The framework

The framework of this project

Zoom (Online video conferencing software)

Since the distance between Brooklyn and Northampton is not manageable to visit each other frequently for this project, we use Zoom to help us meet online and exchange ideas and feedback.  

In this project, students will meet via Zoom video conferences as group, for about 30-40 minutes long per session, five times during the spring semester.  The primary goal of using Zoom is to create face-to-face interactions between Smith students and 3rd graders at P.S. 147,  in order to create Japanese booklets for young Japanese learners.

I was also hoping that Zoom interactions would give interesting opportunities for P.S. 147 students to speak Japanese with college students who also study Japanese.

Design Thinking

This project incorporates the Design Thinking framework.  We set a goal for each Zoom meeting and prepared for it because Zoom meetings were embedded between each stage of the Design Thinking process.

The meetings over Zoom will support/address the major pedagogical part of the Design Thinking process from “Empathize” to “Test.” For example, Smith students can interview the 3rd grade students to research their Japanese language skills, content knowledge on the SDG topic and their school life in general, etc.  Based on these interviews, Smith students will define what kind of stories will be suitable and how each page should be designed for the readers. During the production process, Smith students will ask the 3rd graders and the teachers for feedback on their prototypes, from which they will create improved test versions of their booklets.  (Smith students created a rubric for written feedback from the 3rd graders to help facilitate oral feedback.)  Before finalizing the booklets, Smith students can observe how the test versions work for the readers before finalizing.

It is essential for us to observe 3rd graders’ language skills, linguistic landscape and intellectual curiosity in order to synthesize them into our booklets.   It is also crucial to exchange feedback so that the booklets will become more useful, meaningful and fun for the 3rd graders. The interactions will provide Smith students with learning opportunities to apply their Japanese skills and critical and creative thinking in creating their booklets.  



  Stage 1: Empathize – Observations 

    • Zoom session 1 – “Get to know each other”

  Stage 2: Define – Proposal “A gist of story”

    • Zoom session 2 – “About school activities”


Stage 3: Ideate – 1st draft “storyline”, start researching your topic of interest

    • Zoom session 3 – “Questions from Smith students”

Stage 3&4: Ideate, Prototype  – 2nd draft “story + images”


Stage 4: Prototype, Revisions – 3rd draft “feedback sessions”

    • Zoom session 4 – “Feedback from 3rd graders with a rubric 1.0”


Stage 5: Test – 3rd draft revision “feedback sessions”

    • Zoom session 5 – “Feedback from 3rd graders with a rubric 2.0 (improved version of 1.0)”

Finalize – Final draft

Printing and publish online – Mail booklets to P.S.147