Sunday, November 15, 2015

Build teams at Olin College in Spring 2016

When we share our mission with friends, acquaintances, and strangers, it's very easy for them to picture themselves as a contributor on a build team. They imagine observing and interacting with a classroom and bringing their own particular set of skills to the table with the teacher in order to co-design worthwhile solutions. For two teams of students at Olin College of Engineering, their interest has led them to take the next step. In the spring, they will be collaborating with a local school in the Greater Boston Area, working with members of the community there who have passion and vision, but not necessarily the time or the tools.

These teams will be the first to deploy in partner schools under the School Shaped banner, so we’re very eager to see what kinds of work they will achieve. We have a lot of confidence in Olin students, their ability to learn and adapt on the fly, and their capability of producing compelling work.

Their success is our success, so we’re providing them with as much guidance, support, and counsel as we can. Imagine how chaotic it would be to leap into a partner school community without careful coordination and planning! We want our teams to start off on the right foot and to continue strong throughout their partnerships, so our input comes partly in advance, partly Just In Time, to ensure they receive precisely the help they need. Socially, we provide our build teams with exhaustive guidelines on how to engage with partner schools, teachers, classrooms, etc. We share best practices with them, and schedule periodic check-ins to help them course-correct as they go along. On the product side, we arrange design reviews with professionals in the field to provide feedback and guidance on how to proceed. On the technical side, our teams receive tutorials, access to our distribution platform and app management service, and even debugging assistance. For enterprise viability, we are partnering with incubators around the country to provide our build teams with the best possible chance of receiving connections and funding - essentials for launching a business once one of their solutions captures their imaginations. Finally, everyone benefits as we document and share each team’s observations and lessons learned, and as we spread the message that our efforts are enough to bring about positive change, one classroom at a time!

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