Meghan Cureton (@MeghanCureton) shares an early chapter in pictures for (i)Diploma — Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma (@MViDiploma). I’m privileged to co-facilitate the cohort with Mrs. Cureton.
An open letter to Mount Vernon Faculty and Staff:
Dear Mount Vernon Faculty and Staff:
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!
THANK YOU for all you do and share and inspire!
For awhile, I’ve used the term “School 3.0.” When I do, a number of people ask me what I mean by that.
School 1.0: the “traditional” or industrial-age model of school where information transfer from teacher to student is the dominant and defining characteristic. Verbs such as “deliver” and “cover” are used a lot. The currency is grades on a 100-pt scale (in recent half century).
School 2.0: the “21st century movement” in schooling where some number of “Cs” dominate the conversation (communication, collaboration, creative thinking, etc.); information exchanges in two directions and phrases such as “student-centered” are heard frequently. Technology enables some pull-based education. School works to model more of how the world learns outside of school. The currency of school 2.0 leans much more towards learning, and SBG is at least practiced by several progressive thinkers, if not the entire faculty.
School 3.0: the next wave (hopefully) of school transformation. Learning is deeply contextual and relevant. PBL (with a capital P) dominates the mode of work as “schools” (placed-based collections of teacher-learners, student-learners, and parent-learners — more like schools of fish than mere school buildings) are partnered with community organizations, civic leadership, and for-profit and not-for-profit business to address real-world challenges and opportunities. Shifts thinking about school as merely “preparation” for something later and recognizes that people of all ages learn by doing and desire to be positive forces of change in their worlds. The currency is the stuff that matters — the challenges and opportunities for social and capitalistic improvement, betterment, and innovation.
Well, on Friday, August 22, 2014, I spent a full day in School 3.0
Mary Cantwell (@scitechyedu) was invited as the Director of the Center for Design Thinking at The Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation to facilitate two half-days of professional learning and implementation of design thinking with Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Particularly, Cantwell was asked to work with the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (@CDC_NCBDDD) through the Open Idea Lab.
Additionally, Mount Vernon’s Inaugural Innovation Diploma Cohort was also invited to co-facilitate and participate in the partnership to address three SHI (Strategic Health Initiatives): 1) pregnancy and safe Rx drug use, 2) ADHD overmedication versus behavior therapy, and 3) blood clotting. Director of the iDiploma Meghan Cureton (@MeghanCureton) and I collaborated with the twelve student learners (freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at #MVUpper) in the cohort. Also, colleagues James Campbell (@theRealJamCam) and T.J. Edwards (@TJEdwards62) rounded out the team of educators and agents of @MVIFI.
On Friday, “school” for us involved significant collaboration with three CDC SHI teams to employ design thinking to advance our understanding of and to address the strategic health initiatives that the CDC_NCBDDD focused on during its time in the Open Idea Lab that day. Teen agers and doctors and educators and research scientists were bound up together in SHI teams doing the work of learners, problem-solvers, professionals, engaged citizen leaders, design thinkers, difference makers, etc. Everyone brought strengths and limitations to the tables. Everyone drew on the contributions that others offered.
Progress was made Friday. On three SHI. And on School 3.0.
Read about more of the details in one or more of these posts by my colleagues – those young and
old not as young:
- “Enthusiastic: adj., Interested, Excited” blog post by Pinya
- “What if students experienced learning in the ‘Real World’?” Storify by James Campbell
- “iD Students Accept First Challenge” blog post by Meghan Cureton
- “#DEEPdt (i)gnite Workshop” blog post by Mary Cantwell
- “#DEEPdt (i)gnite…laying the groundwork” blog post by Mary Cantwell
- “Glimpse of School 3.0 – #iDiploma + CDC” Storify curated by Bo Adams
I love my school for so many reasons. Just this morning, I received an email that provided me with yet another reason. The email was sent to the entire Upper School student body, and I was copied. It was an email rich in design thinking. It was an email full of trust that honors the wisdom of the “student.” It was an email full of promise for the depths of design – at the intersection of creativity and functionality.
Design thinking is people-centered problem solving. It is fundamentally concerned with and connected to the users of the things being designed. It is full of empathy and creative, critical thinking applied to real-world issues and challenges.
The most ambitious school leaders are serious about the design of “school.” How could one not be in our current era – to continuously think, design, and act for the best learning experiences for our learners. To give anything less than such critical attention would be unthinkable. Even if one determined to leave school “as is,” it would be superb if such decision making stemmed from thoughtful research and design, rather than status quo or de facto operations.
So, here’s the email. What a glorious invitation. How grateful I am that such is commonplace where I work and learn!
I hope you all had a great weekend.
If you would like to help us design school for the “Experiment” and “Produce” phases of the projects, we need your ideas and help.
I invite you to join me either for lunch Wednesday or for breakfast Friday (on me) to discuss how we might best design the school day to position you for success.
Click here to sign up. [active link in original email]
There are only 50 available slots this week, and there will [be] more opportunities in the near future.
Enjoy your day,
Tyler S. Thigpen
Head of Upper School
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School