Wow- our experimentation phase was a long one. Here is the link to our collaborative google Doc which has grown to an impressive length! I was looking at it this morning and it was really neat to see how far we have come in this DT process! To arrive at the experimentation phase felt like an accomplishment.
What Experimentation Phase Looked Like For 3ST:
We began this week with a Google Hangout in which we collectively brainstormed possibilities for the name of our online, gamified professional development focused on stereotyping in education for teachers. We had quite a long list, and then a synergistic moment between Jose and Matthew in our verbal conversation led to our name of 3ST: Racial, Cultural, Gender Stereotyping in Education. Matthew developed several nice logos for the team, and I thought he did a great job. Here's one:
Then we moved into the design of our actual prototype. This was done through a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous methods. We met several times together online to talk about ideas, and we also individually documented our ideas and added resources and examples on our group document. We were all over the place in our thinking, which was great, and reminded me a bit of our ideation phase because we were finally designing our product, and it felt like a creative process, although our thinking wasn't quite as divergent as during ideation. After we had many ideas and resources for our online platform we began to organize them into the levels of our program and to design the scope and sequence for how educators would learn about stereotyping in education. Finally, after we had a good picture in our minds and on "paper" for what our product would look like, we designed our pitch. We decided we wanted to create a video that would pitch our online, self-paced, gamified professional development on stereotyping in education for educators. Our first idea was to create a movie trailer using iMovie, and while that gave us a start with visuals and flow, the limiting time and format of the iMovie trailer template didn't give it an impression that was comprehensive enough for us. So we went back to the drawing board and turned that trailer into an actual video that is several minutes long and contains narration of what the program will feature. That was a long process, and Sara and Matthew took the reins on writing the narration for the longer video, with Matthew creating the video that we finally pushed out to colleagues when we were ready for feedback. Once our video was posted (which Matthew generously offered to do) for our peers to review and also sent out to others that we each knew, we waited for feedback. Our feedback was really good! People were most excited about the topic of our program, the online and gamified aspect and using 21st century learning tools, and the levels and badges offered. They also inquired about several things such as set timelines for program completion, graduate credits offered, a social networking element and methods participants would use to demonstrate their learning, along with 3ST's evaluation process for those demonstrations of learning. We received feedback that this program would be ideal for school districts, teacher credentialing programs, higher ed, and even the private business sector. It seems we put our fingers on a strong pulse in the education community.
My contribution to the group this week involved several things. I participated in all of our Google Hangouts and added many ideas and resources to our document. I spent a long time researching resource possibilities on the internet so that we could see what was already out there on the topic and acquaint ourselves with possible methods for bringing this needed curriculum to educators. I also created our first video, which was the iMovie trailer. When I reached a frustration level with trying to edit the trailer in such a way that met our needs in the short, pre-set time and limited exposure to visuals in each frame of the trailer, I sent a beta version to my group and met with them via hangout that evening to talk about our options and decide on another format. When our video was posted for our peers I periodically checked Blackboard for feedback and responded to our peers' comments and inquiries on the threaded discussion. I also sent our video to several people who represented all of the various levels of leadership and teaching in education, including my mother, who is a college professor and my school district's superintendent and director of HR. As feedback from those people came in, I added it to our shared document so that the other members of the group could see.
Our biggest challenge during experimentation phase continued to be time, and the need for synchronous collaboration, which usually took place via Hangout, in the later evening hours when our various schedules allowed. Another challenge that was particular to this phase was that we were creating a video, and that isn't easily done in collaboration from different locations, so individual team members had to create the videos using the pre-generated ideas of the group. That was tough because it didn't feel collaborative the way that every other part of our process did.
Looking back to reflect on this phase of the DT process, I think we executed it the best we possibly could given our circumstances and resources available to us. If I were leading students or teachers through this process I would ideally want to provide face-to-face time for group members to collaborate in so that some of those challenges of location and time wouldn't be issues.
Effective communication was probably the most important element in our DT process. It was only through effectively communicating our ideas and what we each saw in our mind's eyes that we were all able to imagine our end product. I truly appreciate each member of Team 3ST for their willingness to text, email, or call when an idea arose or frustration ensued. We each employed the tenets of critical thinking to make space for a truly collaborative process that I found to be creatively stimulating and satisfying.