Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Worth Reading

Sharing a few goodies I came across over the past couple of weeks.

1. Making Education More Like Real Life Through Design Thinking (Gray)-the application of design thinking principles at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School (MVPS) in Atlanta GA.  Mary Cantwell, the school's Design Thinking Coordinator, forwards the DEEP process for tackling problems.

Cantwell's DEEP method of DT has four modes. The modes are Discover, Empathize, Experiment, and Produce. Active learning is a part of the Discover phase where students immerse themselves in observing and asking questions. In Cantwell's Empathize mode of DT, students begin trying to understand the user by gaining insight into their situation and needs. They collect their feelings, gain insight and a point of view about the areas being explored. The actual task of study is identified at end of the Empathize mode. They consider the user or beneficiary of their solution, and what would work best for them. 

2. This Impeccably Designed House (Fast Company)- Auburn University program where students design rural houses.  Example of how to link students to their community and also position students to make a difference in communities through designing sustaining products.

3. Oregon Students Create Digital Game-Based Lessons for Peers (Davis)- program at the Raleigh Hills K-8 school in the 40,000-student Beaverton, Ore., district in which students are creating online, game-based lessons for their peers.

"This started out as an idea from an adult," he said. "But it didn't turn into anything great without that collaboration from the students...This opened a lot of eyes to the capacities that our students have."
Students can play a larger role in their own education and that of their peers, and educators and parents should recognize that, said Jonathan Rosales, an 8th grade student at Raleigh Hills who also spoke at the SETDA event. "We don't get much opportunity to show what we can do," he said. "You're teaching your kid and your kid is teaching you."

4.  Six Thoughts About Curriculum (Reilly)-  pushed views about what is curriculum and about the process of developing curriculum.
Curriculum is iterative, not like addition, but like collage.

5. The Biggest Lie Students Tell Me (and How to Turn It Around) (Vilson)- how to respond to when students say I can't do this.  Forcing a different mindset for students and also for teachers.
This statement is perhaps the worst possible offender, and we have layers to this that we ought to unravel. If students say it often enough, they can prevent themselves from giving an honest effort toward learning the material. The student gets to fall back while the teacher explains and re-explains the material, which might have gone from a more implicit, constructivist explanation to a straight-up "This is what you do!"

6. Business and Philosophy (Alain de Botton)- shares commentary about the intersections between business and philosophy.  Reminder to all of us about the possible intersections between disparate content areas and the need to have students not compartmentalize school.

At first sight, philosophy and business seem worlds apart. Business is concerned with hard practical decisions, made under competitive pressure, with imperfect knowledge and always with an eye to the bottom line.
Philosophy on the other hand seems to be preoccupied by fascinating, but non-urgent questions about the meaning of life and the nature of values, ruminating on the human condition with no particular end in sight.
However, I think there are some critical areas of intersection and that business can become stronger (which means not only more ethical, but also more fruitful and meaningful) by absorbing some of the lessons of philosophy. There doesn't have to be a divide between profit and value.