Posted June 9, 2011on:
I love consuming resources that make me think. And nothing does that more than good questions.
There are lots of takeaways in this video by Mickey McManus. After telling a story of how some learners created E. coli that smelt like mint and banana, he posed a question that made me pause for thought:
We can make anything, and make it right… The question our children will have to answer is… what is the right thing to make?
McManus believes that design thinking and design literacy can fill this gap. He also makes it clear that design is not (just) about art and wishy-washy statements about creativity:
Design is the systematic, repeatable, practiced creative activity to take someone else’s agenda and actually use that energy to solve their problems. It’s something you can learn, it’s something you can practice, it’s something you can get better at.
Then he talked about design literacy and how it might help reshape education. I think that he was using different terms for the same ends. Educators might refer to his interventions and examples as authentic and contextualized learning. Nonetheless, there were some tips that educators might find useful, e.g., thinking out of the box with the round-robin and “what if” methods, rapid prototyping, etc.
With the help of a few videos, he showed how engaging students in the design process resulted in more motivated and deeper learning.
He also challenged his audience to promote design literacy in our kids early in their lives. To illustrate, he showcased a young boy designing his own game on paper (around the 18-minute mark of the YouTube video).
My immediate reaction: My son does this! My second reaction: We don’t really need to teach or enable them to do this; we just need to encourage it or get out of their way. I think it’s really about nurturing what kids naturally have, seeding what they don’t and managing what they develop over time.