Wow this has been one awesome week!!!!! As the #dtk12chat often says #BOOMSHAKALAKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve had an amazing time at fuse15 getting to meet educators around the country and help coach them through the design challenge. Getting to see the ideas really come to life in today’s pitches was amazing! It was also really meaningful to get to work with these non-profit organizations, and you could tell how much our ideas meant to them.
I also really enjoyed my first experience with an un-conference. I wish I could have gone to even more of the conversations because they all sounded so interesting.
The first one I went to was lead by our MVPS college counselors and one of my teammates on Green Echo was actually the only non student in the room which was kind of cool. They shared with us their early prototype of infusing the DEEP process into the college process in order to help students discover what type of school they would like best rather than just knowing the names of a couple of big schools maybe from family or sports. The process was such a neat concept and all of the students in the room seemed to have a general agreement that it would be a super helpful process to go through so that we could really go to a college that’s just right for us.
The next session I went to was about the physical space needed for DT. However, the person that suggested this session had suggested it because she wanted to ask questions herself rather than lead the discussion, so instead some of us MVPS students ended up taking over as leaders for the session (seems like a common theme for me this week #hacktheworld). This session kind of bounced all over the place with people asking about our high school schedule, rest spaces (which lead us to talking about the ideas of a MV Cafe which seems to almost always come up with ID members), and even lower school DT.
There were a few really cool moments in this sessions for me. One moment was when we were asked about our ideal classroom (I think that was the question but I was actually having a side conversation with a few others when it was initially asked). The student that took the lead on this question started talking about his love of really nice textures like wood floors, and then he mentioned lots of window and all of the students jumped in to agree. We all LOVE WINDOWS!!!!!! Not only do they let in natural light, but also they can be used as a whiteboard surface!!!!!!!! It was actually a really funny moment because some of the people in the room kind of jumped because we all go so excited so quickly when someone mentioned windows!
Another cool moment was when we were asked about lower school design thinking and how the process could be used with younger kids. This moment was cool for me because it was a “we know more than we think we do” moment. All of the students in the room were at least rising sophomores and more of us were upper classmen, but we all were able to share a little about stories we’ve heard about DT happening on our lower school. We were also able to share tips about embracing the fun in the process and how kids that age can definitely brainstorm, tinker, and ideate but they may need more guidance so we believe the trick is to make sure they really understand the “any idea’s a good idea” and “fail-up” mindsets.
This moment showcased how clearly MVPS cross campus communication is at least decent since we were able to talk about the water challenge, mini library challenge, and makers club at the lower school. It also showcased how students can be “experts” about more than just high school stuff, because everyone has other connections and experiences that contribute to their knowledge on topics.
The last session was one I was leading about Innovation Diploma. Of all things the one question that I’m still racking my head on is, “How would you explain in 2 minutes design thinking to a 2nd grader? What key words would you use knowing they wouldn’t understand all of the DT language words?” There are definitely a lot of terms we use when talking about DT that not everyone understands, and it has been an empathy struggle for me personally sometimes because it is hard to gauge what people will or will not understand when it comes to word choice.
When we were asked this question non of us could give the actual 2 minute description, but we were able to pick out at least a few key words and phrases: human centered problem solving (the big one!), process, relationship building, lot’s of models (trying to not use “prototyping” and “iteration”), working past failed ideas, telling stories, and a few more I can’t quite recall. Anyway, for me this helped lead to one of my big take aways today which was that I can always be working to have a clearer way to quickly describe DT; it’s seems I’ve been in the situation more and more often where I’ve needed this quick, non-DT vocab heavy, explanation.
When the conference finally came to a close the energy and excitement in the room was fantastic! I loved how happy everyone was to have completed their first (for many) DT challenge and I was glad they all enjoyed MVPS so much. The wonder I have (and also said at the end of the day) is if next year we could successfully get students from other schools to come. This year we had those tickets available but no one took the bait, but maybe now people have a better idea of what design thinking is, they will bring students too! There were definitely a lot of “ooohs” when I said my wonder, so that’s always promising.
I also was so touched to have so many people that talked to me about wanting to communicate more with me about design thinking, and some even asked if I could talk to their students. When someone says “you were inspiring,” that’s more meaningful than any A or any number could ever be, and that’s what motivates me to keep learning and sharing my story every day. So thanks to everyone that helped make fuse15 possible: the d. team, coaches, and recruits, you were all what made the experience #BOOMSHAKALAKA !