Hello, I’m Andreea Vlad. I’m a UX designer here at the NHSBSA and I’m currently working on ‘Contact the BSA’ – a digital transformation project that helps users get answers to common problems. I also co-run the ‘Accessibility Community’ with Chris Moore who is a Front End Developer. I also work closely with Robert Djaelani, one of the User Researchers who work on the NHSBSA’s Overseas Health project.

Together, we all helped to set up a day of activities for the pupils of Gibside school, with lots of help from our Technology and Digital teams.

Autism Awareness Week

The 1st – 7th of April was Autism Awareness Week, an event that aims to raise money and awareness for the National Autistic Society.

The National Autistic Society says:

“Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.”

For more information, visit their website.

 

What we did

Gibside School specialises in providing a happy and nurturing environment, facilities and opportunities for children (2 – 11-years old) with special needs.

We had the pleasure of having the Gold class be our guests for the day on 04 April. We were hoping to show them who we were, what we do and how we work on. So we organised some activities for the kids to take part in that replicated the digital delivery processes at the NHSBSA. It was more fun than it sounds…we had Lego!

 

 

How we did it

We gave each pupil a flyer with information about the day and a checklist for them to fill in when they’d completed the activities. We found that it was important to prepare the kids and let them know the structure for the day.

Activity sheet for children with tick boxes for each task they are going to do.

We started with a ‘magical’ tour of the NHSBSA’s Digital Delivery Hub, hosted by Michelle Quirk, Will Cooper, and support from Chris Suter. It’s easy to forget as we’re so used to it, but our Digital Hub has a lot of cool tech! The kids had a great time drawing on smart TVs, sticking things on the magnetic walls, playing with Alexa and Artificial Intelligence (AI) photo recognition technology.

After the tour, we hired some actors (unprepared NHSBSA colleagues) to host a mock stand-up to show how we work and to introduce a Kanban style board to the kids as they’d be working on their own Kanban board later on.

NHSBSA colleagues standing up and showing children smartwall with post-it notes.

 

Lego

With the tour concluded, it was time for the main event. We gathered in the boardroom and had the children work through activities relating to ‘Research’ and ‘Design’, before finally moving on to ‘Development’ and ‘Testing’ their outcomes.

Summary of the main four activities:

  • (Stage one: Research) Draw a character, creating personas and going through research
  • (Stage two: Design) Draw a garden (prototype) for your character to enjoy
  • (Stage three: Development) Build your solution out of Lego pieces
  • (Stage four: Testing) Match the drawing from task two with your Lego building from task three and see if anything changed

 

Children working with lego on a table

We showed the kids their own Kanban board and they happily engaged with moving the tasks into the correct stage, such as ‘To Do’, ‘In progress’, and ‘Done’.

One thing we learned was the importance of adaptability. As soon as Lego was mentioned the group never stopped asking about how long it would be until they could play with it… And who can blame them? But we were able to keep them focused by using the board and having them update each task.

As a break, we all took a stroll outside the office and observed some of the wonderful wildlife we have on our doorstep at Newburn Riverside.

Overall

It was a great experience. We were focused on creating a remarkable experience for the pupils from Gibside School. We also took away plenty of learning points and improvements for future sessions.

I think the highlight of the day for the pupils was building a garden out of Lego, but they also seemed to really engage with the new technology.

Children and NHSBSA staff stood next to wall with post-it notes stuck to it.

The pupils loved working with Lego and were really passionate about the task. What was interesting, however, was how some children found it difficult to build a garden from scratch, but could easily rebuild a structure they’d built at home from memory. When you’re used to using a particular piece of technology or working in a certain way, in this case, building a garden out of Lego, it’s easy to see how your ability to innovate can be more difficult to accomplish.

It was very rewarding to see the children work through this challenge to build some fantastic structures.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped on the day, either by talking to the kids, showing them things, or being involved in demonstrations.

I’ll now pass over to Gibside School to find out more about their experience:

“Gold class were lucky enough to visit the NHS Business Services Authority to see the exciting work they do. We were given a tour of the Digital Hub and saw everyone working very hard. They let us write on their working wall and fabulous touch screen. We were also shown some amazing technology that could recognise what was going on in a photograph – We had a lot of fun with that! After the tour, we created a character, designed a garden for them and then made it out of Lego. We had just enough time left for a team photo and to say a big “thank you” before we went back to school.- Gibside School via Social Media (Facebook)

Children and NHSBSA colleagues gathered around a large table with a laptop on it.

Loading Likes...

Leave a comment