A Focus Group

Yesterday, my son did an afterschool focus group with eight middle school kids at the school where I teach. Since he lives in the East Bay, it was a long drive. I don’t think he’ll make it here often.

The students were great. They started off very quiet, conscious of their peers. However, very quickly they warmed up to the topic and presenter, giving their opinions on various characters and scenes for a program my son is developing to help kids learn to be better peer teachers for each other. It can make a huge difference in the large classes we have in schools, where teachers can’t possibly get to everyone all the time.

It’s a beautiful library at our pre-k-through-eighth grade school.

For the focus group, they chose which aliens they preferred, that they would be motivated to play against for math problems. My son was surprised that the students thought the design young for them, since it was designed with middle schooolers in mind. What would be their favored motifs? In the end, they had a lot of opinions about the format and figures, showing a lot of affinity for the alien creatures.

Some of the user testing has been with schools in India. My son met a student from India when he taught sessions of Stanford Splash. Twice a year, the university hosts middle and high school students from all over, for two-day teaching events that college graduates and undergrads run; the apply and propose topics. My son’s were on teaching. The boy from India has turned out to be a major asset and enthusiast for PeerTeach. He suggested trying the program out in his home town of Pune.

Girls at S.E.S. Gurukul School in Pune, India
S.E.S. (Saraswati Educational Society) Gurukul School

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