Being a Maverick; Going from the Danger Zone to Top Gun

Today’s session with design thinking was an extension of some of the PD I’ve done during this year with @fdesignschool about design thinking and defining a clear problem with specific steps to a conclusion.

The energy and enthusiasm was contagious! When 40+ teachers collaborate it’s hard to not feel like we can tackle any issue and each of our problems are inconsequential when thinking about

My favourite activity had to be the crowdsourced inspiration in the hallways of The York School; receiving almost a dozen comments from fellow educators on my “How Might We” question about inspiring and encouraging students to recognize the impact they can have as engaged and active citizens. Although rooted in the expectations on graduates of the the CHV2O curriculum, the question also links to Havergal’s strategic plan goals of ‘Building a Bridge to the Future’ concerning civic engagement. Interweaving these into a plan has become my goal for Cohort 21 this year.

The shift of thinking for me occurred when working through consolidating my original HMW question after spending time thinking about understanding my user. It really highlighted both a deficiency in my understanding of what the current student body at Havergal thinks and feels about civic action linked to their personal values and passions and what I see as an outside observer. To correct this, I’m going to interview grade 7 to grade 12, and hopefully some alumni, about what they have felt was a real impactful action they took at some point in their lives and how it was connected to their learning experiences. Hopefully the interviews will help to define specifically what actions are most frequent and most memorable and be able to shape future directions to foster more of these to a broader range of students.

Before today’s session I used to think that my action plan for Cohort 21 would involve a strategy of implementing some technological innovation into my classroom; Google+, Diigo, Twitter, or other… but now I think these really are only tools to further my real goal – creating an atmosphere where students are encouraged through both classroom learning and connections to the community to take real, purposeful steps to make and celebrate a change on an issue they feel is important.

I’m looking forward to collaborating with @vboomgaardt on resources and tools to further our action plans and have been lucky to work through reflecting and validating my goals with @jwood today at the second Face to Face session.

6 comments on “Being a Maverick; Going from the Danger Zone to Top Gun

  1. Leslie McBeth November 20, 2016 4:22 am

    Thanks for this thoughtful reflection, Gordon! I had a feeling that you and @lmiller might find some similarities between the day today and your work with Future Design School. I’m glad that today yielded new results. To me, it speaks to how the design thinking process can be repeated, even with a similar HMW question, and always create new insights.
    I love the idea of interviewing Alumni. Sometimes with students it is a case of “they don’t know what they don’t know” and it’s hard for them to think of life beyond the walls of the school. By engaging alumni, you might get some insights into what they wish they had known. Great approach!

  2. Garth Nichols November 20, 2016 3:08 pm

    Great insights here Gordon! I can’t wait to hear what your interview process yields. There are many tools to support the process, and I would encourage you to think about what you will do with the data, in that you want the instrument that you use to collect the data to show you the results in a digestible way. Perhaps looking at Google Forms or Recap would be a good way to curate the information.

    If I can support in any way, let me know,

  3. Eric Daigle November 27, 2016 2:59 pm

    I, too, felt the “crowdsourcing” portion of the session to be incredibly powerful. It also highlighted for me what you have iterated here, as well. The idea that technology is merely a “tool”. The incredibly nostalgic, proto-hipster analog activity of brainstorming using sticky-notes has real-time physical resonance well beyond the tweetverse. It is the values and people behind what we do that will ultimately make the difference.

  4. Derek Doucet December 7, 2016 1:36 am

    I love how your thinking shifted when you really reflected on your user and it’s an incredible opportunity to work with FDS!

    How are the initial steps of your action plan going? Have you interviewed your students yet? I really like your HMW question. Empowering students to recognize and then hopefully act on their ability to have an impact in the world is powerful indeed!

    What does citizenship currently look like at your school? Have you reconnected with @vboomgaardt? I’m really looking forward to reading how you’ve progressed in pursuit of your actionplan!

    • Gordon Grise December 7, 2016 1:42 am

      Thanks for the suggestions, Derek. My students are just embarking on their action plan assessment so I’ll be collecting data in the new year – right now we’re supported through a department that helps to further empower student activism, however transforming some of the conversations into being more explicitly connected to concepts of citizenship sounds like a great goal. I haven’t but hopefully @vboomgaardt and I will be able to collaborate soon.

  5. Justin Medved January 2, 2017 7:14 pm

    @ggrise I am looking forward to hearing how your student interviews went and whether or not that shifted your thinking in anyway or brought forward any new insights. Has your HMW question refined or changed as a result? See you soon at the next face to face!

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