About two weeks ago, I attended the 2017 ICE Conference in St. Charles. During my day there, I chose a workshop with Mr. Billy Spicer outlining design thinking and highlighting ways to implement it in the classroom.
Since then, a few amazing things have happened.
I ordered the book Launch and began reading. Only a few chapters in, I could feel my excitement growing for design thinking and encouraging creativity in my students. (I even choked up a few times.)
…maybe it wasn’t as extreme as this, but you know…teachers who care about their kids…
Anyway, Jim and I decided to start introducing the concept to our kids. Like, dive right in, go-big-or-go home mentality. So when Friday rolled around (and thanks to Jenny Lehotsky for being such a stellar design thinking mentor!), we took our Extraordinaires: Design Studio game and introduced it to our students. We likened design thinking to video games (and this was all Jim — an awesome, very accessible example of why design thinking is important): if you’re in the middle of a mission and you keep dying in the game, what do you do? (Try something different and restart the mission.) And if that doesn’t work? (Try something different and restart the mission.) Etc, etc.
After a few examples similar to that, it seemed like our kids were ready to have at the game. So we explained the minimal “rules” and got them started.
You guys…the results. were. amazing.
We saw kids who normally don’t participate AT ALL taking total leadership positions. Kids who are ALWAYS off-task were deeply engaged in their design with their groups. Students who absolutely loathe working with peers were actively seeking feedback and input. And, for one of the first times this year, the students were actually disappointed when I told them it was time to pack up. That, my friends, is a teaching win. Jim and I are excited to see what incredible ideas they came up with tomorrow when they present their findings with the rest of the class.
Needless to say, I think that this model will be an incredible launch point (pun intended) for future projects. There is a new sort of energy in our classroom since beginning to use this model. Jim and I are reinvigorated, and honestly? So are our kids.
Stick with me as we trial-and-error this process together. There will for sure be errors, that we know. But isn’t that the point of the design thinking process? And if you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never move forward.
Enjoy your Sunday, friends! I know I will, as I revel in the success of an unfamiliar lesson. And if you need further convincing of the power of this project, follow me on Twitter @missmclb to see some video footage/pics of the activity.