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TED Talk Tuesday: Tim Brown urges designers to think big

Today’s #edchat discussion on Twitter was all about training kids as critical thinkers.  I believe that we are losing students as critical thinkers because in our current model of education, where we are standardizing education with tests, we teach kids that there is one correct answer to every question.  We limit their thinking to what we have already determined is an acceptable answer to the question.  This is extremely limiting.  Critical thinking means that we aren’t satisfied with the easy answer, we think about multiple solutions to the problem and even think of additional questions.  We approach a problem differently, more creatively. In today’s TED Talk, Tim Brown talks about his journey in design and his tendency to think about problems on a small scale, limiting himself to the obvious answers and a single solution.  Design wasn’t always this way, design used to be big. Design thinking solves problems and works to create world changing innovations. It seems to me that there is a strong correlation with what Tim refers to as Design Thinking and what we call critical thinking.  Roger Martin calls this integrative thinking, the ability to exploit opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Isn’t this what we are asking our students to do when we are looking for critical thinking?  What we really want students to do is think as designers.   When I watch children who haven’t yet entered the classroom, I notice a strong correlation between the way a child thinks and the way a designer thinks.  They are questioners, tinkerers, and are never satisfied with one solution. Design thinking could be our model for critical thinking in the classroom, but beyond that design thinking could be our solution to reform in education.  Exploiting opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Design is human centered, it starts with what humans need or might need. It means understanding culture and context.   From destination to active participation that is meaningful and productive. Value is added through collaborative experiences and not through monetary gains alone (think Twitter). In times of change we need new thinking and new ideas.  We are in the midst of massive change and we need to rethink what we accept as basic fundamentals. We need new choices because our current options are becoming obsolete.  We need to take a divergent approach and come up with something that hasn’t been done before.  What is the question we are trying to answer? What is the design brief for education. The first step is to start asking the right questions. (I think #edchat does an honorable job of this!)  What are the right questions?

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Group Table

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 18-11-2008

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What it is: GroupTable is a web-based software and success network developed specifically to help student groups improve document management, project planning and communication.”  Group Table helps students stay organized with all of their group projects and study groups in one place.  Students can see all of their groups in one place including any file uploads, posts, tasks, upcoming events and more.  Each student and group has their own binder on Group Table that allows them to organize, store and share word documents, presentations, and spreadsheets in one easy-to-use location.  Group Table has the ability to create to do lists and assign tasks or remind others about upcoming events.  Each group gets a dedicated chat room and discussion board with Group Table making collaboration and communication simple and efficient.  This site was created by college students for students.  Although the target audience is high school and college age students, Group Table could be effectively used in the secondary elementary classroom and the middle school classroom.


How to integrate Group Table into the classroom:   For high school and college students, Group Table is a great site to introduce students to for their own group creation.  Secondary elementary and middle school students would benefit from a teacher led group on Group Table.  This is a great way to introduce your students to effective collaboration, communication, and 21st century literacy skills.  It is essential that students learn how to collaborate on projects using web 2.0 technologies and Group Table provides the perfect space to practice.


Tips:   Teachers, create a study group for your classroom that your students can join.


Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Group Table in your classroom.

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