Author: Elaine Menardi

Heading off on a new adventure! I solve problems and make ideas happen.
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Green Hands Brigade

#DesignThinking in Action

ICYMI.. this is how it all started: HMW start a recycling program at our school?

Green Hands 2A fiery group of 7th grade math students want to make a difference at their school, so they have decided it’s time to put the words into action. All it took was a bunch of empty copy paper boxes and some green paint.

We worked through the design-thinking process:

Empathy — Define — Ideate — Prototype — Test.

MindMaps led the way as each student took a turn writing ideas and questions on the whiteboard. After a lot of excited discussion and strategizing, they are ready to test the plan.

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Towers of Power

One of the hardest things to figure out from social media is whether or not something is real. And even more important, if what you find is accurate.

Most definitely, there are trusted sources of news and other information that we can turn to for facts and a variety of data. But in the world of internet, everyone has a voice and sometimes that collective voice is loud and overwhelming.

20150917_150811For this blog post, my point is this:

As a teacher, I have no idea how anything I do in my classroom compares with what happens in other teachers’ classrooms.

Why? Because in the social-media-cybersphere, everyone else has brilliant students doing amazing work with unlimited physical resources and enthusiastic support from everyone involved in the educational process.

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Tools and Tips for a New Year

So Little to Do… So Much Time

Strike that… Reverse it. On we go!

Classic Willy Wonka… and so opposite of what this time of year is all about. Public school teachers and administrators maxed out trying to get ready for students to reappear for another year.

It may seem like odd timing to dive in and learn new tools for the classroom now with so much professional development looming in the coming days before students arrive, but this is a perfect time. JumpStart: DT Primer just launched for busy educators like you.

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Educators United

What does it mean to be educated?

A recent report by TNTP — The New Teacher Project — asked the question:

Do we know how to help teachers get better?

Their report titled The Mirage has caught the attention and focus of many educators on Twitter. There is much to consider in their findings about how to make professional development for teachers better and more effective.

Perhaps an underlying question that all educators must ask first is this: What does it mean to be truly educated in the 21st century?

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Google Makes Life Too Easy

I Bet You Can’t

Did your parents ever play this game with you? They would say “I bet you can’t… run to the refrigerator and get me a soda in less than 10 seconds.” You got into your best trackster stance and waited until they said On-Your-Mark-Get-Set-Go! Away you sprinted to the fridge while they pretended to count.

Almost every kid has done this… and if you didn’t learn it from your parents, then chances are good an older brother or sister tried it out on you. It probably worked a few times, maybe more, until you wised up and said something like “Go get your own soda!”

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How-To vs. Go Do

What’s the Diff?

Jess and I have been talking about design thinking a lot lately. In fact, we had an epic video-making session this morning where we answered some specific questions on why it’s critical to use design thinking in education and how it benefits students. We are crafting an online course called JumpStart: DT Primer to give you some tools that you’ll be able to use immediately. Should be ready in about a month. Stay tuned.

One question comes up over and over that I want to address here and now:

What is the difference between using design thinking to teach content and teaching students how to design think? Isn’t that the same thing?

Well, the quick answer is No. Those are not the same.

One is a delivery system and the other is a learning process.