SOLVED offers professional learning services that challenge educators to rethink, redesign, and reinvigorate the education experience. We strive to transform the process by which teaching and learning occurs in your classroom and/or school.
Sir Ken Robinson
To some degree, the vast majority of educators agree with Sir Ken Robinson’s illustrious Ted Talk where he convincingly argues, "We have a system of education modeled on the interest of industrialization and in the image of it…schools are still pretty much organized on factory lines with ringing bells, specialized into separate subjects...we still educate children by batches, we put them through the system by age group...Why do we that? Why is there this assumption that the most important things kids have in common is how old they are?...If you’re interested in the model of learning you don’t start from this production line mentality.”
Why do we do that?
As educators who overwhelmingly agree with Robinson’s sentiment, we continue to march on, to perpetuate the status quo, creating learning environments steeped in industrialization residue. We work in, teach in, and lead in schools that are stuck in an outdated education model.
Consequently, with each new school year, we are instructed to embrace, implement and experiment with the “next new thing”. Up and down the educational bureaucracy ladder--from teachers, instructional coaches, principals, to district leaders and superintendents, we are continuously moved and excited about new trends, new research, new instructional approaches, new standards, and new curriculum.
We’ve been inundated with differentiation, collaborative group work, data-driven instruction, classroom discourse, The Danielson Framework for Teaching, The Common Core Standards, Cornell Notes, rigor, personalized learning, individualized learning, the flipped classroom, project-based learning, 1:1 technology devices, student-centered learning, accountable talk, Bloom’s Taxonomy and the list goes on and on. Each new initiative stands on its own well-intentioned merit. In many cases, though, our enthusiasm for these initiatives are outmatched by our implementation and professional development efforts.
Rather than narrowing in on the next new educational trend, we challenge educators to reinvent themselves, rethink their classroom models and schools, and create instructional models that systematically incorporate many of the research-driven trends we’ve come to know. Our ground-up rather than top-down approach to instructional design will help reshape your classroom and school culture. We use a proven process coined "Design Thinking" to incubate creative solutions to complex problems.
What is Design Thinking?
According to the Institute of Design at Stanford, design thinking is, "a methodology for innovation that combines creative and analytical approaches, and requires collaboration across disciplines. This process draws on methods from engineering and design, and combines them with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world."
The design thinking methodology consists of five distinct stages:
- Empathize: understanding the needs of those you are designing for.
- Define: framing problems as opportunities for creative solutions.
- Ideate: generating a range of possible solutions.
- Prototype: communicating the core elements of solutions to others.
- Test: learning what works and doesn’t work to improve solutions.
Redesign Your Classroom/Instructional Model
We use this process to stir new ideas that lead to innovative classroom/ instructional models. What do we mean by classroom/instructional model? A traditional classroom model is one in which the teacher simultaneously teaches all students in the classroom the same (mathematical) concept or skill using a whiteboard, smartboard or chalkboard. Then students are challenged to engage with the mathematics individually, in pairs or even in groups. In some cases this model works. In most cases it does not.
An innovative classroom/instructional model personalizes and differentiates learning, facilitates collaboration, uses technology, and is purposefully designed so that discussions occur in small groups. After all, when is the last time you had a meaningful discussion with 25 plus people in the real world?