Giving Compass’ Take:
• A teacher reflects on her time working with an edtech company to develop online tools for the classroom. She shares the impact of the collaborative design thinking process and its ability to help yield results.
• How can education philanthropists help fund spaces for teachers and edtech professionals to design the most useful classroom tools?
• Read about the importance of creating equitable edtech design.
As a middle and high school English teacher, I worked in what I think were fairly typical ways–I’d gather periodically with other English teachers to plan vertically and then more regularly with teachers on my grade level team. I planned most of my daily lessons alone, with the occasional experience of teaching the same grade level and having the same planning period as another teacher with similar approaches who appreciated time to talk or share more detailed ideas.
And then I found myself working among web designers, developers, and database gurus at an educational technology company. Instead of facilitating a writing workshop, I was standing in front of a whiteboard attempting to understand the challenge or problem and mapping out a process for how a teacher might want to interact with an online curriculum mapping tool. In the classroom, we talked literature, life, and change. In front of the whiteboard, we talked user experience and SQL. There was a process, but things felt a bit messier and we spent more time in grey territory. I felt out of my element.
While teaching, I almost always preferred to work alone, later bringing my ideas back to others, who might make a few suggestions for adaptation, with my original plan remaining mostly intact. Post-ed-tech, however, I’ve realized the limitations of independent design and planning. Ideation–the brainstorming or planning phase, is almost always better when done collaboratively. And experimentation–testing out those ideas–is always better done with a diversity of approaches. I’ve learned that the design thinking approach is just as useful for building the technology tools for lesson planning and curriculum mapping as it is for doing the lesson planning and curriculum mapping itself.
Read the full article about design thinking by Amanda Winkelsas at Getting Smart
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