Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Redesigning our learning spaces part II


In teams of teachers and students, we have been working through a process of collaboratively redesigning some of our learning spaces.

This is a five week process using the Stamford Design Thinking Process.

Our five steps / lessons / stages are
1. Introduction to the Stamford Design Process
2. Revisit the Process focussing on empathy and creating a problem / challenge statement
3. Work in teams to ideate a new learning space
4. Prepare the presentation / pitch of the new learning space
5. Pitch the learning space to a panel of peers and stakeholders

We have now completed stages 1 and 2 with most teams having created a challenge statement and sharing it on our shared Google Doc. The Challenge is to keep the energy flowing and the the good ideas bubbling to the top.


Week 3. Ideate a new learning space
We started by recapping what it means to work in a team, or more accurately asking the teams what are some of the things that need to happen so that their team works effectively. We used this video to start the discussion comparing good teamwork vs bad.
We spent some time explicitly addressing the power dynamic, i.e. a teacher leading or being part of the group and how could we overcome this so that everyone in the team had equal input. We also again went over our three metaphors for learning spaces and reminded everyone to focus on empathy and really listening to what people wanted in a learning space.
I provided the teams with a heap of resources and encouraged the teams to add their own resources.
Some of the resources included
Videos of how other schools have changed their learning spaces,WAB, Shekou and this playlist.
Then there is this great Flipboard Magazine from Tricia Friedman at UWC

Then it was time to work ideate, teams started exploring, playing and listening. I would have loved to be a part of every conversation and discussion. I did get the chance to flitter between groups and loved what I was hearing.


One group completely changed their plan for the science corridor after speaking to the science teachers. They wanted worm farms and other live animals, but they didn't think about who would look after them, now they want fish and plants, low maintenance and they clean their own tanks. It was so refreshing to see teachers and students listening more than they spoke.


I have a feeling the results are going to be great
Week 4
Preparing the pitch
We had plans to bring in an expert on presentations and share something presentation zen like, giving our students some tools and ideas. We ran out of time and to be honest couldn't find the right expert. Looks like we will just have to trust that our teachers and students have the right stuff when it comes to a Steve Jobs Style pitch.


We also wanted to maximise the time that the teams had working ideating their redesigns. We also guided / suggested / instructed the teams that they would want to probably meet again before next weeks Shark Tank.

Every team was so into the process that they were happy to meet in their own time, even after school and this is in a busy time of the school year, exams, athletics etc.

We have had lots of positive feedback about the process and most of all students and teachers appreciate being listened to, the big challenge will be to ensure that once we get these great ideas that something actually happens. It would be a disaster if all this collaboration and listening didn't lead to action.

Next week the Shark Tank, where our teams pitch their ideas to a group of critical friends.

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