I’ve been thinking of another session I attended during the Connect 2015 conference: Think like an Entrepreneur by MARS, a member of Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs .
Entrepreneurial Thinking: The conference session was for K-12 teachers, but I found the strategies exciting and relevant for any learning environment. Why? Well, I thought about student buy-in, excitement, and engagement. Students sometimes resist student-centred learning: Can’t you just tell me what to do? This just seems like more work. What’s the answer, the formula?
Fair statement and questions. Essentially, I think students just want to know WHY. . . an important question. Renaming student-centred learning as Entrepreneurial Thinking gave me an answer to the question, “Why student-centred learning?”. . . an answer that makes sense to university students because it has real-world application–inherent in its very name.
During the session, we participated in a Design Thinking activity.
Step 1: In groups, we explored a general problem (our “problem” was student engagement). We were given sticky notes, markers, and a large paper divided into three sections labelled classroom, administration, and national.
Step2: We explored the “problem” from the three perspectives, writing our ideas on the sticky notes and placing them in the related sections.
Step 3: We clustered the sticky notes according to theme and their relatedness.
Step 4: We identified one underlying “problem” that we felt we could address, and then we explored potential solutions. To guide us, we watched a video of Clay Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing strategy which frames products (or solutions) as doing a “job” for people. For example, as a teacher choosing an instructional strategy, I might ask myself, “What job am I hiring this Design Thinking activity to do for my students?”.
Hopefully you’re getting ideas. Personally, I thought of our programming for our at-risk students (i.e., students who are at risk of being on academic probation). Using this Design Thinking strategy, students could explore a problem (like social networking and privacy) in a way that not only develops their research skills but also builds their confidence–confidence that they can make a real difference in the world.
I also thought of our academic-zone.com online programming and asked myself, “What job did we hire academic-zone to do?” . . . for students, for teachers, and for administrators. To our clients: “What job did you hire academic-zone to do?”. To our future clients: “What job would you hire academic-zone to do for you and your students?”.
The question is direct and focuses on outcomes.
Please share your thoughts.