Sunday, October 14, 2012

Design Thinking: Technology and Space

I will be co-leading with Stan McDonald a roundtable session tomorrow at the Ohio ITSCO Leadership Symposium.  Below is the framework for the Table Session Discussion . . . 

Design Thinking: Technology & Space
So what is Design Thinking: Technology & Space?  It is your team’s creative vision for the educational environment in regards to technology. It should shape your Personal Learning Network and your leadership decisions.  Discussion points will focus on the following:
•Technology and Instructional Practice
•Faculty Meetings

Guiding Questions for the Table Session*:
What is the vision and/or design drivers for your school?
How do you utilize school space and technology to shape teaching and learning?
*We are looking to have a discussion where everybody shares what they are doing in regards to the guiding questions and talking points.

Vision/Design Drivers
What is your vision for your school/district?  Is it clear where your school/district wants to be in a year, three years, five years, ten years? What are your design drivers or big rocks (i.e. collaboration, project-based learning, interdisciplinary curriculum, etc)?

What we have been doing: We have focused on being a great high school that strikes a balance between implementing the best of traditional educational practices with the best of progressive practices. Part of that focus has been how to we leverage technology and create inspiring learning spaces that promote a rigorous and relevant curriculum that allow students to collaborate and harness their

“And you walk up and down and you see that relatively few people are using our books. Right? Which raises an interesting question. Why are they here? Well, partly they’re here for computers and Wi-Fi, but mostly they’re here because it’s an unbelievably inspiring space. And because people actually want to work in inspiring spaces together, not at home alone. And that’s not going to change.” -- From the NY Times article, The Education of Tony Marx
How are you designing instructional space around your school?  Is the focus on classroom space or commons space or something entirely different?  How has it effected teaching and learning?  What have been the goals related to the changes?

What we have been doing: We continue to look at ways to maximize and creatively use our space.  This summer we created a student lounge, a PBL classroom, and are re-inventing our Library Space.  Moving forward, we are looking at more of our classrooms, Academic Center (Credit Recovery, On-line Learning, Tutoring), hallway areas, commons, and under-utilized space in the building.
The child starting kindergarten this fall will graduate in the third decade of the 21st century.  All we can know abut the world she will step into is that it will have challenges and opportunities beyond what we can imagine today, problems and possibilities that will demand creativity and ingenuity, responsibility and compassion.  Whether this year's kindergarten student will merely survive or positively thrive in the decades to come depends in large measure on the experiences she has in school.  Those experiences will be shaped by adults, by peers, and ultimately by places, by the physical environments where she does her learning.  United in the conviction that environment is our children's third teacher, we can begin anew a vital mission: designing today's schools for tomorrow's world. --The Third Teacher
Technology & Instructional Practice/Curricular Decisions
What are your thoughts when it comes to Textbooks, e-Books, Learning Management Systems, blended learning, on-line learning, traditional classroom learning?  What about purchasing pre-packaged products vs. self-designed?  What about day to day, unit to unit lesson design when it comes to technology? 

What we are doing: Truly trying to find that right balance.  We have faculty experimenting with Blended courses using Moodle and we have a credit recovery and on-line learning center.  We also have faculty using Schoolology and Edmodo as an LMS.  Next year, due to growing enrollment, we are looking at how to increase our blended and online options while still providing a
rigorous and relevant curriculum.

Faculty Meetings
How are they structured? Traditional, Flipped, Departmentalized, Cross-Disciplinary. 
What is the focus?  CCSS, Rigor, Technology, Project-Based Learning, Creativity, Collaboration, etc.

What we are doing: We have flipped faculty meetings this year to provide staff with professional  development time.  The planning for this time is designed with the department chairs and our library director. For example, on a teacher work day this week, department chairs are leading work on curriculum design and assessment with the new standards for part of the time, our Library director is going to be running studio sessions on technology that can be leveraged in the classroom to enhance the creativity, relevance and rigor of lesson design, and the principals are reviewing information with groups of teachers on value-added, and wrapping up with a whole class faculty meeting.

In the end, we make a lot of decisions ranging from the above topics (space, technology, instructional practices, and faculty meetings) to professional development to hiring to master scheduling, etc.  In creating a design thinking environment, all of these items should support your vision which in turn supports The Connected Learner.



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