Coauthored by Sandra Kuipers and Owen Lloyd

Introduction and context.

Both Sandra and I share a common background with teaching providing us an excellent opportunity to apply the design thinking procedure to the context of our students. Through the execution of the d.School’s design thinking process we were able to identify the needs shared by both our students.

Identified problem.

It was identified that our students were lacking development in the following areas: collaboration and leadership skills, as well as low student agency and intellectual risk taking.

Proposed solution.

Implementation of a digital student inquiry board situated within a learning management system (LMS). This digital interface would be a media rich virtual cork board that would act as a central hub for students to virtually “pin” their personalized learning inquiry project. Once pinned, interested classmates could select it and anonymously request to collaborate on the project or create a project of their own. This module would run parallel to the course, in a non-linear capacity, allowing for independent open engagement as each student progresses.

To build trust, and reduce any potential for bias, the system would support anonymous connection between collaborators until the project begins, encouraging intellectual risk taking by minimizing peer visibility.

The sharing of periodic progress via multi modal delivery methods i.e.: audio, video, animation or static images would serve to build community and build engagement among the cohort.


 


Support

We are grounding our prototype with Hegarty’s Eight Attributes of Open Pedagogy which, as Bates points out, includes the voluntary sharing of ideas and resources between peers (Bates, 2019). Voluntary sharing would be supported by the development of the Student Inquiry Board, allowing students to work in teams to achieve shared learning goals while encouraging the free exchange of skills and knowledge. The implementation of collaborative technologies and group experiential learning activities, via co-creation of learning artifacts supports peer connections and the building of community.

Additionally, as Merrill points out in his 2002 paper First Principles of Instruction, “Effective instruction must provide an opportunity for learners to demonstrate their newly acquired skills” (Merrill, 2002, p. 17). This demonstration of skills would be facilitated by the periodic progress updates and final completion of the inquiry project. However, the demonstration of skills requires trust and trust is built incrementally by carefully creating a safe learning environment, one that is open and empathetic.

Building trust starts with the teacher developing a rapport with the students that conveys honesty and humility. It has been shown that developing trust through personal interactions with the students increases motivation to engage in intellectual risk (Pearson, 2001). The emotional learning environment of the classroom plays a crucial role in building student trust and an environment that is supportive of dialogue and expression will bolster student confidence and creativity.

Conclusion

While we recognize our identified problems are not new or isolated to our group, it is our hope that this Student Learning Inquiry board will reduce social barriers to learning and promote the development of trust, agency and intellectual risk taking.

We are excited to receive feedback as it is through the eyes of our peers that we will be able to see a perspective that would otherwise be hidden from us. Our mutual goals as learning facilitators is to enrich the learning and lives of our students and your open feedback will put us all on a mutual path of success.

References

Bates, T. (2019, September 26). Chapter 11.4 Open pedagogy | Tony Bates. Retrieved November 15, 2019, from https://www.tonybates.ca/2019/09/26/chapter-11-4-open-pedagogy/

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3), 43–59. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02505024

Pearson (2011) Understanding intellectual risk taking. Retrieved from http://assets.pearsonschoolapps.com/playbook_assets/Understanding%20Intellectual%20Risk%20Taking.pdf

Stanford University Institute of Design (2016). A Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking — Stanford d.school. Retrieved from: https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources-collections/a-virtual-crash-course-in-design-thinking