When foundry10 began, we consciously sought out ways to take non-traditional approaches to everything we did. By starting out talking directly to teachers and students, we flipped what most people think about when they consider educational research and philanthropy.
Over the past five years, we have been able to see first hand how human centered design and learning are a natural fit. Both from a broad, organizational level, all the way down the most granular elements of our design process, foundry10 draws on these concepts to create value for kids. As a philanthropic educational research organization our objective is to expand the ways in which people think about learning. We decided to approach this monumental task through a people-centered organizational structure and a focus on student and educator voice.
Today we will be highlighting some of the ways in which HCD is woven into our structure, culture and the work that we do everyday. Our highly collaborative approach to research often occurs in applied settings (with some experimental work) and thus requires flexibility and an understanding of humans as learners within the educational system and as everyday people. Our work crosses over both academic and professional fields, and bridges a gap between the technical and real human side of the problems we are trying to solve.
We will share examples and stories that span from how we have structured the organization and its growth, to our formal research studies, to our students and programs, and finally, our sharing strategies. We hope that our work inspires and energizes others to consider new ways to holistically approach HCD.
Lisa Castaneda has a Masters degree in Education and was a classroom teacher for 10 years before starting foundry10 in 2013. She is a co-founder, along with Gabe Newell, and the CEO of foundry10 which is a philanthropic educational research organization. Her research includes work in traditional educational interventions, virtual reality, video games and learning, vocational education, as well as educator professional development. Over the past several years she has helped foundry10 grow into an international research organization that also provides programming and philanthropic benefits to thousands of students.
HCD has always been present in Tom Swanson’s work from his time in marketing agencies to building intuitive and useful programs for students. As the first employee at foundry10, Tom has been finding ways to keep the organizational culture and structure growing while remaining grounded in the HCD principles that differentiate it from other research groups. In terms of programs, he focuses on games and learning, digital audio production, virtual reality, digital and information literacy. Within the organization, Tom has been a part of the development of intuitive and employee-centered policies, structures, and practices.