Being Me is an online social learning network developed for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Being Me is currently being used in the Quest to Learn School in New York City.

In addition to common social network features, Being Me includes applications that enable students to engage in a range of practices from self-reflective moments to community-oriented activities. The activities range from tracking their feelings to participating in online discussions, critiques and shared perspectives.

Quest to Learn is a public 6–12 school with an innovative educational philosophy developed by top educators and game theorists at The Institute of Play. The school uses game-based learning to foster learning by doing to develop skills in critical thinking, problem-solving and choice making.

Problem to Solve

How to foster engagement among 6 – 12 year old students in a range of practices from self-reflective moments to community-oriented activities? How to support staff in awareness and responsiveness to the academic and wellness needs of the students?

Tasks

Work with community to identify needs of students and staff, create mapping and onboard flows of processes, develop wireframes for game designers, visual designers and educators, user test prototype with community, and launch site by start of first term.

  • User Research
  • Mapping and Onboard Flows
  • WireFrames
  • User Testing
  • Launch Site

Solution

Build a secure social network platform that fosters community engage across all community roles through skill sharing, academic support and wellness activities.

Results

Students are able invent their own virtual space for expressing their needs and communicate and share their experiences among peers and the wider community. Data generated by the students regarding their academic work, self-directed interests and wellness helps inform future decisions for supporting the community.


User Research

Worked with students and staff to develop a set of user stories and experiences.

As a Being Me user, I want to have a private, safe space so I can express my thoughts and reflect on my emotions without fear of others finding.

As a Being Me user, I want to have access to skill and emotional resources so that I can successful lay out plans to achieve.

As a Being Me user, I want to experiment with ideas, projects, and practices so that I can try on different roles without being penalized.

As a Being Me user, I want to see evidence of my progress and choices so that I can see how much I’ve grown overtime.

Functional Flows

The network is complex and needed to be understandable from different levels and by different audiences: developers, graphic and game designers, and teachers and administrators. Developed design friendly flows for visual and curriculum designers that allowed them to focused on one discrete task at a time in their process.

Wireframes

Developed a series of wireframes inform the decision making process for the final design of the network.


Results

A trusted virtual space for students, teachers and administrator to share skills, and foster personal expression community wide.

A book was published detailing the research and development of Quest to Learn school. It includes how Being Me was integrated in the curriculum and community.

Salen, K. (2011). Quest to learn: Developing the school for digital kids. MIT Press.