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Go to the Gemba

Session 5
Carey Pohanka — St. Christopher's School

Inspired by Deb Adler’s talk at TedxRVA about her experiences as a designer and “going to the gemba”, I realized that we are “designers” of the student experience in our schools. “Gemba” is a japanese word that refers to the place where all the action happens. As an academic technologist, my gemba is the student using technology in their classes. Though I thought I knew what that looked like for our students, to be honest I wasn’t sure.

Inspired by her talk, I embarked on a project in my school to find out what the actual student experience looks like. We make decisions and changes based on what we think will make their experience more valuable, but is it really happening?

Joined by my colleagues, we set out to research our student technology experience in PK-12 to find out what is working and what changes need to be made. We shadowed students for entire days and conducted surveys of students to see what their days were like.

In this session, we will share our findings as well as the way our project changed how we look at our role as designers, not just technology coordinators.

Conversational Practice

In this session, we will practice a "gemba circle" and reflect on the process of going to the gemba. Each participant will leave with an action plan for designing their own gemba.

Conversation Links

Presenter Profiles

Carey Pohanka
Carey Pohanka
St. Christopher's School


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