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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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The Cool Teacher Podcast

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 05-11-2008

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What it is:   The Cool Teacher Podcast is a podcast by educational technologist Chris Haskell who is an instructor for pre-service teachers in methods and applications of technology integration in the classroom (notice any similarities to iLearn Technology?).  The podcast “delivers cool tools, techniques, and tactics to transform your teaching.”  In episode #7 that came out yesterday, Chris gives a shout out to iLearn Technology’s post on Glogster (thank you Chris!!).  The podcasts are very entertaining to listen to and give great ideas for using technology in the classroom!


How to integrate The Cool Teacher Podcast into the classroom:    The Cool Teacher Podcast is a wonderful stop (in addition to iLearn Technology) for great ideas and tips for integrating technology into your classroom.  You can find the Cool Teacher Podcast at the links here as well as on iTunes in the iTunes store (it is free to subscribe to).  Listen to these great podcasts while you are grading, on the drive home, or while you are cleaning up your classroom for the day…just be sure to keep a pad and pencil handy to jot down the great ideas you are sure to hear!


Tips:  Chris also has a blog related to the podcasts, you can check that out here.  Thanks again Chris!


Leave a comment and tell us how you are using The Cool Teacher Podcast in your classroom.

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