Immersion, Inspiration and Real Outcomes

What if teachers learned DT and then used it to design curriculum?

Photo of Lisa Yokana
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January 13, 2016

Evolved again... Had an amazing chat with Melanie at EdX who was thinking of this as an online PD course! I love this idea. What if, you could sign up for this course and do the DT challenge online: redesign the airplane seat experience? You could be paired with another person online and have to interview them via GHO. You could then go through the design cycle with prompts and share your 'pitch' via a video that you upload getting feedback through comments and even having people vote for their favorites. 

Then you could go through a whole design cycle with your own curriculum. What if there were a board where you posted what lesson or unit you were working on--integrating DT? You could search through the posts with tags that could narrow the lessons posted by subject, grade level, etc. What if, say, history teachers from across the country could share their ideas on a WWI lesson or unit and work together to incorporate DT? And then teachers could go back to their own classrooms with their prototype and teach the lesson, then reflect online about what worked and what didn't. What if teachers could use the course to reflect on their own practice as they begin to integrate DT? What if, you tried something and it didn't quite work, but you could put it out there as a question for the collective and get others' feedback and ideas they had tried? It could become an amazing place to collaborate on curriculum and support each other as teachers begin to use DT in their classrooms. What if the course became a collaborative repository for lessons that use DT? And what if there was also a piece about student reflection and engagement so that teachers/administrators could begin to gather proof that this approach works? What if part of the course was designing effective assessments for the projects? Again, it could become a collaborative venue and repository. 

I feel like this might have a pretty big impact. 

When I first began teaching AP Art History, there was an online list serve where teachers could post questions and ask other AP teachers for help and suggestions. This really helped me and I have always thought that there should be an online platform that could support all of us as we do this authentic work and integrate DT into our classrooms. It could allow all of us to connect and share across distance, disciplinary silos, time differences and schools. It could be a powerful platform and make real change. 


January 6, 2016!

From thinking and dreaming and talking to others, the following thoughts have emerged:

Top down work doesn't "take"--true change in thinking/teaching comes when teachers get inspired and have TIME to work together

The idea that we are all in this together and that teachers want to help their students and better equip them for the world is at the center of it all. If you start there, then it's hard for teachers to not get on board...

Inspiration works! Teachers (and students) get excited when they see the possibilities of DT in the classroom. Then add time and others ideas to the mix and you get some pretty great lessons!

Ultimately, I want to change education, one educator at a time. I think this is one way to get the movement started.... Open to all ideas and iterations! Please help!


December 22, 2015

Overview: (What’s this idea about):

Instead of top down PD, teachers want to identify their own needs to improve their practice. Reinventing their curriculum and teaching real skills to students through using DT is a concrete place to start. By practicing DT and then using it to redesign curriculum, teachers leave PD with a real lesson or unit to prototype in their classroom immediately! 

Potential Impact: (Why is this an idea that promotes continued growth?): 

You go through the DT process and use it to design curriculum. You leave with something real to try. You do the lesson in your classroom and see how well it works and how engaged your students are. Design Thinking then takes over your life and you redesign everything!

Value/Prop Pitch: (How would you pitch this to other teachers in your school? Your principal? Etc)

Learn DT in a hands on challenge based project and then use the methodology to work on your own curriculum. You will leave with concrete tools to teach 21st century skills.

How Do I Get This Idea Off The Ground:

Identify a place to prototype this PD, like a teachers' institute. Teach it once, then reiterate. I have led this course a number of times and it has led to DT taking off in our district K-12 with teachers adapting it to their level and subject area. 

How You Can Get Started:

Find a group of interested and open teachers. Pick a day to get together and rework curriculum. Have them come in with a lesson or unit that they want to tweak or redo. Then use the group to bounce ideas around. Start with 'This is what I'm thinking and this is what I am trying to do.' Work for a couple of hours. Then share again with the prompt: 'This is where I'm stuck. This is what I don't know.' Having people share out what they are thinking and where they are stuck allows for the collective to respond. You can use all the brain power in the room to help move others forward. Once you have a group of believers, the power of DT helps it spread! Students talk about their experiences. Parents get excited. Other teachers want to know what it's about!

Original Post:

December 8, 2015

I'd love to collaborate! Comment and add to our google doc.

http://docs.google.com/document/d/1zhMCuQPAfDrLQGohKRv3KRqsdF99epnGsbiIaNZGuiU/edit?usp=sharing

Please contribute... the idea is evolving!


What if PD began with a Design Thinking exercise like 'redesign the airplane seat experience?' Then teachers heard from other teachers about how Design Thinking had been used in their classrooms to facilitate learning experiences for students-in other words examples that served as inspiration. Then teachers could use Design Thinking to reimagine their own curriculum in a collaborative environment. What if the How Might We's became how might we facilitate learning experiences for our students through which they would understand _______________? Teachers would identify the content or concepts that they want students to master and then work backwards to create a question or challenge through which students will experience this information in a hands-on, challenge based manner. What good is PD if it's not inspiring? What good is PD if nothing concrete emerges from it? What good is PD if you can't take what you learned back into your classroom and create better experiences for students? 

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Do you love this idea?

Yes! I love this idea. - 100%

22 comments

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Photo of Lynnette Wilson
Team

Hello Lisa and fellow like minds,
I have been involved in learning about DT and I love the potential it brings to changing a schools focus. However this was posted 2015 and I'm 2 years behind. The curriculum focus is of interest for PD to teachers whose mindset is fixed on achieving credits. Have you achieved your purpose in creating a collaborative DT online community?

Photo of Avnita Bir
Team

Loved your idea and especially the premise on which it is built. That PD should not be "top down' but more of sharing, collaborating with co-teachers and classroom stories of the aha moments as well as the dips. The troughs and the peaks. We have a closed facebook community of teachers where we share these and since facebook is almost ubiquitous, it helps collaboration in real time. 

Photo of Kevin Jarrett
Team

Love this, Lisa! the response you describe - spreading throughout the school - is the key outcome and evidence that matters most. I'm keen to understand the approach you used, how it was rolled out (the nitty-gritty details), what teachers said & did in response, what went well, what could have been better.  

I wonder though if we might replace 'curriculum' with 'lessons' or 'learning experiences,' since, in many districts the phrase 'curriculum writing' has connotations and specific implications (read: something people are stipended to do.) I could totally see individual teachers, or teams, take this on for a specific lesson or unit ... gradually building confidence ... until the consensus essentially becomes ... we should do this for ALL curriculum writing!

Then again, in an organization where the leadership is already pro-DT, this could simply be rolled out, explained and supported - but from an organizational change perspective (and having seen so, so many similar initiatives struggle and fail) - change from the bottom up is the most powerful.

What do you think?

See you soon!

-kj-

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

We think alike! So Scarsdale has a Teachers Institute which allows teachers to teach teachers. I've taught a few different iterations of this course and also led workshops at other schools around the country. It works best if teachers self select-by signing up for it, but I've also done it for entire staff at private schools, where the teachers are ready for it. Either way, immersing people in DT through a challenge like redesign the airplane seat or the gift giving experience allows them to experience and begin to understand the real skills that it teaches. It also helps them understand how anxious some of their students will be with the open-endedness. Then showing some exemplars of other lessons and projects across disciplines gets the creative juices flowing and primes them for the work. Then the actual planning and writing can happen after that. And as I remind people, you are creating the first iteration of this lesson or unit and you will test it with your students, take feedback and reiterate!

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Was looking at Claire Yates post on Who should we talk to? and thinking it might work well with the conversation here about exploring a variety of perspectives for curriculum design. 

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Anyone want to collaborate on this idea? I've started a google doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zhMCuQPAfDrLQGohKRv3KRqsdF99epnGsbiIaNZGuiU/edit?usp=sharing
You have to request access apparently but DO! I need help. Our students need help! Our world needs help and we need to help one another....

Photo of Kevin Day
Team

Yes, please!  But first, a question:
There are a few of us teachers at my school who are more and more convicted by what design thinking might open and unleash for our school family....  But there is not a dt culture at our place yet.  Would you recommend...:  that I begin with, say, an all-dt summer school offering (I'm about to offer my first summer school course this coming summer, and I'm pretty sure I can do whatever I want)?  Perhaps this is the right "low-road building" to tinker, take notes, collaborate radically w/students -- and then share the story with the rest of my school?  I've already reached out to a couple co-conspirators (our art teacher and our lead 6th grade teacher) to invite them as "silent teachers" -- that is, to let them collaborate on all/any aspects of designing the course, and then I'll teach it over the summer (and they can follow progress from a distance)....

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Absolutely the way to go. This is how we started here. I've done many iterations of the summer PD course and am happy to collaborate! Want to talk sometime? We NEED to spread this and the way to do it that I think is the most effective is to do a grass root movement and then tell the story!

Photo of Kevin Day
Team

Hey there, Lisa -- I'd love to catch up more personally...!  What a treat - and an honor.   @knowKMD
kday@asds.org

Photo of Caroline King
Team

Interesting in collaborating. Design Thinking is a great way to change PD

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

I'd love to collaborate! Comment and add to our google doc? https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zhMCuQPAfDrLQGohKRv3KRqsdF99epnGsbiIaNZGuiU/edit?usp=sharing

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

Lisa, can you revise your original post to include this statement -- the invitation into the Google Doc?  Would love for more people to see it. Also, I like when every time you update the original post, just move the older post below and post the date (maybe with a line).  Helps people see the process, and become more comfortable with seeing this as a work in progress. 

Photo of Ashley Haskins
Team

I love this! I love the approach to working backwards from the concept or standard to be taught to come up with a question or challenge for their students to explore. This makes for the whole learning experience. Brilliant!

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Thanks! Help me make it into a national PD model. I think it works and would love to use it to impact millions of teachers....

Photo of John Faig
Team

Lisa Yokana I think a model would be very helpful to both introduce DT to teachers and create a model so teachers can more easily design curriculum with other teachers.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
Team

I agree, this would be a strong way to spread a DT mindset within the school. 

Photo of Kevin Day
Team

This is so timely.  I find myself more and more compelled to translate my 8th grade U.S. history course through design thinking... thinking.  This would be an early experiment at our school of this -- but we are a school that values Socratic questioning and project-based learning, which I sense would be our way "in" to such an experiment.... 

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

I have tons of Social Studies projects at the high school level and we have even redesigned an entire course. Email me if you want connections and help. I love doing professional development workshops!

Photo of Paul Kim
Team

Hi Lisa,

I am also a social studies teacher who has redesigned courses that now have design thinking at their core.  Would love to know what you have done.  Can we exchange course information?  I am about to ask for   Thanks, Paul

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Absolutely! Email me or collaborate on the google doc...

Photo of Paul Kim
Team

Kevin,

Design thinking aligns well with both Socratic Inquiry and project-based learning.  

Photo of Margaret Powers
Team

It would be very cool to see more teachers explore DT and use it when designing curriculum. I know there are teachers and administrators exploring this idea now. I wonder if you can invite them to share insights about by posting this idea to social media (#dtk12chat, etc) and other design thinking communities? You could also connect with Charlie, who posted about Coaching with Design Thinking