Leiden project meeting, Teaching with objects July 4 and 5, 2022 /

On 5.12.2022 and 6.12.2022, the project team of Teaching with Objects gathered in Leiden for two full days of brainstorming. Goal was to (1) share the first outcomes of our research, interviews with teachers and lesson observations (presentation); and (2) to build on that knowledge, and, more specifically, place ourselves in the position of those individuals and groups that - both directly and indirectly - could benefit from our work and our 'product'. 

By 'product' we mean the website that we aim to deliver by the end of our project in 2024. Although it is very clear that there is an urgent need for a webspace that promotes and enforces the practice of teaching with objects, the project team was still searching for the sweet spot: how can a website help as many practitioners as possible, and how do we avoid the building of a 'one size fits none'? In order to help us define the road ahead, the project team invited Wendy STEFFENS, allround UX/UI researcher and designer. 

Wendy Steffens introduced us to the concept of 'design thinking': how do we create something that our audience would really love to use. Through group exercises, Steffens had us emphatize with the various actors that are involved in object based teaching: the role of a teacher (one that feels comfortable with object based teaching, one that is new to the subject), but also that of a student. What does s/he feel, see, do and think about the introduction of objects into the curriculum?

In the afternoon, we focused on mapping out a full cycle of object based teaching, from teaching goal to exams, and with a cycle duration from a few hours to a whole semester. What is the situation before, during and after such a cycle, and when and why in such a cycle does one feel motivated or demotivated? As in the morning program, we used the same persona, since the teaching program will affect the teacher and the students in different ways.


Taken together, the exercises provided us with new perspectives on our project, and a clearer view on the task ahead. The second day of our meeting was then dedicated to the translation of day 1 into a game plan for the coming time, including a plan that will indeed result in the definition and development of a webspace that will help teachers that teach with objects. Our main takeaways in bullet points: