This spring was filled with wonderful opportunities to connect with educators seeking to dive into progressive classroom practices. Despite each of their hopes for exploring innovative methodologies such as Project Based Learning, Design Thinking or Maker Education, we as educators all shared one thing in common: we face many barriers in this important work. Barriers ranging from lack of planning time and resources, to external mandates that are antithetical to these new ideas for teaching and learning, to “traditional” schedules and colleagues. Bringing these many voices into the same room, through Design Camp, Deeper Learning Conference and FutureNowEdu, we were able to use our collective knowledge to bridge the gap of tradition and innovation in schools by helping one another take small steps for systemic change.
Here is the process we went through:
- Empathy building exercise-journaling on the perspectives of parents, teachers and students who are experiencing innovative teaching practices.
- Collective brainstorm-we walked the room in a silent carousel brainstorm adding problems and solutions that we often face in implementing innovative teaching practices.
- Passion-based action steps-participants gravitated toward the perspective they felt most ready to help “bridge the gap” (parent, teacher or student) and developed a Doodle filled with concrete steps and resources to share out with the larger group.
- Gamestorming social networking– we knew one of the most important outcomes of these conferences was to keep the conversation going with the people who were in the room, so we took participants through an exercise that allowed them to meaningfully connect with one another.
Here is what we came up with:
- An incredible list of resources for educators looking to explore innovation in their school/classroom.
- Some pretty great visuals to help us remember the ideas and inspiration that came out of our time together
- Meaningful conversations and connections with like-minded educators who are facing similar challenges in our work.
Regardless of the conference or location, the outcome was the same. It felt refreshing to simply get “the right people in the room”. Every one of us is yearning to improve teaching and learning in our context-every one of us is rolling up our sleeves and trying so hard to do the work; and it felt good to find our people AND come up with some actionable next steps. As we closed out each workshop we encouraged the room to continue to connect with our tribe and share out their learning through social media, using the hashtags: #deeperlearning #pblchat #shareyourlearning and of course tagging @craftEDcm and @tobiabrooke -we hope you do too!