The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme presents a raft of new challenges for many schools, not least the need to engage larger than usual groups in the planning process. The OurNewSchool game is intended to provide help. The Game was developed through a design-led project with Walker Technology College in Newcastle, a school embarking on its BSF programme.
The game provides a structure to workshops in school, helping staff, students, governors and members of a Local Educational Partnership and others to explore design challenges together.
The Senior Leadership Team of a school would be a great at this game and it provides a context for senior manages to involve a larger number of staff in the activity of planning.
In addition, the game can also be used by architects and designers as a way of developing their understanding of the issues that schools face and could be a great getting-to-know-you tool in initial meetings with a school client.
The idea is very simple. OurNewSchool the game helps groups to work together to create a mind map of relevant challenges, strategies and ideas. The structure of the game and the various sets of cards help the group to identify issues around the day to day management of a school as well as issues of school planning and development. BSF provides a motivation for schools to develop new ways to plan but this game isn't necessarily limited to BSF planning.
School days are busy and many planning meetings happen at the end of a long day making them less productive than they could be. Playing the game will generate one or many mind maps and hopefully a great deal of insight and a number issues and opportunities for the school. There is also huge value in taking time out as a group to do some planning.
The game contains four sets of coloured hexagonal cards plus a few other cards that are used in the game.
The grey cards contain a set of challenges that are common to many schools.
The blue cards make suggestions in response to the challenges that are probably familiar to many Headteachers.
The yellow cards offer suggestions that are inspired by the way that many designers work. Many of these approaches were used by Walker Technology College as part of their OurNewSchool project. The challenges and the suggestions came from the project team at the school and from the designers at Engine.
The pink cards are used to trigger ideas. All will be explained.