Monday, November 28, 2016

FDS Innovation Leader Certification

This learning journey was inspired during the #GoogleEI #TOR16 Google Innovator Certification when @LesMcBeth enthusiastically presented the Design Thinking process. Design Thinking embodied the mindset process of problem solving and prototyping, which aligned with my class program sparks, sprints and prototyping! Only, we take our ideas to production all leading up to our class annual @McMBusinessDay event. I needed to learn more and further refine my understanding and class program. So, I registered and started a month ago when I excitedly entered the MaRS building @MaRSDD, into the small office space of Future Design School @fdesignschool. There I was greeted by several other educators who also wanted to continue promoting an innovators mindset in their own classrooms.

Following short introductions we launched into a collaborative group icebreaker of stacking cups with the provided supplies. This was followed by a timed individual task of drawing a systems model for ‘How to Make Toast’ capturing how each of us represented information visually with variations of steps/procedures (I can’t wait to go back to class and do this activity with my students!).

This is when I realized that we were going to be ‘doing’ the Design Process as part of the learning within the certification course: beyond just talking about it.  Awesome!

@LesMcBeth took us through defining a challenge while going through ideation, validation and rapid prototyping. Throughout this process there is time embedded for the opportunity to test, offer feedback/critique and rethinking: leading to several iterations of a prototype.

A refreshing take on this is looking through the lens of empathy. Identifying the needs of the user and to continue to be inherently optimistic.

Our next group task was to each individually complete a ‘User Needs’ template addressing “How might we…”. The focus for us was “How might we provide constructive feedback in assessment that encourages intrinsic motivation in students?” This was followed by a Crazy 8’s challenge to come up with various ways to approach the challenge. This is a timed task, 40 secs per section and the brainstorming is done in 5 minutes, thus allowing us to pull out ideas under the clock without overthinking or second-guessing ourselves. From here, we transferred our individual ideas from Crazy 8’s and created our storyboard. Each of us presented our storyboard to the group and then co-constructed and create a collaborative group flow chart. Awesome! Through each unique “How might we…” our team Systems Model encompasses positive/optimistic doable elements that remains focused on the ‘user needs’.

We wrap up our day with a design challenge presented to us:
What do you love? What breaks your heart?
Our prototyping will be in the form of an app created in, which gives us the flexibility to create digital or paper screenshots of screens within the app design for others to test.

Now this was an amazing Day 1!
Over the next few weeks each of us worked on our “How might we...”. A much appreciated form of communication was connecting and sharing in Slack: one stop messaging, collaborating, and archiving links, pdfs and so much more.  Furthermore, encouragement throughout this learning journey was the opportunity to participate in weekly Google Hangout sessions to share ideas, ask questions and set up for the next tasks of the Design Process for prototyping our app.

Day 2:

We start off the morning with a 4 corners icebreaker focused on our ‘comfort zone’ engaging us in valuable discussions from fixed to growth mindsets based on life experiences.

Laura @msharrison10 walked us through a design sprint she engaged her students in during #dotday @FablePaul @peterhreynolds taking in ideas from students which lead to the collaborative creation of a class mural. Reminding us that the Design Process can vary based on time commitments depending on the challenge presented to students.

We then spent some much needed time to discuss and then independently create our “How might we…” statement for integrating the Design Process into our class programs. We focussed on our ‘user needs’ being the student(s), made curriculum connections and then created our storyboards. The best part is each of us left with a new collection of ways to integrate within various grades and subject areas. We received feedback and held further discussions on instructional strategies and practices we haven’t considered or not yet heard of (my personal favourite resource is Artful Science of Instructional Integration).

Then, each of us steps up to present our 3-minute pitch our empathy prototype giving everyone a chance to take in our app design and business model.  Mine had undergone several iterations and I received even more effective feedback to bump it up further. Kinda wish I could bring the app into the production stages.

We wrap up our day with the presentation of certificates recognizing each of us for the completion of the Future Design School Innovation Leadership Certification course.

It has been an honour to learn alongside so many passionate educators who, like myself, seek out ways to engage & enhance students’ learning experiences through design thinking and innovation.

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