Beth Holland

Food for thought…


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Design Thinking and PBL

While project-based learning has existed for decades, design thinking has recently entered the education lexicon, even though its history can be traced back to Herbert A. Simon‘s 1969 book The Sciences of the Artificial. So why the resurgence of these ideas?

Lately, I have heard teachers and school leaders express a common frustration: “We are _______ years into a _______ initiative, and nothing seems to have changed.” Despite redesigning learning spaces, adding technology, or even flipping instruction, they still struggle to innovate or positively change the classroom experience. Imagine innovation as a three-legged stool. Many schools have changed the environment leg, but not the other two legs: the behaviors and beliefs of the teachers, administrators, and students.

Consider this conundrum: much of what we know about teaching comes from 16+ years of observation as students. In no other profession do you spend that much time watching the previous generation before being told to change everything once you take control. Without the framework or scaffolding for that change, it’s truly unreasonable to tell educators, “OK, start innovating.”

If we look at the science of improvement, systematic change occurs between the contexts of justification (what we know) and discovery (the process of innovation). What if we view PBL and design thinking as possible bridges between those two contexts? What if these frameworks could serve as the justification for discovering new classroom practice?

>> Read the rest of this article on Edutopia.

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Behind the Science of Innovation – Team Keynoting with Shawn McCusker

Last week, I had the privilege to team-keynote the EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit with my colleague and friend, Shawn McCusker (@ShawnMcCusker). While I had a great time presenting with him, our process of creating this presentation provided some fantastic opportunities to learn.

The Process

Shawn lives outside of Chicago, so our planning occurred virtually. Over the course of about six weeks, we used a combination of phone calls, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and text message to share ideas. We created two collaborative Coggles. At one point, I sent him a 20-minute recording of me talking through a hodge-podge of handwritten notes in Explain Everything. He strapped his iPad into the passenger seat of his car and then apparently listened to me on his way to and from school. Finally, we shifted over to Google Slides. By the time we both arrived in San Diego, most of our slides had been fleshed out and we could really focus on the delivery of our message.

The Delivery

Many thanks to Greg Kulowiec (@GregKulowiec) for actually capturing the talk using an iPad and Swivl. Shawn gets all of the credit for the excellent editing.

Special Thanks

Several of our talented colleagues and friends captured via our keynote in sketchnotes. It is amazing to see our thinking through their eyes. I can’t thank them enough for sharing.

From Douglas Kiang (@dkiang)

From Michael Cohen (@TheTechRabbi)

From Reshan Richards (@ReshanRichards)