Often, you hear children talking about how they dislike school because it’s boring, not interactive and simply not for them. As a former child, I could relate to this. But it did hurt my heart a bit, now knowing the importance an education had on my life. Simply put, children don't like school and this hurts their education growth.
What if school was the place where elementary students, ages 7-12 were presented with opportunities to discover their calling in life?
I conducted my research through 3 phases. The first being casual conversations with children to confirm my early hunches. The second being online surveys that were sent out to children in my target audience. This is where I found out some striking data that informed the rest of my work:
60% of children said:
•They had NO opportunities to learn about what they love in school.
80% of children said:
•They have a desire to learn more about what they love.
Moving forward to the third and final phase: in-person discussions with a classroom of 3rd graders! Here is where I found very intriguing information that propelled my into my design process.
•75% of students said they would like to learn more about their passions
•80% of students said they preferred earning using technology over books
•95% of students said they learn more when they can talk about it
Once the student is registered, they enter LIFTOFF which is broken into 3 main parts:
The dashboard acts as the "home" of LIFTOFF. Auto-generating digital news pages, videos, online journals, interviews and more based upon the interests selected in registration, the dashboard is a place of learning about topics ranging from Bob Ross to the importance of honey bees.
This is where college students can get involved. After registering at their university, college students are able to "go live," in categories like creative, science, athletics, and more. They will be live in the classroom, in the lab, and anywhere where an interesting, educational moment may be taking place. This will allow children to search through the categories, watch the stream, and ask any questions to be answered in real time.
Continuing with the collegiate mentors, the final part of LIFTOFF is the messaging section. Again, using the registration tools, the app will automatically connect the elementary students with a handful of college students who are majoring and studying in the areas of interest. This allows for direct conversation between student and mentor (still student) in an educational atmosphere. The children can ask general questions about college, specific questions about an area of focus, or simply ask for advice from a friend.
Altogether, LIFTOFF gives unique opportunities to students that are overlooked by the current educational system in America. Children are allowed to have a say in what they learn and are able to go about it in their own, unique way.