Design for Onboarding (Tutorial), Habit-Building (Grind), and Mastery (Elder Game)
Starting with young people, design training and activities to build on previous knowledge using civic building exercises combined with awareness and empathy exercises to illuminate barriers to the process that exist for many.
The concept was based on the design challenge "How might we create flexibility in the voting process while building community and increasing long term knowledge" it was developed by Kelsey Ruger who sent me a summary of the work that his group did and the process that they built a framework for. This description is based on that group work.
We want to address a few core issues that were raised - the age of poll workers and getting more young adults involved in the process of managing polls, start the disability and civic learning process started earlier with a combination of games, and hands-on-experience. We also want to provide a method for people to learn about dealing with disabilities at the polls outside of election season.
Design for Onboarding (Tutorial), Habit-Building (Grind), and Mastery (Elder Game) - Starting with young children, design the training and activities to build on previous knowledge using civic building exercises combined with exercises designed to raise awareness and empathy for those who don't have the same ability to access the process.
Portable Training Centers & Tools- Build pop-up training centers to teach kids how the civic process works in real-time. Also teach them accessibility awareness by introducing real disability issues at their polls that they must discuss and manage.
Ultimately we envisioned a series of age appropriate games, books, card decks and hands-on training kits that would be used at the elementary, middle school, high school and university levels. High School and college students would earn community service or college credit for volunteering at polls or teaching younger children as a part of the training. They would use the pop-up centers to model their voting process after what they will experience when they vote in the real world, hopefully reducing the confusion and problems they might experience at polls.
How will this concept improve election accessibility for everyone?
Working vision statement from the group: We believe that the best way to teach about equality and access for all is through action oriented learning. We want to create a services that enables cities and states to actively teach civic skills and an understanding of how to deal with disabilities. This will ultimately create a more universal voting process.
How well does this concept adapt to the changing needs of different voter communities?
The process of creating the training exercises will be designed for flexibility from the start. The core idea is to create adaptive trainings that are relevant to a wide range of settings and demographic groups. As a result, as the needs and technologies change to accommodate different voter communities, the exercise design will have built in mechanisms to respond to those changes.
What kinds of resources – whether time, money, people, partnerships, technology or otherwise – will be needed to get this concept off the ground?
The concept will require a fairly extensive community collaboration. First, a school based partner will be needed to pilot a program to add both elections and disability information to any general civics training (or creating something to fill the gap, if there is none). An experienced accessibility partner can help develop lesson plans along the lines of this concept. It may include several lessons for one age group such as middle school or more likely, lessons that span a few years. Next, a University research center partner would be helpful to design a methodology for measuring and evaluating any pilot that is launched. This might be someone with experience in disability, education, or political science or some combination. Ideal will be if training pilot would include people from the independent living centers to be sure that people with disabilities are included and actively involved in developing the concept - remember "nothing about us without us. It would also be very helpful to have a partner with elections experience to be the subject matter expert as the training content is developed. Such participation could help ensure that the lessons/activities are grounded in reality. Resources would therefore be needed to engage partners to participate and to compensate them for time invested in creating and piloting a few lessons as a way of proving the concept.
My Virtual Team
The primary inspiration was the team assembled in the face to face workshop in Atlanta that worked on the challenge "How might we create flexibility in the voting process while building community and increasing long term knowledge?" Another inspiration is the engineering/games lesson plans in TryEngineering. They are complete packages that teachers can adopt, complete with all the educational alignment info: http://tryengineering.com/lesson.php On OpenIDEO, the inspirations have come primarily from the "Explore through Empathy" and "Understand the Democratic Process". A Gerontological Approach was an especially inspiring piece as well as My Voice, My Vote .