Category Archives: Integrative Thinking

We’re Different – And Why?

How do we successfully navigate the chasm between “progressives” and “traditionalists”?  The RSA Report (March 2016) Creative Public Leadership suggests that creating a compelling argument is the first step.

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For those of us who have been learning online for nearly 20 years, creating a compelling argument might seem redundant.

We wonder why it seems so hard to convince those higher up in the education hierarchy that change is an urgent need.

Perhaps the work of Roger Martin can help us understand the chasm more clearly.

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STANCE

If I am an educator and/or education leader, and I believe that I am doing excellent work, I have no reason to look for new tools to change my practice.

If I believe that I am a learner, and that my practice can always improve, I look for tools to help me organize my thinking, to learn more about the world and to connect with others in like roles.  These tools include traditional learning materials like books and research papers, but they now also include digital tools and social networking opportunities.

TOOLS

How I see myself and my purpose influences my choice of tools.  If leaders use traditional tools like books and articles, they might insist that I do as well.  But if I am an innovative thinker, I will stretch beyond what my leadership team is modelling and engage in digital tools that might lead me to online conversations and learning – to building a powerful network of online learners who challenge my thinking and invite me to participate in a whole different level of learning.

This begins to change who I am, and my thinking about what tools are best for my learning.  We can see already how this begins to conflict with the thinking of education leaders who have not used the vast array of today’s online tools for learning.

EXPERIENCE

Choosing digital tools creates opportunities for unique, personalized and deep professional learning, outside of what has been prescribed by education leaders.

This changes us.

Our thinking about our practice is now influenced by educators from around the world, not just those in our hierarchy.  And those “above us”  in our deeply hierarchical education systems may have no clue that this learning is possible, thereby devaluing its importance.

We liken this to coming out of a cave, realizing that the paucity of learning “in the cave” using traditional tools is not what we need in this *VUCA world.  We recognize that the vastly expansive and rich  learning opportunities and the tools that support and leverage them are critical to the success of our students today.

We are changed educators. But when we jump up and down and try to make others see this (invisible) world we have discovered, we are often met with disappointment (or worse).

David Truss, in 2012, described it beautifully here.

Seth Godin asks us today:

It’s far easier to worry and gripe about insufficient authority, about those that would seek to slow us down, disrespect us or silence us.

But we live in a moment where each of us has the power of influence.

What will you do with it?

Seth Godin, More Powerful Than You Know

*VUCA=Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity

Featured Image by Carl Jones: CC-BY-NC-2.0

RESOURCES:

David Truss: The Lone Wolf

Heidi Siwak: The Very Strange World of Adult Problem Solving

Seth Godin: More Powerful Than You Know

Roger Martin: The Opposable Mind

The RSA: Creative Public Leadership

Canada’s Digital Talent Strategy for 2020

Harvard Business Review: What VUCA really means for you

Consumers or Creators?

Over the last few days I have been thinking about an article that was shared with me last week on Twitter.

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How can design thinking be used in classrooms to help students achieve the skill sets and mindsets needed in 2016?

From @eduwells Richard Wells http://eduwells.com/2015/02/04/design-thinking-in-the-classroom/
From @eduwells Richard Wells http://eduwells.com/2015/02/04/design-thinking-in-the-classroom/

In his book, The Global Achievement Gap, Dr. Tony Wagner outlined the skills all students now need to succeed (The Seven Survival Skills)

  1. Critical thinking and problem solving
  2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  3. Agility and adaptability
  4. Initiative and entrepreneurship
  5. Accessing and analyzing information
  6. Effective oral and written communication
  7. Curiosity and imagination.

In his 2012 book, Creating Innovators, Dr. Wagner states that these skills are now critical but not sufficient to thrive in today’s world.

There are other qualities of innovators that are essential, such as

  1. Perseverence
  2. Willingness to experiment, take risks and tolerate failure
  3. The capacity for design thinking

Design thinking, requires these essential abilities:

  1. Empathy
  2. Integrative thinking
  3. Optimism
  4. Experimentalism – exploring problems and possible solutions in new and creative ways (Creating Innovators, 2012, Chapter 3)

How can we bring this thinking into the classroom?

In an environment focused on school and board improvement for raising test scores, how do we transform our thinking and turn our students into creators instead of consumers?

Richard Wells provides an infographic and a quick guide to starting design thinking and planning in the classroom.

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In addition, the FourSight Creative Problem Solving Model provides another structure for helping students tackle problems in new ways.

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From Foursight Technical Manual on Validity, https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0190/3788/files/foursight-technical-manual-on-validity.pdf

 

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From Strategic and Innovative Leadership, Schulich School of Business, York University, March 2016

At the BIT15 conference, closing keynote speaker Heidi Siwak introduced the work she is doing with students around integrative thinking.

Heidi’s post this weekend helped me to understand the urgency of changing how we think about what is important not only in our classrooms, but in the environments where those of us who support classroom educators think of how best to move forward.

From Heidi Siwak, The Very Strange World of Adult Problem Solving, http://www.heidisiwak.com/2016/03/the-very-strange-world-of-adult-problem-solving/
From Heidi Siwak, The Very Strange World of Adult Problem Solving, http://www.heidisiwak.com/2016/03/the-very-strange-world-of-adult-problem-solving/

 

In a culture, where BIPSAs and SIPSAs determine the inch we focus on, and where adults learned to thrive in an outdated system, how do we best move forward with trying to support our students in becoming creators instead of consumers?

 

Resources:

 

Canada’s First National Digital Talent Strategy Paves the Way Forward for an Innovative and Globally Connected Economy (March 2016)

Roger Martin: The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the next Competitive Advantage

Roger Martin: The Opposable Mind (Integrative Thinking)

Harvard Macy Systems Approach to Assessment

How Do You Know When Students Are Learning? –  David Truss

 

We Don’t Think Differently (or do we?) – 7/10

Do we think differently, or have we just learned differently?

This post is part of a 10 day posting challenge issued by Tina Zita. You can’t be a connected educator if you don’t contribute. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember that if nobody shares, nobody learns. Thanks Tina!

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Silence.

You’ve felt that right?

You know, it happens when you say something like, “Why would we not just share that openly on a blog for everyone to see?” – and the room goes silent.

For those of us in the Lone Wolf Pack, this is our normal.

We are told that we “think differently”.

I’m not sure I buy that.  I am not sure that I believe we “think differently”. I wonder if we have just been through very different learning experiences.

We have been learning as networked, connected learners for years – decades in fact.  We have been learning in spaces yet to be discovered, yet to be respected, yet to be acknowledged by the status quo in our profession.

We have been learning different content.  We have been learning through ideas.

Ideas just pop into our network all the time.  Seeing and exploring new ideas daily, hourly, but the minute almost, is what we do.

We have had the time to share, converse, think through, research, challenge, ask about – to form thinking about – millions of ideas from around the world.

Then we throw out one of these ideas f2f,  and silence.

We are called names, like “rogue“.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 9.14.05 AMIt’s not so much that we might think differently, it’s that we learn differently.

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We learn through education 3.0, in a profession that is talking 2.0 while remaining firmly entrenched in 1.0.

 

 

And that’s the problem.

 

Shared by Dr. Jackie Gerstein under a CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/experiences-in-self-determined-learning-moving-from-education-1-0-through-education-2-0-towards-education-3-0/
Shared by Dr. Jackie Gerstein under a CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/experiences-in-self-determined-learning-moving-from-education-1-0-through-education-2-0-towards-education-3-0/

 

Featured Image: Shared by Dr.  Jackie Gerstein  under a CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license

RESOURCES

Dear Lone Wolf by David Truss (@datruss)

 

We Feel Lost – by Will Richardson

35 Years Later – by Tina Zita

 

Katie Martin: 5 Reasons Professional Development is not Transforming Learning.

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http://katielmartin.com/2015/10/05/5-reasons-professional-development-is-not-transforming-learning/

In One Tweet – What I Learned in 2015

Sharing learning is a core value of my professional practice.

This space – this blog – is my rough work.  It’s a place to put out the raw thinking and learning and invite comments and challenges so that I might continue to learn and to rethink how we do education.

In a nutshell, here is what I learned in 2015.

January:  Create Value

Before people will believe your message, they have to see value in what you have to offer.

February: Enough with the conceptual – move into the concrete.

What does learning look like in this time of exponential change?  We need a clear idea of what our goals for our education system actually look like, sound like, feel like – not just buzzwords like “21st Century Skills”.

March: Teach Less, Learn More

Let students own their learning. Teachers think their role is to spend hours planning learning for their students, yet the one doing the work is doing the learning. Pak Tee Ng’s explanation is here.

April: #makeschooldifferent

Worldwide, educators know we need change. In April, we named it and shared it. What do you think we need to stop pretending?

May: Learning is Sought, Not Provided

When you see a catalyst, a desire, a realization of the need for change, take action to support it. We need to design the environments that encourage curiosity at all levels of the system.

June: Beware of “Enthusiastic Amateurs”

In the same way that a physician with enthusiasm but no skill is dangerous, not everything that is self-promoted in social media is good practice. Leaders need to be skilled in the use of technology so they promote good practice, not just any practice that uses a device.

July: Support all learners in reaching full potential

Our students arrive in school as creative, curious learners, and that’s what we want our graduates to be many years later.

Do no harm.

August: Digital Fluency Matters

How are we ensuring all of our students are digitally fluent?

September: Education is a HUMAN System

Change only happens at the speed at which each individual changes personal professional practice.

October: We are in an age of Exponential Change

Can leaders really say, “I’m not ready”, or is this now malpractice?

November: Status Quo is a Loser (Michael Fullan, YRDSB Quest)

How do we challenge the status quo safely? Are educators integrative thinkers?

December: Challenge Everything

Dip into the data pool constantly. Shift thinking based on evidence. Unlearn.

Summary

Learning will only be sought if there is perceived value. We learn what is relevant and interesting when we are curious.

No conclusion is final – you have to keep “dipping in” for new evidence.  It’s growth mindset, it’s integrative thinking, it’s removing labels on people and practices.

We are in times of exponential change, and we need to challenge our thinking about everything.

Remove the roadblocks that keep others from reaching their full potential.

In one Tweet, here is my learning from 2015.

Tweet for 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sharing from #BIT15: Heidi Siwak’s Keynote Address

If you were unable to attend Heidi Siwak’s closing keynote at #BIT15 this year, you missed an amazing learning experience.

Let’s see if we can share the important points.

Here is Heidi’s link to the resources.

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Here is the storify of the Twitter chat for the event.

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