After watching these 9 minutes of video, I am compelled to “write curriculum.” How might we “scope and sequence” future curricula so that learners are exploring the capabilities of such hyper-local manufacturing, need meeting, and interdisciplinary design? SO exciting!
I love a good story. I particularly love story that reveals to us some of the fruits of our labors and reminds us of the motivations for why we do some of what we do.
“Learners apply knowledge to make an impact.” “Empathy influences learning.”
As designers, you empower your learners to be change agents, and our school family believes so deeply in empathy and the power of applied learning. Through your work, you have helped spring forth the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation and events like #fuse14 where we can share our practice and nurture innovators beyond our own campus and immediate community.
Thanks to #fuse14 and our amazing partnership with MODA, we helped play a part in a story of Francis W. Parker School exhibiting pieces of MODA’s recent “Design for Social Impact” show – the show that was up when we spent a night at MODA for a segment of #fuse14. You can read about it here: https://www.fwparker.org/MODAExhibit
I love thinking that learners in Chicago are emboldened and inspired to see themselves even more as design thinkers and change makers. And I love that we got to be a part of that story through your committed work, sharing the well, and collaborating with our partner MODA.
A number of other schools around the country and world have let us know that they are implementing design thinking thanks to the support and practice that we provided them at #fuse14.
Let’s do so again, and help share the well to nurture even more innovators.
#fuse15 is June 3, 4, 5. Mark the date and continue to make your mark!
HT @HollyChesser via our MVUpper Diigo Group. Her questions:
Do we teach students to ask what is worth wanting? What does it mean to be an “excellent sheep”? Is it possible to teach how to build a self or become a soul? What would I need to know in order to facilitate that? What is the most compelling purpose of a university education in your mind? Commercial? Cognitive? Moral? What does a moral education look like? If the elite universities have abandoned it, what does that foretell for the institutions attempting to keep pace?
Deresiewicz offers a vision of what it takes to move from adolescence to adulthood. Everyone is born with a mind, he writes, but it is only through introspection, observation, connecting the head and the heart, making meaning of experience and finding an organizing purpose that you build a unique individual self.
to discover “just what it is that’s worth wanting.”
Instead of being intervals of freedom, they are breeding grounds for advancement. Students are too busy jumping through the next hurdle in the résumé race to figure out what they really want. They are too frantic tasting everything on the smorgasbord to have life-altering encounters. They have a terror of closing off options. They have been inculcated with a lust for prestige and a fear of doing things that may put their status at risk.
The system pressures them to be excellent, but excellent sheep.
What we have before us then, is three distinct purposes for a university: the commercial purpose (starting a career), Pinker’s cognitive purpose (acquiring information and learning how to think) and Deresiewicz’s moral purpose (building an integrated self).
There was a time when parents trusted the resilience of childhood.
We’ve come so far that there is now a counterculture to this type of parenting. There are people like Gever Tulley, who founded the Tinkering School as a space for kids to play with power tools and wield pocket knives. In places like Wales they are building “adventure playgrounds,” essentially controlled junkyards where kids can slide through mud, build precarious structures and light fires, all with the hope of re-creating a childhood that includes freedom and a sense of danger.
parents today operate under the assumption that society is more dangerous than when we were kids, when in fact the opposite is true.
Christian began wondering if he could apply this everything-is-connected idea to a larger scale: “I began thinking, Could I teach a course not of Russia but of humanity?” He soon became infatuated with the concept. “I remember the chain of thought,” he said. “I had to do prehistory, so I have to do some archaeology. But to do it seriously, I’m going to talk about how humans evolved, so, yikes, I’m in biology now. I thought: To do it seriously, I have to talk about how mammals evolved, how primates evolved. I have to go back to multicelled organisms, I have to go back to primeval slime. And then I thought: I have to talk about how life was created, how life appeared on earth! I have to talk geology, the history of the planet. And so you can see, this is pushing me back and back and back, until I realized there’s a stopping point — which is the Big Bang.” He paused. “I thought, Boy, would that be exciting to teach a course like this!”
“What this course can do, however it’s taught, is validate big questions” — How did we get here? for instance, or Where are we going? — “that are impossible to even ask within a more silo-ized education.”
True to Christian’s original style, however, the high-school course links insights across subjects into wildly ambitious narratives.
“Most kids experience school as one damn course after another; there’s nothing to build connections between the courses that they take,” says Bob Bain, a professor of history and education at the University of Michigan and an adviser to the Big History Project, who has helped devise much of the curriculum. “The average kid has no way to make sense between what happens with their first-period World History class and their second-period algebra class, third-period gym class, fourth-period literature — it’s all disconnected. It’s like if I were to give you a jigsaw puzzle and throw 500 pieces on the table and say, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m not going to show you the box top as to how they fit together.’ ”
I wonder what this Big History course’s “Learning Outcomes doc” looks like. It would be interesting to compare it to a school’s subject-area divided L.O.s
Ravitch continued: “It begins to be a question of: Is this Bill Gates’s history? And should it be labeled ‘Bill Gates’s History’? Because Bill Gates’s history would be very different from somebody else’s who wasn’t worth $50-60 billion.”
Wineburg’s deepest concern about the approach was its failure to impart a methodology to students. “What is most pressing for American high-school students right now, in the history-social-studies curriculum, is: How do we read a text? How do we connect our ability to sharpen our intellectual capabilities when we’re evaluating sources and trying to understand human motivation?” he asked. “When we think about history, what are the primary sources of Big History? The original scientific reports of the Big Bang?” Wineburg, who also has developed an electronic history curriculum, scoffed.
Such a powerful post on several fronts. Shows iteration of learning model for daily/weekly structure and phases of deep-learning cycle. In my ever growing catalog of ways to organize learning in school that more closely parallels learning in life, this is a must for the collection.
“Most strategies have sinkholes. Some are obvious; you just need to know what you are looking for. Others develop more slowly, becoming apparent only when it’s too late. The former often come from confusing “strategy” with vision, mission, and purpose statements, or with plans and goals.”
Creating conditions in which the students generate the essential questions that drive curious pursuit of building understanding. Tied to Falconer, “When the questions become the students’ own, so do the answers.”