“So, the first version of the disposable cup was really just a nascent idea.”
Corben, grade 6
Blending integrative thinking, design thinking and the principles of knowledge building has led to incredibly rich and fun learning in my grade 6 classroom. What the theories have allowed me to do is structure learning in a way that fosters a recognizable stance in students towards thinking and problem solving.
What is the stance of an integrative thinker? How does an integrative thinker differ from a conventional thinker? Roger Martin, head of the Martin Prosperity Institute explains it this way:
1. Believe they can see the “true” reality of any situation.
2. Believe that views that oppose theirs are not reality and therefore wrong.
3. Believe no better models could exist, because they are looking already looking at “reality”.
1. Believe existing models do not represent “reality” but are constructions.
2. Believe opposing models are there to be leveraged.
3. Believe that better models exist and “I” am capable of creating them.
Design Thinking gives us a process for iterating ideas for human centered design. It’s about idea improvement.
Knowledge Building gives us a way to value idea diversity, identify promising ideas and leverage the community for idea improvement. It has allowed my students to develop a common discourse. When Corben said, “nascent idea”, the class understood what he meant.
This week we are learning how to generate hundreds of ideas, identify patterns within ideas and uncover meaning. What are the commonalities between ideas? How might we cluster them? What do those clusters tell us? How can we extract value from what appear to be really terrible ideas?
One activity is an annual favorite: Finding Value in Bad Ideas.
What would be valuable about turning the gym into a chicken coop?
We engage in idea generation. Say it out loud to trigger ideas in others.
I then transferred the ideas to post-its.
Next we clustered. Do we see themes? Connections?
Finally we ask, “What is that cluster telling us?” We uncover the hidden meaning which helps us create design questions.
Now students are working on pitches for their own bad ideas.
Today we spent time learning about iteration by examining the evolution of the paper coffee cup.
We considered at what point the tension becomes a pattern worth exploring and then leveraging to create a new/improved idea.