Week 12 Reflection on a Failed Project: Marko and I

When planning a project and beginning to work on it, it is important to, at some point of the planning process, address the possibility that a project can fail unless certain measures are taken to ensure its success. With our focus group project, we did what we were not supposed to: we jumped right into starting the project, gathering participants and choosing a wide variety of people to use while gathering data. But, before I get into that, you may be asking yourself: what is a focus group? A focus group is basically a group of people, usually no more than fifteen persons, with individuals chosen at random to decrease the likelihood of similar opinions on a topic.  The point of the focus group is to collect qualitative data about a product, idea, recent change, or anything on which people may have an opinion. Participants are asked questions regarding the topic, which in our focus group was the iPad in a 1:1 school environment, and are urged to discuss their thoughts about each question with the host of the focus group and with other participants. Our idea was to gather sixteen students, two of each gender from each grade, and conduct a focus group, asking peoples’ opinions on a 1:1 school environment and how the change from notebooks to iPads affected them. Below is our list of questions that we were going to ask the participants:

Anyway, as I was saying before, our enthusiasm got the better of us and we jumped right into gathering participants for the focus group and designing the questions. Once we had our group of people, we hit the roadblock in our project: how would we be able to get sixteen people, all with vastly different schedules, together in one room for a certain length of time? We had to eliminate lunch because the freshmen and sophomores had a different lunch time than the juniors and seniors. Picking one period would be insane because one person’s study hall would crash with another person’s class. We could not ask people to stay after because those were after-school hours and nobody is obligated to stay after, not to mention that some people have sports right after school so that was definitely out of the question. As for the morning, some people came in later than others, and realistically we would not have enough time to hold a focus group in the short time before classes in the morning. Not only that, but people would be showing up at different times and the majority, if not all, would be more tired and less likely to provide good data in the morning as opposed to in the afternoon when they are more awake and alert. We did not want to do an online chatroom-type thing because that would get chaotic too fast and we wanted to record the focus group to use in a video as part of our data collection. Our idea had fallen apart.

Image from pauldunay

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We did help two kids this week, one from the nest door ELL classroom who came in right before the bell rang (grrr). The student, who Marko and I know from Robotics Club, claimed that after he “dropped his iPad at home,” the screen would remain black and wouldn’t turn on. Just in case, we asked him if he had made a backup of his iPad’s contents (iCloud or USB cable), to which he unfortunately replied no. So we tried the next best thing, a hard reset (by holding down both the power and home buttons for about 15 seconds). Voila: the Apple Logo appeared. We were in the clear!

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