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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.

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Great Idea

Genius Hour is taking hold in the innovative corners of education-world. Seems like it’s more popular in elementary classrooms where students spend a good chunk of time in the same space versus high school rooms where students typically travel six or seven times a day. Genius hour fits easier into the extended block of learning time rather than into a core class which focuses on about an hour of same-subject instruction.

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Education Is Not About Answers

Questions and Answers

In the grand scheme of education, the focus is almost exclusively on answers. Teachers teach students how to get answers. Students repeat those answers on homework and tests and more tests. Report card grades and test scores provide reassurance that the proper answers have been received and tallied.

This is the natural flow of education and has been for over 300 years since the first public school appeared in the United States. Whether the innate desire for correct answers originated with the advent of public education or was the result of the evolution of American culture is more of a chicken-and-egg question. No doubt that the need to have answers and to have the right answers is part-and-parcel of daily life anymore.

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What is #DesignThinking?

It Begins With Empathy

Puzzled looks…reactions of disinterest…blunt statements of I don’t know what you are talking about.

Design Thinking cannot be explained easily because Design Thinking must be experienced. Although there are steps to follow in the DT process, it is more about the why and less about the how.

DT can be used to solve virtually any problem that may exist.

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Kids with Digital DNA

What do you know about Generation Z?

These are the kids who are in currently in elementary and middle school. Gen Z is uniquely different than any previous generation and the advances in technology have a large part to do with that. We call them ‘digital natives’. They have never known a world without computers or internet. That alone is a mind-blowing-crazy-idea for anyone over 25.

How do analog parents cope with digital kids?
How do veteran teachers handle the lightning-fast learning needs of this new generation of student?

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Growth Mindset

All year in MindWorks, we have been focused on growing our intelligence. Our two big themes have been grit and curiosity. We have learned about brain development and knowledge acquisition, determination and believing in yourself, fixed and growth mindset. All of these ideas are so valuable to young adolescent students as they grow into the future.

There exist some classic one-liners we all say at one time or another that show us we are in fixed-mindset-mode… at least temporarily. So we made a bulletin board for our classroom… growth mindset reminders radiating outward from the middle.

Shuffle Up & Deal!

Game On2015-05-13 06.44.21

If it was a secret before, it will be no longer…I love Poker.

That’s right. The age old game of cards and clay chips is one of my preferred pastimes. To some it is a game of chance; to others a game of strategy. To me, the potential of rolled up aces over kings makes every trip to the table a true adventure.

In Poker we use the term “pot committed.” A player is pot committed when he has bet enough money that—regardless of the strength of his hand—it would be better to keep betting until the end.

In the overall mission of Never Summer, I am pot committed. I am ready to push all my proverbial chips across the table because I am ALL IN.

D stands for Design

Like a Splinter in Your Mind

Everyday, we see things differently than the day before. With fresh eyes and insight, the world presents new questions seeking answers… new situations to be encountered… new problems requiring solutions.

When we choose to make positive change in the world, we open ourselves up to discovering unique gifts and talents within and we become designers. People who want to move mountains to make impossibilities become possible.

To design is to create adventure!