Curiosity Journals for Crafting Collectively Curated Curriculum (How 'bout all them Cs!)

By crowd sourcing community members' curiosity journals, we can practice Innovator's DNA traits...and solve for problems and opportunities!

Photo of Bo Adams
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In Tom Kelley's book, The Art of Innovation, chapter 3 is entitled "Innovation Begins with an EYE." And The Innovator's DNA detailed the five traits that Dyer, Gregerson, and Christensen identified as the skills at the heart of innovative action - observing, questioning, experimenting, networking, and associating. 

So, what if we put people's eyes to work for one another? What if we facilitated students, teachers, parents, and community members using their phones to capture things they observe and that raise questions for them? And what if we pooled these curiosity journal entries as a virtually endless source of potential projects and ventures to use for innovation and people-centered problem solving? What we could create is a new and exciting way for people to collectively create and curate curriculum - tracks of life - that are all about purpose!

Here's how it could work:

  1. People see something that intrigues them - it could be something that works remarkably well, it could be something that bugs them, it could be something that they imagine working so much better, it could be something that's broken or needs some solution seeking. It could be simply something that makes them say, "Hmmm..."
  2. They take a snap shot with their camera phone. 
  3. They upload that image to an email address that sends to a collective site. (I've used Wordpress, Posterous, Google Community, Instagram, Twitter with a Hashtag, etc. They all work well.)
  4. As we people work together on capturing our curiosities like this, we generate a pool of possible things to draw on as projects, design challenges, etc. 

Yes, it really is that simple. The magic is rooted in it being this simple. We just take an act that many of us do multiple times a day - snapping a pic with our cell phones - and put it to work for us. 

By capturing our observations and questions, we can then identify potential experiments to run. We engage the "We are smarter than me" network, and we find patterns and trends and opportunities in our ever-growing collection of posts. 

A group of students could do this in a single class. A team of teachers could do this as a collaborative experiment. I do this with my sons, and we call it #FSBL - father-son-based learning. We've created a course from this method, and we called the course Synergy. And we use this methodology as one of our ways of working in the Innovation Diploma at Mount Vernon. 

A group of schools could partner in this way. Or people in a community. Parents at a school. It's endless in possibility. 

And it's simple. We just have to each commit to the practice, develop the habits, and make the time to collaborate on the back-end of the collection process, so that we can transfer those curiosity journal captures into new products, processes, tweaks, innovations, and solved problems. 


NOTE: A number of the Ideas that others listed here at The Teachers Guild have further inspired this thinking and potential acting. For example, Julia Goga-Cooke wrote about questioning; Carolyn Wendell wrote about Innovation Walls; Gavin Cosgrave contributed his Preflights; James Campbell wrote of Cultivate What You Celebrate; Brent Brownell ideated on Innovation Meters; Richard Brehl posted about Opportunity (or Challenge) Boards; and Dea Jones reminded us that Twitter Hashtags could help us pool ideas. This practice of Curiosity Journaling is simply another way to help connect and put into practice the exceptional ideas of the people gathering here. 

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Potential for Impact: Imagine this solution had near perfect implementation. To what extent would this solution bring about a culture of innovation within a school or classroom?

A lot! This solution would greatly bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 50%

Somewhat. This solution would somewhat bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 50%

Not much. This solution might help with other things, but I don't see it really bringing about a culture of innovation within schools or classrooms. - 0%

2. Feasibility and Fit: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: If this solution were available to me right now, I would be able to use it with relatively low investment. (i.e. money, time, or skills).

Strongly agree (this solution strongly aligns to my/my school's current capacities). - 25%

Agree. - 50%

Neutral. - 0%

Disagree. - 25%

Strongly disagree (this solution would take a big lift in resources to pull off). - 0%

3. Adaptability: I could imagine this solution working well in a variety of school and classroom contexts across a diverse set of needs.

Absolutely! I could see this working for a variety of schools and classrooms with different or unique needs. - 75%

Somewhat. I could see this working for many schools and classrooms, but it might need some adjusting to fit a broad diversity of contexts. - 25%

Not a lot. This seems like it might be better suited to only a few contexts. - 0%

4. Scalability: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: This idea could be adopted by an ever-growing number of teachers or students without requiring significant changes.

Strongly agree (this solution could easily scale without any significant changes). - 50%

Agree. - 50%

Neutral. - 0%

Disagree. - 0%

Strongly disagree (this solution would require significant changes in order to properly scale). - 0%

5. Desirability: Do you wish this solution were available to you right now?

1 - Not a lot. There's not a big need for this right now and/or we use something already that fulfills a similar purpose in my school or classroom. - 0%

2 - 0%

3 - 25%

4 - 50%

5 - A lot! There's nothing like this already and I'd love to have it in my school or classroom. - 25%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Yong Yee Chong

This is an interesting idea. Would love to test it in Malaysia too if you permit :) Perhaps in a small group of children.

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