Like our fellow grantees, we were delighted to hear we'd won funding from Grant for the Web. Once we received our funding, we set to work on implementing the project delivery plan. The discovery phase was relatively straightforward but unfortunately the real world experience of Covid-19 has meant delays in the design and development of key deliverables.
At a Design Club, children draw and sketch from their own lived experiences, or those of people they know/ imagine. They upload these sketches to Marvel App to create digital prototypes. There's joy and wonder in both parts - offline and online.
As we said in our November blog post, Reboot: Latest Meetup, idea definition and experimenting with teacher-led, the GfTW funding creates a brilliant opportunity, but it's limited. Our online resources need facilitated delivery in the real world, but the real world has been turned upside down. We need to experiment with different models for remote delivery - see for example, Design Club at School 21, delivered by digital product agency, Elsewhen.
The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has mostly halted all but essential real world interactions. In the UK, where Design Club is based, changing social rules (from lockdown to tier restrictions and back again) and shifting government policies have put additional pressure on schools, children, teachers and parents. Introducing additional activities or new ways of working must be done with care and sensitivity.
Because of the difficult real world situation, we have applied for a time extension.
We now aim to finish this project by summer 2021.
Our main objectives for this project are:
1. Best-in-class design education: To enable more design clubs and activities for children by providing teachers, volunteers and parents with a wider range of projects and activities.
This is still our aim. We are working out the best strategy to get there! We ran a short series of Facebook Ads, using Facebook Forms, to find out what educators wanted. And one of our volunteers is speaking to mentors and parents to find out how remote and blended delivery might work best for them. We have created a second, more diverse set of People, along with further, more topical Challenges. We are producing more project handouts and an ethical design helpsheet. But we have also realised that wider range is not necessarily what our users want, they also need a clearer path through each app design project.
2. Global reach: To create accessible video tutorials so we can engage a diverse, international group of mentors and children.
This goal is particularly tough when so many children on our doorstep here in the UK are in crisis. We have had exploratory chats with a school in Kenya and a design educator in the USA. Once our video tutorials are up, they will be accessible to a global audience.
3. Web monetization (for Design Club and others): To learn how Web Monetization could play a role in funding Design Club and share Web Monetization opportunities with our mentor community, supporters, and fellow online educators.
We've implemented Coil and are taking micropayments. Once we work out the best delivery strategy for Design Club, we will be able to look at monetizing certain bonus elements.
1. Resource Hub: We're in the process of refreshing existing content and adding new items; we've already created a new deck of People and Challenge cards with diverse personas and environmental and social challenges especially designed to resonate with children now. We've also created an interactive Challenge Generator.
2. Video tutorials: We plan to create a short series of "how to" tutorials for teachers and home-schoolers in February and March, to support delivery of Design Club activities in the summer term. Ten of our expert mentors have agreed to share their "pro tips" on delivering each stage.
3. Coil messages: Our campaign to drive signups to Coil has been pushed back until our new website and other resources are ready to be used.
4. Coil landing page: Likewise, our landing page to help onboard community members to Coil will be launched at the same time as our Coil campaign.
5. Redesigned website: We're in the process of rebuilding our website using Webflow, a best-in-class no-code development tool.
6. Blog posts: So far, we have published 2 out of at least 6 blog posts (both linked to above, in the project update), charting our Web Monetization journey. This report will be adapted and shared as blog post number 3!
We've been posting public updates about this project on our Medium blog (specific posts cited above) as well as regular updates on our four social media channels:
As mentioned above, we have applied for a time extension. We now aim to finish this project by summer 2021.
We have completed the discovery phase of our project, but design and development have been delayed. We still need to complete these phases, and start on live testing, evaluation and iteration.
We feel like we're just at the start of our journey, but a clear direction is beginning to evolve. Design Club's mission is to create the next generation of design thinkers. The past 12 months have shown that creative, empathetic design thinkers are needed now more than ever.
And this time has made us more determined than ever to build on our existing values, especially inclusivity and empathy. It seems to make sense to tie the positive potential of Coil and Web Monetization into some kind of campaign promoting a healthier internet in general, and identifying Design Club's role in that.
We're still thinking...!
We’d love to speak to existing contacts in our London network who are already using Coil (Terence Eden, Cubic Garden, Newspeak House) and hear about their journeys so far.
We're keen to learn how others are promoting the benefits of Web Monetization to their communities, and how they are engaging new users. We have concerns about converting people to a new way of behaving online, especially one that costs them money up front!
We're super happy to follow and connect with other grantees, and support like-minded projects. Please leave a message here (or pop by and say hello on any of our socials)!