Our goal: Last weeks goal was to hold our first peer-led class. In essence, a prototype of the analog portion of our idea. The place where people meet and share their knowledge. This will then be book-ended with digital tools to help facilitate the class, aid in the continuation of the class, and encourage students to become teachers of their own classes.
Co Creation: Our first teacher, Phill, was interested in teaching a boxing conditioning class. We sat down with Phill on Wednesday to talk about how he planned to run the class and to talk about ways of using our networks to get students. He had a very good idea of how he wanted to teach the class, and broke down for us the different parts of the class and how he would use the hour. We walked through the different aspects of the class, and had a great discussion about how to find, engage, and retain students.
We then pushed out the details of the class via Twitter and FB, and called a few friends around town who we thought might be interested. By the next day, Thursday, we had 5 committed students, and we thought we were ready to go.
Then it snowed and we had to cancel the class.
What we learned:
1. Scheduling was difficult. Phill works nights as a cook, so he was only able to teach the class during the day. Many of the people in our networks worked during the day, so they couldn’t attend the class.
2. We didn’t have a bad weather backup plan. The weather in Austin is crazy, it was 75 last weekend, and snowing this Friday. Our classes need to have backup plans and or clear communication to all involved what happens when the conditions for a class change.
3. It’s hard to get people to show up on their own if they don’t know someone there, and people are much more likely to show up with a friend. How can we leverage that and encourage people to bring friends?
Quick backup plan. What other classes could we hold with only a few hours notice? Christina (@s0delightful) was nice enough to offer to teach a photography class on Friday night. We met at her house around 8pm. There were 5 of us total, 2 people I’d never met before, but all people that Christina knew. We ate some food, got to know each other, and then Christina started the class. The class lasted an hour, and the time flew by. We all had fun and learned some new things about photography.
What we learned:
1. It was a very social event, starting off with some food and hanging out was a good way to begin. Friends enjoy doing things together. How do you continue to encourage social behavior before and after class?
2. Christina had a lot of props to use while teaching. This was a great way to engage people, and to let us try different things for ourselves. Would a takeaway have also enhanced the experience?
3. Teaching is a scary word. After class when we asked the other students if they thought they could go and teach a class about something they knew, the reaction was – at first – very tentative. After some more questioning, we realized that most of the apprehension was due to the perception of the word teach. When we re-framed the question to be about sharing knowledge with a group of peers, suddenly everyone thought they had something to share. What’s another way to frame “teaching”?
4. Christina mentioned that photography wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when deciding what to teach, but she remembered that Ruby had asked her to show her some tips and tricks about photography a while back. The fact that there was a need present made it easier to pick a subject. How do we encourage people to share what they want to learn with their friends?
As we move forward we will continue to prototype more and more classes. We’ve rescheduled Phill’s boxing class for Sunday 02.06.11 at 11am. Send me an e-mail alex.pappas@austincenterfordesign if you want to come get fit and learn how to throw a mean left hook… from this kid.