Friday, the 23rd of January, our Cohort 21 members met at MaRS. The day included a Design Thinking workshop, EdTech Start-Ups WorldVuze and SesameHQ, and a whole bunch of thinking. It is best captured by this WordSift:
The day began with a great look at Design Thinking and how to use the thinking framework to solve problems. It was positioned by Leslie and Derek as a way to reposition your Action Plan by first Empathizing with the stakeholders involved in your school (students, parents, other teachers, administration, etc…) and then using these different perspectives to really define the problem, or area that your action plan will delve into.
Coffee breaks took on a new meaning, as each member was assigned to take out another to coffee, and explore the space and various topics of conversation. MaRS is a beautiful space to think in, but also think about. In this way, we thought about what the classrooms and schools of the future may look like, and how their design might shift practice just through setting up classrooms and students, and teachers differently.
Fully prepped and caffinated, members went deep into their action plans by exploring them using Design Thinking Protocols.
We divided into 3 groups based on Action Plan umbrella topics, and used different perspectives and critical thinking to provide feedback and prompts to challenge one another on their action plan and process. Here is one example of the Padlets that make this thinking visible: Learning Tools – Reading
Within these groups, Leslie and Derek introduced thinking strategies,
such as Option Diamond, and Harvey Cards, that continued to deepen our approaches. All in all, it was a great dayof thinking, and thinking about how to think critically and effectively about education. Many of us, no doubt, are taking away these ideas and strategies and implementing them in our own areas of education, be it in classrooms, or administrative meetings.
One of the highlights of MaRS was our Lunch & Learn sessions that featured WorldVuze, SesameHQ and Cohort Alumni Mike Farley from ChangeGamer.ca. From these great educators and entrepreneurs, we were exposed to their own design thinking and stories that brought them to their respective ventures. Knowing that there is a shifting landscape in Eduation presently, we, as Cohort 21 members can embrace this level of change and seek our the opportunities that it affords to make our students learning something that is exciting, dynamic and meaningful to them. We hope that our members can take away the MaRS experience as empowering them to be the “Architects of the Possible” in their classroom, and the “Conductors of Learning Orchestras” within the lives of their students.
Okay, enough with the metaphors. We hope that everyone had a great experience at MaRS and are leaving the day reenergized and focussed on their action plan.