MFA Studio Course Project
Make professional development easy for both administration and staff with Chisel. Businesses and schools can benefit by signing up their employees for professional development courses with an easily managed system. Administration can choose, schedule, and manage professional development all within a click of a mouse. Chisel is a self-paced learning website that will educate professionals through a combination of video, group discussions, and assignments to grow their learning on subjects related to their profession.
Research a chosen subject, write about that subject and design an appropriate method of educational information distribution.
The frustration of being in another uninteresting and inapplicable professional development seminar, not to mention that I heard the year before, is what gave me the inspiration for this project. As a teacher, each year days are scheduled in the school calendar for professional development. At the time of this project, I was in my fourth year of teaching, and either the PD sessions have not pertained to what I teach or have been repeated over and over again.
The lack of organization on the administration side with the planning and preparation, but also having to be stuck in the school cafeteria for eight hours is what led to the creation of Chisel.
As I was in the research phase of this project, I remembered the beginning of the book Teach Like A Champion and how Doug Lemov compared developing as a teacher similar to how an artist creates a statue. That also triggered a memory where the President of our school talked about how the students at our school are unfinished and as educators, we need to chip away to make sure they are leaving with the tools they need for life. Immediately a name hit me, chisel. The basis of Doug Lemov’s introduction is how everyone can learn how to use a chisel, and not everyone who picks up that chisel will create a masterpiece from the start. However, every artist practices those tools to perfect their craft. This is exactly what I am trying to accomplish with Chisel.
The development phase of planning Chisel’s features and functions went through several review phases with school administration, teachers, coaches, and business leaders. I wanted to make sure that this achieved what both administrators and employees were looking for when it came to professional development.
“Having to find and schedule speakers for seminars is really stressful and difficult. Chisel would help me with the planning and eliminate working around a speaker's schedule.”
“The ability to work at our own pace and not be stuck in a meeting for hours would really boost morale and productivity. No one looks forward to having to go to a PD day that is crammed with meetings. After several, I’ve already forgotten what we’ve discussed and learned and just want to go home.”
“We have new teachers who need improvement in certain areas of focus like classroom management, while more experienced teachers have already developed this skill. Using Chisel we would be able to assign these areas only to teachers who need them.”
“We send employees to conferences each year for additional training, but we have no way of tracking the success of it. With Chisel we could do all the training in-house at our own pace and planning while monitoring employees' growth.”
The goal of Chisel is to make it very simple, clear, and easy to use for both students and administrators. This was achieved through a very simplistic and minimalistic design approach. As features and new ideas came to mind, I realized a workbook was needed to help show what you learned for administrators to view.