4 posts categorized "2011"

January 10, 2012

Design Thinking 1: Overview of a transformative learning ethic

Design Thinking Brisbane from Danielle Carter on Vimeo.

In 2011, with NoTosh, I started a programme of learning with the Catholic Education Office in Brisbane, to transform learning with our Design Thinking School programme. Six months on, we've captured some of the teacher feedback, thanks to our film friends at the Education Office, and it's revealing more transformation, more engagement of teachers in their own learning, and more responsiblity of learning transferred to students than we could have ever hoped for.

Over a short series of posts I'll take you through the key elements of the process, what it looks like in the planning and execution phases and how students, teachers and leaders respond to it.

While Design Thinking is a process that dates nearly 30 years, born out of the firm IDEO in California, and we've only been working on the process in schools since the summer of 2010, the workshops and online community support that we've been nurturing in Brisbane and other locations around the world is based on two fairly unique elements of practice we're lucky to come across every day at NoTosh:

  1. The marrying of what we know works best in learning, based on the most recent research on formative assessment, school design, experential and active learning, play and technology, with what we know about the creative process of design thinking;
  2. Taking our regular work with tech startups, film and TV companies, fashion houses and designers to inform, update and validate the creative processes' likelihood of generating new knowledge, as well as reinforcing existing understanding.

I hope that my reflections on the forthcoming posts are useful. They're far from complete - there's a book later this year to get closer to that - but they might provide a starting point for working this out in your own classroom or, if you're seeking to change a school or district of schools, it might provide the starting point to get in touch to work together.

December 28, 2011

For all the social networks, people still want us to jump on planes

138000 Miles 2
Every year that passes, I like to see what my toll on the planet has been in order to make some carbon amends and try to better understand this curious equation: for every year that social networks grow, the amount of travel to see people face-to-face increases. We were all promised something different, I'm sure, but the fact remains that our little business needs to jump on planes to continue to grow:

That means that this year I've had to go around the world just over 5 times. Two of those times were actually around the world, as our growing base of Design Thinking Schools in Australia hits tipping point (more news on that in 2012). But that means the other three times around the world has been spread between a growing desire of Nordic countries to make their high quality learning ever more inspiring, and the beginnings of United States schools seeing that there are ideas elsewhere that might help mend some of the damage done to their system over the past decade.

There have been some inspiring moments this past year, too many to count, but I've particularly enjoyed:

  • chilling with my adopted homies Alas Media and Alan November in Boston;
  • finding the clarity for a forthcoming book on Alan's veranda overlooking the Atlantic in Marblehead;
  • exploring an in-revolution Cairo and relaxing with my family at the end of the hectic year on the Red Sea;
  • hearing from Brisbane teachers on how their teaching lives have been transformed by the Design Thinking Schools we're kicking off there;
  • letting my daughters giggle nervously on their first gondola expedition in Venice;
  • sitting alongside the Vice President of the European Union in an expansive chamber at the Commission to work out how we get 650m Europeans better connected;
  • staying at home in my own city for most of the late Winter and early Spring to help return my Government to power through our direction of their digital campaign, and pave the way for a vote on independence from the UK in four years time.

I'd love to say that there will be less travel in 2012, but we've already got three turns around the world booked between here and August, with more UK and European work beginning to develop. The little enterprise I started two years ago has flourished this year, with more excitement to come in 2012 with my not-so-new-now colleague Tom Barrett, and other new faces likely to appear in the New Year.

We're busy to bursting point, and in these times that is a Good Thing.

We're also making an effort in our company to travel with more efficient airlines who run more green aircraft, meaning that despite the extra 22,000 miles we've emitted 3,000 tons less carbon into the environment. We'll just have to continue working as hard on mending the damage we're doing to the planet as we are on creating excitement and change in schools around the world.

Happy New Year, fellow travellers, virtual or alongside us on Seat 53F.

October 03, 2011

Can your students join 10,000 others designing our future?

Problem finders
At TEDxLondon, BLC, Naace and a few other events this summer I asked if people wanted to join me in trying to encourage more curricula that were based less on students solving the irrelevant, contrived pseudo problems given to them in textbooks, and based more on finding great, real world problems that need solved.

A superb opportunity for action has come along.

Ever wondered what 10,000 young people could do to solve some of the world’s greatest problems? We want to know for the world’s most important ICT event, ITU Telecom World 11, by gathering young people's vision for the future on world2011.us.

The October 24-27 event is the flagship meeting of the world’s telecoms industries, brought together by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the specialised United Nations agency responsible for information and communication technologies. In the run up to the event, and during it, we’ll be showcasing the ideas of young people, aged 8-18, alongside the debates, panels and corridor discussions of these influential delegates.

I've been at so many events recently that have either totally lacked the student voice, or made third party reference to it through second-hand reportag from their teachers. This is a real chance for your students to make a global impact on problems that matter, wherever they are.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime real world project-based learning opportunity, that ties into most teachers’ curriculum at any given point in the year.

We’re providing some brief points of inspiration to get you started, over the seven key themes, and will open up a wiki space today where teachers can collaborate and add to each other’s resources on the areas.

By October 24, we hope to have videos, photos, blogs and examples or prototypes of what young people believe might help solve challenges on their own doorstep. Sign up your class, school or district to begin sharing the ideas of your students. We want you to tell us how technology could be harnessed to:

To take part, you just have to sign up your interest, and from there you’re able to submit posts to the project.

Pic: some problem finders in one of our schools in Ormeau, Brisbane, Australia.

January 01, 2011

I will act now: Happy New Year 2011

I've sat for just a little bit this afternoon marvelling at the velocity of shared links, blog posts penned, conversations raging on the Twitterverse about all manner of things: the future of education, coding hacks, social media marketing, Google analytics. And I once more leave the iPhone aside with a feeling that either

  • I'm either missing something by not engaging with this helter skelter chat 24/7 (for that is what it would take to keep up with everyone, across timezones);
  • not doing my job by ignoring most of it completely, or
  • neglecting my family; or
  • admitting that any potential I might have for flow in my work will disappear if I even try to engage more frequently (what do I really believe about assessment, about learning, about social media, about journalism in a new age, about communications with those who are not on Twitter, about...?)

There are so many people thinking about some great things in great ways, so many giving their local angle, and their world view, so many options to consider, that there must come a point where we stop thinking, stop speaking and take actions.

So that's my 2011 resolution, and one I'm going to enjoy keeping. I'm going to swallow more of my own advice, and that of Dr John Hunter, and not think so hard, just try the experiment.

From Euan a quote that sums up the urgency I feel to abandon the torrential streams flowing on this holiday of holidays:

I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. Henceforth, I will repeat these words each hour, each day, everyday, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing, and the action which follows becomes as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every action necessary for my success. I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest. I will act now for now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the person. -  Og Mandino

Pic of people really doing stuff, in the Loony Dook, from Gareth Harper.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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