1. The students began tinkering and inventing pretty much immediately.


  1. As the students worked, FO went to each one to evaluate their Reading Competency.


  1. This was evaluated by the FO asking students read the Guessing Game instructions, which read as follows:


        1. “Let’s play a game.  I’ll put this post-it note on your forehead and you have to guess what is written on it. To help you guess, I will give you hints in the form of questions.”


  1. The FO asked each student, “If you were going to play this game with me, what’s the first thing you would do?”  The correct answer was “put a post-it note on your forehead”.


        1. Only one student got the correct answer (the only girl in the class, who is entering 6th grade).


        1. Fluency when reading out loud (halting and mispronunciation) did not appear to affect ability to understand instructions.


  1. All students except the aforementioned said they’d begin the game by “asking for hints”.


  1. Two students were able to get the correct answer when FO asked them to read the instructions again.


  1. Two other students were able to get the correct answer when FO asked them to read the directions a second time, and stopped them after the direction to “put a post-it note on your forehead”.
  2. One student was unable to respond with the correct answer even with assistance.


  1. Student difficulty might be due a teacher-student dynamic in which students usually answer questions asked by the teacher, who tells them whether they’re “right” or “wrong”.  If this is the case, it might not occur to students that they could be teaching the teacher.


  1. FO then asked students what languages they spoke at home.


  1. One student, an African American, reported speaking Japanese at home.  This needs to be followed up.


  1. Four other students reported speaking “only English” at home.


  1. Only one student reported speaking “only Spanish” at home.  This was a surprising finding; with the percentage of EPA residents identifying as “Latino”, FO expected more bilingual/English Language Learners.


  1. SMILE questions


  1. Students were instructed to develop SMILE questions regarding the inner workings of the appliances they were taking apart.


  1. SMILE questions and research were completely integrated into tinkering/invention time; students developed questions and completed research while handling appliances.


        1. Students were given a list of vocabulary words to include in their question topics:


        1. Students loosely divided themselves into two teams for this exercise.


  1. Students on team 1 created their own question on the following topics: circuit boards, electronics, microprocessors, switches, and electrons.


  1. Students on Team 2 created a question on LEDs


        1. This exercise required students to research their topic online.


  1. In some cases students needed assistance narrowing them down to do research.  Student 1’s initial question was “how do they fit all these things on here?” (meaning the circuit board).


  1. “Circuit board” was defined for him.  When he rephrased the question to include the vocabulary, he learned that the question was not specific enough to retrieve useful search results.


  1. Eventually, with help, Student 1 narrowed question down to something that produced useful search results.


  1. This demonstrated the need for specificity in asking questions, and also suggests that SMILE questions can be used to need train students in how to perform internet searches.


  1. Student 3, who would later turn out to be the most disruptive student on Day 3, was inventing an amphibious car.  He showed the Field Observer an image of a battery-powered remote-controlled car he’d found online.


  1. The image consisted of a set of wheels with some AA batteries on top. He told her that the car couldn’t possibly work.


  1. FO asked him why; he informed her that there were no wires connecting the battery to the wheels.  He replied that he’d learned this in science class.


  1. This demonstrates that potentially disruptive students can be engaged in the SMILE process, and underscores the fact that “smart” and “well-behaved” should never be conflated.


        1. Overall, students were very engaged SMILE questions and in research, receiving 4’s and 5’s on the “Attention” rubric.


        1. All students except one demonstrated good technical fluency when using their mobile devices.
        2. With the exception of one student who hadn’t attended the previous day, the students created questions quickly in under 5 minutes.


  1. Students were not presented with training on how to devise answer sets, and data was not collected on this matter.


  1. According to Roz, question quality improved markedly since Day 1.


  1. This is likely due to fact that students were creating questions while tinkering, with which they were very interested, and questions had to do with the components of their inventions.


  1. End of Class:


  1. Instructor had the students clean up at 4:30, thinking that was the end of class, as it had been the day before.  Facilitators then learned that class would actually end at 5.


  1. Instructor decided to ask them for ideas to help solve “Jackie’s problem”: one of the TA’s is always late for school because she’s too tired to get up in time to take public transit.


        1. Though students were visibly tired by this point, they brainstormed ways to make EPA more bike-friendly.


  1. Challenges:


  1. The only technical challenge was that the SMILE server crashed one of the iPods, and crashed Safari on another one.  Neither of these affected outcomes.


  1. Some students had difficulty with internet research.


  1. Potential improvements:


  1. Difficulty with internet research is likely due to inexperience in this area.


  1. SMILE could be used to help train them to create useful search terms.   For example, using the SMILE question rubric, Student 1 could rate the following questions:


  1. “how do they fit all these things on here?” (his initial question); versus:


  1. What are the components of a clock radio?”  (the device he is taking apart).


        1. Student 1 learns that one of the specific component he is curious about is called the circuit board.


        1. Student 1 also learns that it is easier to get answers when the question is specific.


  1. Student 1 then searches on the question: How does a circuit board work?


        1. Student 1 learns the specific components of a circuit board.


  1. Student 1 is able to create the specific SMILE question: What is the purpose of the transistor on a circuit board?


        1. Student therefore learns by experience the value of specificity when asking questions, and how these questions enable you to think more clearly than vague ones.


Appendix J:

July 3 Field Notes


SECTION 1: Participant Profile


Start Time

2:05 pm

End Time




Adults Present


Mira Gillet, M.Ed., Instructor

Alison Burek, M.A., Field Observer


Malik (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Sam (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Elena (?), High School Class of ’13, Teaching Assistant

Other Helpers


Jackie (?), High School Senior, Teaching Assistant


Eva Gillet, 8th Grade, Age 13, Teaching Assistant

Charlie Gillet, 5th Grade, Age 13, Teaching Assistant



Student Ages and Grade Levels (Fall 2013):


2 students entering Second Grade, Age 7

1 student entering Third Grade, Age 7

2 students entering Fourth Grade, Age 9

1 student entering Fifth Grade, Age 9

1 student entering Fifth Grade, Age 11

1 student entering Sixth Grade, Age 11


  1. 1:30: pre-class briefing


  1. With so much to do, instructors arrived at the site at 1:30 pm, an hour before class was to begin.  Field observer went over SMILE activity and video parameters with Teaching Assistants (TAs).  They clearly understood the requirements.


  1. Field Observer (FO) planned to use the remaining half hour to photocopy the flashcards so that each student had a copy to use when evaluating questions (per Roz’s instructions), and then to make sure that each TA was logged on to SMILE.  This way, the day’s activities would begin immediately upon the students’ arrival.


  1. 2:05: class begins twenty-five minutes early


  1. Without advance warning from the site staff, the students arrived at the classroom at 2:05, instead of at 2:30 when they were expected.  The students had arrived at 2:35 on Day 1 and at 2:25 on Day 2.


  1. FO quickly designated pairs of students as teams and assigned them to TAs.  Instructor kept the class occupied while FO made photocopies.


  1. When she returned, students were rambunctious, running around the room, continuously asking when they would get to work on their inventions.  They were told that there was something they needed to do first, which was met with a complaints.  It took a lot of work on the part of every adult there to herd students back to their teams.


  1. 2:30 SMILE Quiz (answering questions and evaluating them).


  1. 2 out of 4 TAs were situated on website.  FO got another one logged on; instructor took care of the other one. There were a few login problems, but these resulted from case-sensitivity of SMILE usernames, and were quickly corrected.  Each team got started on their quizzes and question evaluations.


  1. There was enormous resistance at this point.  Students became disengaged, inattentive, frustrated, and angry.  The room resounded with complaints such as “this is boring”, “this is just like school”, and “I hate this”.  There was widespread lack of focus, with only one team of two was engaged consistently and quietly.  One student pretended to be asleep.  Another left the classroom and his team moved outside; later he took a beanbag from the classroom and used it as a sled to slide down the stairs.


  1. After class, Instructor suggested to FO that students may not have been completely disengaged; she pointed out that, at the very least, they were interested enough in the questions to ask who had written them.


  1. 2:45: Video


  1. As students finished this exercise, the FO got them going on the video before the facilitators lost control of the class completely.  She was surprised to find that there was even more resistance to this assignment – complaints, students leaving their teams, and at times, flat-out refusals – because she had expected their frustration to be somewhat tempered by the fact that they were “making movies”.


  1. Noteworthy incident: when asked how he would teach the SMILE questions, one student (who was lying face-down on a beanbag) said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


  1. The FO’s inner classroom teacher took over at this point.  Forgetting that facilitators were not supposed to prompt the kids answers, she reminded him about the “1-star through 5-star” questions.  He repeated that he had no idea what she was talking about.  She left to check on other teams.  Upon her return she asked if his team had done the interview about the SMILE questions, and he repeated again that he didn’t know what she meant.


  1. This student had been in class all three days, and had created excellent questions and answer sets before.


  1. Noteworthy Incident: The only team in which both students were completely engaged consisted of one student who missed the first day, and another student who missed the second day.  FO has not followed up with this, but it was reported that both students rapidly seemed to understand the SMILE evaluation rubric.


  1. Error in employing methodology: Unfortunately, in the chaos, FO had forgotten that she and Instructor needed to demonstrate the video portion of the exercise.   This was to have been a critically important part of the methodology.  It would demonstrate, but not dictate, how the students were to conduct the interviews.  The students would be reminded of the previous two days’ lessons in a way that would not taint the data gathered during the interviews.  This mistake means that potentially valuable data will not come to light when the videos are reviewed, and that the method employed in this iteration of the research is flawed.


  1. Error in employing methodology: Before class, the FO had made scripts and had photocopied them for the students AND the TAs, but she was unable to find them.  The interview was to have been structured as follows:


  1. Student A asks Student B: “Think about everything you did in the tinkering workshop.  How would you teach the tinkering workshop to another student?”  


Then, Student B asks Student A: “Think about everything you did in the SMILE workshop.  How would you teach another student to create 4 and 5 star questions?”  


  1. The scripts being lost, the questions were worded somewhat arbitrarily as the FO went to each team and asked something similar to: “If you were going to teach [tinkering/SMILE to another student] how would you do it?”


  1. This error presents two problems.


        1. The wording of the questions might have gotten the students thinking a little more about what they’d done and applying it to the instruction of another kid.


        1. It is also problematic that the wording of the questions is not standardized.


  1. 3:00 Tinkering


  1. Instructor reports that last year, students were engaged in tinkering right up until the end of the last day of class.  Unfortunately, by the time previous two portions of the lesson were completed, many students had had lost interest.  Several students said they were “done” with their inventions, were uninterested in taking anything else apart, and asked repeatedly to go outside; many of these students used their team’s devices to look at videos online or to play games.


  1. 3:15 to 3:30: Snack


  1. 4:00 Clean-up; break time


  1. 4:30 Solving Jackie’s Problem


  1. The previous day, the students had begun working on a design problem: one of the TA’s, Jackie, is often late for school because she has to get up very early to take the bus, and the busses are very slow.


  1. This problem was in the context of improving the community’s health, safety, and environment.


  1. Most students engaged at least partially with this process, and brainstormed creative solutions to it.


  1. 4:45 What Did You Learn?


  1. With 15 minutes left in class, the Instructor convened the group so everyone could share one thing they’d learned one thing they’d liked, and one thing they’d do differently. By this time the group consisted of 6 students; 2 of the students (brothers) had been picked up by their parents at 4:30.


  1. To the FO’s surprise, every student reported that the class was fun.  Though students had said on previous days that the class was “awesome”, she had expected that the day’s disappointments would color their opinions.


  1. Every student reported that they enjoyed taking things apart, and that from this activity, they learned how things worked.  Several specifically mentioned the “creative destruction” aspect to the class; one student referred to it as “breaking and making”, which the FO thought was a nice turn of phrase.  Most students said they liked Day 2 best.


  1. As far as improvements, one student reported not liking the questions on Day 1. Another student said there should be less talking from grownups (with a sideways glance at the FO), and there shouldn’t be questions at all.


  1. A student who had burned himself several times (very trivially) with a low-temp hot glue gun said that there should be welding next time, as well as “real car parts”, wheels, and more power tools.  The FO agrees about the power tools, being a bit of a junkie in that area.


  1. FO observations


  1. The students were the most engaged with SMILE on the second day, which consisted almost entirely of tinkering.  TA’s went around the room and asked them to create questions regarding their objects.  The students kept tinkering while the TA’s typed in their questions and their answer ets.  This is probably due to the fact that the setting didn’t feel like “school”, and because they were very interested in the objects they were taking apart.


  1. Instructor reported that last year, which consisted only of tinkering/design, students were engaged right up to the last minute of the last day.


  1. After class had ended, Instructor told FO that our class had “all the trouble makers” and that this is why were assigned four TAs.


  1. FO would never have guessed this.  Even on the last day, when students were rowdy and inattentive, the students’ reactions seemed like a normal way to deal with their disappointment at not being able to tinker right away, as well as the fact that they’d been required to do a “school” activity during the summer.


  1. This demonstrates that tinkering – and even the SMILE questions, when they were well-integrated with the tinkering – is an excellent way to engage students who otherwise exhibit behavior problems.


  1. Instructor thinks the “troublemakers” signed up for the class because her blurb indicated that they’d get to break stuff (if they couldn’t open the device using tools, they were allowed to go outside and throw the object on the ground to open it).
  1. Challenges


  1. Logging on to the SMILE site was a little problematic for two of the TA’s, but this was resolved when it was realized that the username was case-sensitive.


  1. As the class was delivered 25 minutes early, students were already rowdy and inattentive by the time they even began the SMILE answers and evaluations.


  1. Students were incredibly resistant to SMILE questions and to the video.


  1. The flash cards seemed to be a real turn-off.  The Instructor pointed out that you wouldn’t begin a game like “Duck, Duck, Goose” by handing out instructions on a piece of paper.


  1. As one TA said, flashcards and worksheet were too wordy.  This might not have been an issue with older grades, but it imposes serious comprehension challenges second graders who might not yet be fluent readers.


  1. Proposed Improvements


  1. Field researchers would benefit significantly from more lead time.


  1. This would have allowed the thorough development of relevant data points as well as evaluation rubrics.


  1. This would allow field researchers the time to inform the site staff that there is an experiment taking place, and that controlled conditions are necessary.  While it is impossible to attain truly “controlled” conditions in action research, especially in an elementary summer school setting, at the very least students need to arrive at class and leave class at the same time each day.


  1. They would be able to secure consent forms before the process began, and possibly begin to collect demographic data as well.


  1. Field observer needs to take attendance and provide nametags for students.  This will the application of evaluation rubrics toward individual students.


  1. Instructor observed that if each two-person student team had a tablet device, it would be easier for them to navigate the SMILE site.  In spite of being a “mobile-based” learning environment, the SMILE web design does not scale to smaller devices like mobile phones and iPods. Those students working with smaller devices had to “drag” around the web page, making them work harder to read questions, answer questions, and rate them.


  1. The flash cards seemed to be a real turn-off.  The Instructor pointed out that you wouldn’t begin a game like “Duck, Duck, Goose” by handing out instructions on a piece of paper.


  1. To integrate SMILE into tinkering, it might be effective for two-student teams to take turns.  One student tinkers while the other student asks them to make up a question and answer set and input them on the website.  Then “it’s your turn”, and students switch places.  This method could also be used while answering and evaluating questions; one student tinkers, the other student types, and the student typing could easily take part in the discussion.


  1. Flashcards should be scaled according to grade level.  Many students seemed overwhelmed by the sheer amount of text on the page.  In my recollections of elementary grade reading material, nothing I encountered had that much text on it.


  1. Conclusion:


On balance, both the action research portion of the workshop and the classroom experience were a success.  Some demographic data has been collected and will be collated and organized in the near future.  Various rubrics have been created to evaluate learner experience and characteristics.


Though the last day was extremely chaotic, we were able to gain valuable data through the video interviews.  The chaos also taught us about changes to the methodology design that will be necessary for future iterations of SMILE.


The FO’s major regret is that the first iteration of this project was employed in East Palo Alto.  This group already will be an outlier; EPA is a largely minority community where many people live in poverty.  Following iterations of the project will take place in Hillsborough, Redwood City, and Half Moon Bay, communities that are largely white and affluent.


Due to the fact that this iteration was essentially a methodological “dress rehearsal”, the data will be skewed in ways that could easily overshadow the ways in which demographic differences affect the deployment of SMILE.  This is especially disappointing given that SMILE has such potential to improve education in less affluent communities.

Appendix K: Day 2


SMILE Day 2:


— Took attendance, assigned name tags, assigned accurate student numbers for rubric eval purposes; ascertained ages and grade levels


— Internet connection was far more reliable; were logged on to site’s “real” network as opposed to “guest”


— SMILE server crashed iPod


—  Interrupted by snack ten minutes in (no set time for snack)


Tried to evaluate Reading Competency.

(5) Reads and understands all instructions fluently

(4) reads and understands basic instructions

(3) able to read and understand instructions with basic guidance

(2) needs help understanding instructions

(1) unable to understand instructions despite assistance


Eval was done by by having students read Guessing Game instructions and asking “if you were going to play this game with me, what’s the first thing you would do?”.  Correct answer was “put post-it note on your forehead”.


— Only one student got the correct answer (only girl in the class; entering 6th grade).


— Fluency when reading out loud (halting and mispronunciation) did not appear to affect ability to understand instructions


— All students except the aforementioned said they’d begin the game by guessing.  The instructions indicated that I would be the one guessing.  This might be due to the teacher-student dynamic in which they’re usually the ones answering questions.


— rubric chart to follow


Collected info about languages


— One student, an African American, reported speaking Japanese at home (?)


— Two students reported speaking “only Spanish” at home.


— Other four students reported speaking “only English” at home.


Invention Time/SMILE Questions about devices


— Students very attentive (rubric chart to follow)


— SMILE questions were completely integrated with tinkering/invention time.  Students were instructed to ask questions with certain technical vocabulary words in them (didn’t take pic of list on whiteboard; hope Mira has a list).  The only one I remember was “rheostat”.


— Very engaged with questions as well internet research.


— In some cases needed assistance narrowing them down to do research.  Student 1’s initial question was “how do they fit all these things on here?” (meaning circuit board).  “Circuit board” was defined for him; it was demonstrated that Google couldn’t answer that question because it wasn’t specific enough.  Eventually, with help, narrowed question down to something much more wieldy.  Case in point about specificity.  Would have been nice to have more time to work on this.


— One student (Student 3), who was inventing an amphibious car, showed the Field Observer an image of a battery-powered remote-controlled car he’d found.  Image consisted of a set of wheels with some double A batteries on top. He told her that the car couldn’t possibly work.  She asked him why; he informed her that there were no wires connecting the battery to the wheels.  He’d learned this in science class.  Good to know they still have those.


—  For questions, students were divided into two teams. Students on team 1 created their own question on the following topics: circuit board, electronics, microprocessors, switches, electrons (how they flow through wires!); Students on Team 2 created a question on LEDs


— All students except one had good technical fluency (rubric chart to follow).


— Students were VERY engaged, getting high marks for attention span (rubric chart to follow)


— Except for one student who hadn’t attended the previous day, students created questions quickly (under 5 minutes)


— Per Roz, question quality improved markedly since Day 1.  Likely due to fact that students were creating questions while tinkering, and questions had to do with their inventions.


— Cleaned up at 4:30, thinking that was the end of class, then learned it would actually be 5; decided to ask them for ideas solving “Jackie’s problem”.  One of the TA’s is always late for school because she’s too tired to get up in time to take public transit.  Students were visibly tired by this point, but brainstormed ways to make EPA more bike-friendly.


Appendix K: 1001 Rubric


1. Has a message such as love, friendship, forgiving, unity, peace, courage, religious, racial, ethnic tolerance, harmony, etc.


2. Reflects real conditions, hardship, or challenges children face in their real life.


3. Based on realities encountered although some stories may be fictional.


4. Has a surprising twist and relief.


5. Inspires and empowers other children.


6. Traditional arching form. Template or Graphic Organizer.




Stanford Mobile Learning Inquiry Environment


Inquiry and Innovation: Inquiry, Innovation, Inclusion, and Evidence.


Saed Awwad


Workshop Education


Farallone Elementary School in Half Moon Bay


North Star Academy in Redwood City


Hillsborough Elementary Schools


Raspberry Pi


CERAS: Center for Educational Research at Stanford


EPA :Ravenswood Youth Athletics Association


Bayshore Christian Ministries


2 million kids in California in poverty


SMILE Flash Cards

Banana set Print these (7 pages) on 8 1/2 x 11″ card stock as teaching tools.


Iphone set Print these (7 pages) on 8 1/2 x 11″ card stock as teaching tools.


Print this (1 page) on 8 1/2 x 11″ normal paper as student handouts.


1001 Stories

Story line


Peace Game Facebook Group:


Design out of the Box


apa sample

Ablett, J., & Slengesol, I.-A. (2000, January 6). Education in Crisis: The Impact and Lessons of the East Asian Financial Shock 1997-99. UNESCO EFA 2000 Assessment. Retrieved May 1, 2013, from