Friday, August 12, 2016

It Isn't Just About the Answer...



"We are at a critical point where rapid change is forcing us to look not just to new ways of solving problems but to new problems to solve.” 
Tim Brown, President and CEO, IDEO

At the Cairns Curriculum Conference this weekend, I learned from listening to Dr Michael Henderson of Monash University about 'design-led learning'. Where traditional forms of education and learning have focused very heavily on the end result; albeit a test score, report card grading, outcome of an experiment, I understand 'design-led learning' to be far deeper.

Dr Henderson used the example of the creation of the light bulb by Edison. So the urban myth goes, when Edison was asked by a reporter "How did it feel to fail 1000 times?" he replied "I didn't fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention that took 1000 steps"  The light bulb was the tangible product but the process was where the learning occurred and this learning has then been applied to other inventions.

It isn't the end result, but the process of learning which has led a learner to the result that is most powerful and important. It isn't about the answer, but instead about how one comes to the answer.

"Our task is to build creative confidence - become playful in our designs - looking for understandings rather than solutions." (Henderson, 2016)

Our children, therefore need to develop their own dispositions for learning including a growth mindset, resilience, cooperation, confidence, persistence, problem solving and reflection so that they can then take the necessary risks in their learning. For this to occur, they need to both be trusted and to trust.

Technology enables this to occur in ways we didn't have in the past as students can create, collaborate, cooperate and communicate at high levels. It isn't the device, but what the device enables our children to 'do' as part of the process of learning that is important.

Innovative learning spaces (the third teacher) give the agency and flexibility for this to occur in highly accountable ways. Being stuck behind a desk in rows all day can be limiting and stifle the learning process and impact on the well being of students.

This is a change in mindset and paradigms for us adults who have grown up and been educated in a very different world, where compliance and the end result was the focus. Often it is the adults who have the issues with this type of thinking and not the children; to them they know nothing different and so have capacity to soar.

What are your thoughts? Like Edison did often, how often do you fail and what do you learn when you do?

Failing is the First Attempt In Learning!