Near the end of last school year, we wanted to send a gift to school and district administrators as a token of appreciation for their partnership and their work supporting students. I'm a designer at Panorama and was excited to work on this end-of-year surprise for clients. To up the ante from previous years, I suggested that we create a poster from our dataset that captures feedback from 500,000+ (now well over one million!) students about their teachers and school using the Panorama Student Survey.
Panorama got its start by helping districts understand and act on student feedback, so student voice was a natural theme for the poster. After iterating as a team, we landed on the message: Student Voice Counts. This message worked well because student voice matters when districts listen to their students through surveys (and other ways like giving student leaders a seat at the table). Plus we help to make sure every student’s voice is heard in schools and districts through friendly and accessible survey reports and exploratory tools, so the word “counts” took on a duel meaning.
Each dot on the poster represents a single student who shared their perspective with their school or district using the Panorama Student Survey. I used Processing to read the data, create the image and export a PDF to send to the printer. The color and gradation of dot density was driven by the survey response data. This helped create depth and texture to make the poster — hopefully — visually compelling enough that educators would want to pin it up on the walls of their school.
Xan Tanner, co-founder of Panorama, made the following remark after a visit to a district.
“…every time I walk into a school building, I’m moved by the vibrant energy of the people and environment. It’s not just the students and teachers, the energy is also in the bulletin board and in the drawings on the walls as well”
Everyone at Panorama feels inspired when we visit schools, and we wanted to create a poster that would look right at home in a superintendent or principal’s office or in a school hallway alongside student artwork. It is rewarding to see the poster being hung on the walls of our partnering schools across the country. I hope that educators and staff will be reminded of the important work they do everyday when they walk past it. As my design teammate Roger Zhu has made the analogy before, we at Panorama are striving to be the sidekick to our super hero educators.
If you're interested in printing a poster for your school or classroom, visit Student Voice Counts. While you're there, check out the Student Voice Counts video, featuring students talking about what student voice means to them.