Week 3 for Team 3ST was a fun and creative week as we headed into the Ideation phase of the design thinking process. For me personally, this is where I am most comfortable- letting my imagination fly. For our stereotyping in education project we decided to meet via Google Hangout and collaboratively add to a mural.ly mural again. We have found this to be a great collaboration tool to both organize our information and to create visual stimulation for our creativity. This session was a neat one, as we were all on the Hangout together, adding our own ideas to the mural, but we were talking and bouncing ideas off of each other at the same time. The energy was really cool as our different personalities and perspectives added to the mix. Sara and Jose created four columns with our names on them, and we added ideas within our respective columns. We went in with the idea that anything was possible. It’s neat to imagine what you can do when the sky’s the limit. Here is our collaborative mural of ideas:3ST Week 3 Mural.ly We also added to our collaborative Google Doc this week.
After the ideas were in place, Sara, Jose and Matthew went in and grouped ideas into several different categories, which can be found on the right side of the mural in the four-squared grid. The categories they chose for organizing the ideas were: 1. Use Media 2. Different Demographics 3. Community Involvement 4. Collaboration This provided a way to look at our ideas collectively, in a way that allowed us to see any similarities between our ideas (as one more way to layer and combine), and also to see where our ideas differed.
After grouping the ideas, the group met once again to analyze possible constraints and narrow down the choices. We had agreed to meet, via Hangout, Sunday at 5:30, but I had something come up with my children regarding transportation, and was not able to attend that session. I did look at what was added to our collaborative document afterward, and I talked with Sara over the phone to get brought up to speed on the group’s ideas and thought process. Sara described that the main constraints that came up for our ideas for practical constraints such as time, cost, and resistance either by parents or administrators. Those are the constraints that I imagined would come up.
Our team’s selected solution is a combination of several ideas we discussed during the second ideation phase. Sara, Matthew and Jose came up with the solution of creating an online, self-paced program for teachers and administrators to effectively learn about stereotyping in their classroom and school. This self-paced program will be game-based, and offer “badges” for teachers and administrators as they “pass,” or successfully complete different levels of the program. This idea seems like an acceptable one, as it seems to be able to work around the constraints involving time, cost, and resistance.
As for my individual contributions to the team this week. . . I shared my notes on creativity and ideation with the group, I added my solution ideas to our mural and contributed to the discussion of possible ideas.
I’d still say the major challenges our group faced this week are time and location. This week was especially tough for me to be a group member. My family, particularly my children, had a lot going on, and I was not able to meet with my group via Hangout at our agreed-upon time. This caused much stress for me, as I do not want to put the work load on my teammates, and I know they want to get their work done in a timely manner. My stress level went up because I didn’t want to cause them any stress. As a mother of three, though, most of the time I have to complete my school work either late at night or early in the morning, and that is not conducive to meeting with members of my cohort via Google Hangout. So I’m afraid I may have frustrated my team this week. I'm having a bit of trouble doing group work right now for that reason.
If I could do things differently I would take more time, as I find this to be such a valuable and fascinating process, and make sure we could meet face-to-face to really dig into the energy and ideas that are generated when we work together. Team 3ST has a lot of passion for our students and this topic, and I think that I would genuinely enjoy an opportunity to work face-to-face with them on this.
If I were to apply this process with students or colleagues I really would do it much the same way, although I would make sure that we had adequate time in which to work. I really love the mural.ly tool for collaboration, and would continue to use it. Honestly, this stage of the design thinking process is so fun and productive! I feel that our team went about it the right way. Our mural, with its visual representation of our ideas, is really fantastic.
The creativity evidenced in our Ideation phase is a mixture of traditional and non-traditional. We have some of the artistic, non-linguistic representations of ideas, but we also have words, colors, and a mashup of individual approaches that really allowed us to expand our ideas of what was possible in this arena. It’s always liberating to blow the top off of a topic so that one doesn’t feel limited in what one can do. Team 3ST is really good at this. I’m looking forward to the next phase.
The above image is a screenshot of the collaborative mural my team created to help us visually represent our data and organize our ideas.
The Interpretation Phase for Team 3ST was a bit more condensed and dense than our Discovery Phase in that once we had all of our data from experts and end users we just had to wade through it and try to make sense of it. We did this by putting all of our information onto our shared Google Doc and spending some time looking through it asynchronously. We held several Google Hangouts during which we talked about our findings and discussed what we saw. We began a Google Drawing to begin to visually represent our information, but quickly found that tool to be clunky and difficult to maneuver. Sara put out a Tweet to her PLN asking for suggestions for tools that might help us with our end goal of having Post Its with pieces of data that could be maneuvered and grouped. From that she received the suggestion to use mural.ly, and that tool worked out very well. It was intuitive and easy to learn. So began the process of transferring our information to mural.ly and continuing to add to that new creation. Once we had all of the information added, we reconvened for a Hangout during which we talked aloud about what we were noticing as trends in our data and began to group those ideas together at the bottom of our mural. That process took a bit of time, but was highly informative. This is another spot in the process where I felt so grateful to be working together collaboratively because with four different perspectives adding to the conversation, our groupings went through several transformative iterations that could not have happened so richly without the synergy between us all. The last thing we did was to go through the QFT process and develop three overall questions that emerged out of our groupings. This was our first time using this process, and I’d say we would have felt more confident having one of our professors present to guide us through, but I think we did ok. We reached out to Dr. Ward and Professor Leu to ask for feedback, as we weren’t sure our QFT questions were on point. I have to say I fully enjoyed this part of the process and the depth of conversation and exchange of ideas we all shared.
Here is a link to our collaborative mural created using mural.ly.
My individual contributions for the Interpretation Phase were pretty much the same as everyone else’s. I looked at gathered data with my group, participated in several lengthy Google Hangout sessions, collaborated, shared, added information I gathered during the interview with Dr. Ward to our mural, helped to group our ideas together, and ultimately brainstorm ideas for and complete our project for Phase 3 of the Interpretation Phase, which is our video portraying our group’s story so far. I’d say this week my team members took on a few more tasks than I did. Sara has been fantastic about organizing and reorganizing our information on our shared Google Doc, as this process gets messy! :) Jose, Matthew, and Sara have started and shared documents with the group. Again, Team 3ST is rock solid when it comes to teamwork.
Our challenges were also pretty much the same for our team as with the Discovery Phase. We are always feeling pressed for time and challenged with location, as of course it would be easier to communicate if we could just sit at the same table together and chat. But technology is awesome and allows us to push past that challenge and get the job done.
If I were going through this phase of the process with colleagues at my school site I would make sure that I tried out the collaboration tool ahead of time and have it set up and ready to go when we met, so as to keep the frustration level down and have a smoother collaboration process. I would also hope that the collaboration could be done with everyone in the same room if possible as opposed to meeting virtually to discuss. If I wanted to use the QFT process I would have to front load that process with some teaching and videos ahead of time, and most likely have one meeting session dedicated specifically to our QFT process. Everything else I would do the same as how our group did it. Our process worked well.
There were many tenets of critical thinking present in our process. We were for sure open-minded and practiced deferred judgment, along with healthy skepticism. When a suggestion was made during any part of our process, it was always immediately on the table as an option, but not ultimately decided on until we went through any questions that arose regarding the why? how? or but what about? of our process and proposals. We all definitely approached and continue to work through this topic with ultimate empathy, humility and reflection. The most growth potential I think for us all is in our metacognitive thinking and the sharing of that thinking with the group. I’m sure we are all going through our own internal process even as we engage in action as a group, and as new concepts are revealed individually to each of us, I don’t know if we fully shared that, as many times these internal process revealings happen when we are not together, and we may not remember to share what we are learning personally.
Team 3ST (Smoothie, Sushi, Spicy, Thai) :) Week 1: Discovery Phase
When our group got together via Google Hangout and began discussing what we might like to study for our Design Thinking project that will focus on social justice, I remember the topic of stereotyping rising to the surface very quickly. We all work with young people who deal with stereotyping on a daily basis, whether at school or in the community, and we agreed that we would like to investigate how to help students and teachers with awareness and action around stereotyping. We brainstormed many questions on a Google Document asynchronously, and ultimately came up with one overall question to guide our research: “How can we better deal with stereotyping in school?”
We decided that we really have two groups of end users: students and teachers. That is a bit tricky, as we have only a few weeks in this course, but we knew if we chose this topic, the two go together. As Dr. Ward pointed out when I interviewed her last week, “We can’t deal with kids, and not adults.” Clearly, if we are educating students about stereotyping, we must also address the stereotyping that comes from the adults who are teaching them. So, with two groups of end users in mind, we set out to figure out the best ways to obtain information on the topic of stereotyping in education.
Since this is a summer course, most of us are not working with students right now. Jose is the only one currently teaching, so we created a survey, using Google Forms, which Jose would administer to his students. We spent a good amount of time during our initial Hangout devising survey questions. Collaboration and multiple points of view during this process was key, so that we could write questions that would elicit useful and focused data. I really valued our synergy and teamwork during that process. We work well together. We also decided to interview two very gracious experts in the field of stereotyping: Dr. Cheryl Ward and Dr. Delores Lindsey.
As for my contribution to our Discovery Phase, I added information, resources, questions, etc. to our document as we worked asynchronously. I attended several Hangouts with my team as we worked through this process. I interviewed Dr. Ward via telephone, and she was wonderful to give me an hour of her time- a rich conversation- and I typed up the results of that interview and added that to our shared document. I also set up and attended the Hangout interview with Dr. Lindsey (I managed to connect to the Hangout using my phone at a Starbucks- first time for everything!) All of our gathered information was added to our shared document.
The only challenges for our team were time and location. We didn’t have long to set up our research plan, interviews, survey administration, etc., so if felt a little crunchy at times. But everyone we worked with was so great, so we made it happen. The members of my team are all spread out across the county, and we are all very busy, so trying to “Hangout” was really challenging. There was impressive dedication to the cause though, and with good communication either by phone, email or text, we made it all work. Team 3ST is a group of ultimate professionals, and it is my pleasure to work with them.
If I were to attempt this process with colleagues at my school site I would probably do it much the same way, except hopefully our timeline would be a bit more spread out. I probably couldn’t count on my colleagues being so willing to do research outside of their working hours like Team 3ST did, so I would have to work with site administration to work it into our PLC time or something of that nature. Overall though, I feel that our methods were good and effective.
We discovered a great deal about our end users for this project during this phase. Learning about this process is enlightening and ultimately, only by going through the process am I able to understand how powerful approaching a problem with a design thinking mindset can be.
Emily Pilloton's Design Process (see videos below this post), as she applies it to the education setting for high school students, is brimming with critical thinking elements. Critical thinking involves so much deep internal awareness of one's thought process, and a willingness to examine one's thoughts and habits of mind. Critical thinking also involves a commitment to respect the truth and the ability to dwell in an inquiring mind and proceed from a place of empathy in order to have a balanced understanding of the problem or topic at hand, and to develop questions that address the issues of the many angles and perspectives present in and topic or problem. (Critical Thinking, 2015). In Emily's Design Process she is teaching students to do this in so many amazing ways. First of all, the design of the student day where students have three hours every school day to dedicated to truly digging in and doing the work necessary to gather information they need, is wonderful, and so needed in today's schools. She says that her students spend that time doing "ethnographic research and doing the need finding, coming back into the studio doing the brainstorming and design visualization to come up with concepts that might work, and then moving into the shop and actually testing them, building them, prototyping them.” (Pilloton, 2010). From there students then spend more time practicing and developing their critical thinking skills by spending time analyzing those prototypes to see if the solutions will work. All of this requires those critical thinking skills and qualities referenced above, especially empathy and an awareness and respect for the truth. Emily's approach differs from the maybe traditional definition of critical thinking because it isn't about just questioning, but it takes students much deeper into the seat and root of the problem at hand in order to research and truly understand the problem a hand; it engages empathy to guide students to that respect for the truth.
Chapter 2 and the Learning to Change video highlight who our students in our classrooms are, and when we look at that along with who our teachers and administrators are, the reality is that there is a great divide. Our students have changed and evolved over time, and the way we do school hasn't. In chapter 2 it is reported that "Today's students are using the Internet as their preferred tool for learning outside of school. . ." (Schrum & Levin, 2009). This fact makes it clear that our digital native students are finding themselves in traditional classrooms that don't serve their needs anymore. It is vital that teachers and administrators open themselves up to changing their mindsets by adopting critical thinking skills of having an inquiring mind and having a respect for the truth. The truth is that it is time to school differently. The truth is, the current traditional school system is failing our students because it really is obsolete and no longer serves our students in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them. How can we help our colleagues and administrators, many of whom are digital immigrants or digital resistors, see that and learn that? My approach is to lead by example first. I do what I do and then share it with colleagues. We need to invite them into our classrooms so they can see that it is ok to release the reins to the students and learn alongside them. As teachers, we are no longer the keepers of knowledge. Digital natives don't wait for us to teach them things- when they have an interest in something they want to learn about, they go find a teacher on the Internet. We have to make ourselves available and vulnerable to our colleagues- sharing out what is possible. The results always speak for themselves. As one young man stated in the Learning To Change Video regarding the topic of technology,"It teaches people to think in a different way" (Learning To Change, 2011). This young man's statement leads straight back to critical thinking. We all need to learn to think in a different way because the world is now different than it was 50 years ago. Heck, the world is different than it was yesterday. We need to be open so that we can keep up.
Schrum, L., & Levin, B. B. (2009). Leading 21st century schools: Harnessing technology for engagement and achievement.Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
YouTube,. (2015). Critical Thinking. Retrieved 16 July 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9IjF6aqy_E
YouTube,. (2015). Emily Pilloton: Teaching design for change. Retrieved 16 July 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=794&v=aiIxdFBA0Sw
YouTube,. (2015). Learning to Change, Changing to Learn: Student Voices. Retrieved 18 July 2015, fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAkWtSxKYaI