I love science fiction. Growing up, Star Trek and Star Wars were activities I looked forward to watching. In fact, even today, every time our family does "family paint night", I always paint something with a Star Wars character on it. Science fiction brings us a curiosity of what could be. Think about the technologies that are shown in the shows and movies of Star Trek. Some things seem really far off today, some not so much. That tele-communicator that Captain Kirk held in the series looks less futuristic than our new iPhones today.
Technology has a symptom of having exponential change. Just look at this list of the largest companies by market value. The differences between 2011 and 2017 are incredible. We are in the midst of a cultural shift in society. Which brings me to how do we prepare for this shift?
As an educator, how do we build a learning environment that prepares kids for jobs that don't exist?
We have to look at education as the vehicle for the future. That begins with the classroom and working our way up through the system. Recently, I led a session in our District Leadership Team meeting that focused on the classroom. We used a design thinking process to identify problems we see in the current classroom setup.
I started the empathy portion of the session with an experience in the HoloLens, an augmented reality device. Eileen Heller had some content that gave the user a flyover of today and present some history around Rome. To give everyone an experience, we wirelessly displayed the what the person saw on the large screen for everyone.
It was important for us to set the curiosity stage for what could be, just as watching Star Wars and Star Trek did for me as a kid. So we watched this video excerpt by Futurist Edie Weiner on the Future of Work at the Australia Summit 2018. Here is a link to the full video.
From there we went into a process of identifying some of the problems, empathize, the first part of the design thinking process. We watched two videos of classroom interactions, one very traditional, and one that was still traditional but involved some differences in classroom setup. We watched both videos for a couple of minutes and then filled out a Padlet of reflection questions:
Those reflections ended our first session. The second session was to define what could be. This was fun. We went through a series of questions, the first coming from an idea I got from the book, Humanizing the Education Machine.
The introduction of the smart phone, and particularly the iPhone had a profound impact on society. Combine that with the introduction of social media, and culture began to change because of communication. Each and every person gets this, because they personally relate to it.
We used this activity to help reflect on what the classroom characteristics should be. It was important not to begin to make suggestions as we still haven't progressed across the design thinking process yet. But some of the identified characteristics that we aligned to the same Pedagogical, Environment, Engagement activity we did in the empathy activity included:
I am in the process of creating our next activity for the ideate area of design thinking process. We will begin to think about space and time in the classroom. Space and Time is a gear of the Future Ready Framework that many states, districts, and schools align to.
It is so important to redesign that learning experience as we know:
On the Book: Humanizing the Education Machine
This book helped me personally identify my own differences with my kids. It is so easy to say, "Well when I grew up..." Loved this quote from Chapter 10:
Great book, here are my quotures from each chapter. Well worth the read to help ignite a spark to prepare our students for what is next.
These posts are personal. They are not reflective of the Omaha Public Schools District.