Relinquishing the Driver's Seat

Celebrating student choice and self-efficacy in an intrapreneurial venture.

Photo of Tiffanie Harrison
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Dragon Printshop is a student-run wide-format print and design facility on the Round Rock High School campus.

I oversee this program as a marketing teacher with my colleague and friend, Sarah Sherrill who is a graphic design teacher.

We've spent countless hours designing processes that we felt would facilitate learning and help the student's entrepreneurial venture run smoothly. At one point we were exhausting ourselves, which is ironic, because things simply weren't working!

This year we decided that we would try something a little different. We felt that if the students were the ones carrying out the work, they would be the experts on how to create systems that would allow them to create and collaborate successfully.

Of course we provided guidance, but our students did the heavy lifting in terms of organizing the layout of the shop, using the Google suite to create work orders and using Trello as collaboration tool for shop management.

A problem that we've always had is a divide between the designers and the printers. Obviously printing could not happen without the collaboration but there were tensions because they didn't always understand the nuance of each other's work. The systems the students have advocated and put into place has closed that divide. While they do have the online (and mobile) job tracking system, they have found that it is important to check in verbally as well. This has built an incredible sense of camaraderie and a positive culture.

Allowing our students to drive their learning has net results that we weren't even expecting. And for that, we are incredibly grateful.

You can follow along in our design and discovery process on twitter, @dragonprintshop!

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Photo of Jill Jensen
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I love that the system the students created has resulted in more collaboration between the students. Kudos to you and your partner for creating a space where students have ownership of their learning!