Redesigning Public School Systems : A Qualitative Study Into The Potential For Utilizing Idealized Design To Create The "Next Generation" Of American Public Schools
Pickering, Trace Douglas
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The problem. To consider an alternative to traditional reform strategies and strategic planning, the intent of this study was to inform those interested in designing school systems capable of meeting current and future learning demands of the possibilities of Idealized Design as a design methodology. Specifically, the problem was to analyze the impact on participants in the process and their perceptions of the possibility of the new design for their school districts. Participant perceptions were described and recommendations for employing Idealized Design made. Procedures. Qualitative methodology was employed due to the contextual nature of Idealized Design. Twenty-nine teachers, administrators, board members, and community members from two school districts involved in the Idealized Design process were randomly selected for interview and provided the opportunity to respond to a survey. Fifteen members participated - eight via face-to-face interviews and seven through an open response questionnaire. Through these open-ended interviews, questionnaires, a document review, and participation in the meetings, the impact of Idealized Design on the designers and their perceptions of possibility for the Next Generation of schools were analyzed to develop conclusions, implications. and recommendations. Findings. Respondents did find that their perceptions about schooling and design had been altered through the Idealized Design experience. Respondents felt a greater sense of commitment to the work and felt that the breadth and depth of their understanding regarding the current set of interacting problems they faced were markedly improved. They also indicated satisfaction with the amount of stakeholder input during the process, leading them to feel more confident in pursuing significant changes for their schools. Conclusions. Idealized Design appears to have the potential to impact the way in which stakeholders view both the problems their community schools face and the solutions afforded them. Recommendations. Communities desiring to utilize Idealized Design need to carefully consider their context and work to ensure that such a process can succeed. Idealized Design has potential for districts and communities wishing to alter the conversation around education. Idealized Design is a complex and involved process that requires professional assistance until the methodology becomes more widely understood and practiced.
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