Nobody Puts DT in The Box

The post below was written somewhere between Nov. 28 -Now.  Processing takes time to Brew

This post is connected to two previous posts, a rich and thoughtful discussion, and an email after said discussion.  The two posts are HERE & HERE

On Friday, I was fortunate to have Jim Tiffin working in and around the same space as me.   My current work was scaffolding, reflecting, recalling DEEPdt Challenges over the years at MVPS for an eventual archive portfolio of our work.  The organization of my compiling is All School (#mvpschool) and then listing of individual Ddt challenges in the grades….  The image below shows a 2nd iteration of said compiling with our Upper School lumped into one whole list. I am not sure if I am satisfied in the lumping but it is what it is at the moment.  By the way, the lists are not complete and are not reflective of ALL the DEEPdt challenges MV has experienced these last six years…

I was able to share this compiling with Jim as well as talk to him about the development of DEEPdt methodology + process and content skills.  Obviously DEEP design thinking is something very near and dear to my heart.  In some areas it might seem to those that I have narrowed as an educator into a one trick pony as my focus on design thinking is continuing me down a path that simply just leans that way…  I must remind myself at times that perception is reality, and I need to just remember my reality :). Long before discovering the practice of design thinking, creating and developing DEEPdt methodology, I was a K-5 Science Lab teacher, a 4th-6th grade Science teacher, a 4th grade Math, LA/Lit, Sci teacher, a 3rd Grade (ALL) teacher, and of course the start of my EDU career, a Middle School (6th-8th) LA/Literature teacher. I guess I should thrown in the fact that along the while I picked up a Masters in Educational Leadership with Technology.

And why reference these timeline points?  Well, one of the things Jim shared with me was about him being resistant to putting design thinking into a box in regards to assessment (my next blog post I hope to write about w/ Amoeba in the title).  And this idea of a Box has really got me thinking about how a teacher can be/is put in a box called a grade level or a subject specialty.  I was recently asked how did you find yourself in the design thinking “box”?  The honest answer is, “I don’t know but I suspect it was because I was seen as someone up for a challenge, a change, and well, I had a slant to move with my students in their learning vs. lead them in their learning.”  My Head of School, Dr. Jacobsen brought the story of the Infant Embrace Warmer and the d.School to me one Friday, six years ago and the rest is still being created. Thankfully.

Each week on #dtk12chat, new teachers pop up seeking understanding, connections, a light to show the way to use design thinking into their instructional practices. And I think it is so wonderful for educators in the trenches to find such a warm, welcoming, and giving space.  As Jim has reminded me about “The Box”,  I hope teachers will look at design thinking NOT as a box to fill, plug, or check off as more and more exposure to DT in K12 spaces gets spotlighted.  Instead, I hope they infuse design thinking into their instruction, learning, and daily practice of living.  The Box metaphor has so many layers and applications in which I could attach to many different areas of EDU. Going back to being a grade level or subject specialty educator, the bottom line is the original box we chose to be placed in was that of an Educator.  Just as an Educator wears multiple hats at various times of the day/week/month/year, we as educators should proudly dive in, carry, collapse, mold, juggle, and play in multiple boxes. How could we not?  One size does not fit all (ever have a class full of kids?) and our box should not define us.  Just like with design thinking, you are dealing with a ton of boxes but sometimes you might find yourself wearing them, climbing inside, blasting off to the moon, or simply hacking them up to pieces to make something else for someone else.  (dt=people + empathy)

Now, as Jim is well aware, the Box he was trying to get me to understand actually had not so much to do with the above metaphors.   He is trying to get me to understand that if specific DEEPdt assessments are created then four sided, ridged boxes would be their results… I believe the latest phrase from the Box is Cookie-Cutter….   Stay Tuned for the Amoeba post (still in editing mode & should I really hit Publish on this can of worms?)


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