Monday, December 19, 2016

First off, I am so honored to be a part of this amazing group of bloggers! This online, blogging book study was started by the fabulous +Colleen Noffsinger and +Kristin RicheyI learn so much each and everyday from the educators that have participated in the #D100BloggerPD studies over the last year and I am so happy to be a part of it during this particular book. 

The book we are reading for this study is called, LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by A.J. Juliana and John Spencer. The purpose is focusing on using Design Thinking as the process and LAUNCH as the cycle. My fellow colleagues have written on each chapter breaking them down for you.  Thanks to the amazing, +Jen Lehotsky for organizing such a fantastic book study. Jenny, who is a TED-Ed Innovative Educator has chosen this book which stemmed from of a professional project of her own that she LAUNCHed this summer at the TED event that she attended. She is truly an inspirational and innovative educator who questions, creates, and iterates! She began the book study here and you can access other chapter reviews in the Thinglink here!

Each blog has their own unique perspective on their chapter and today I get to review my perspective and take away from Chapter 9. This chapter really focuses on refining, revising, and iterating the product that you have been working hard on so far!


This is how the chapter begins, with this beautiful quote from Elon Musk. This quote immediately stood out to me and made me think of the saying "Fail forward!" To me, failing forward means trying something new with the confidence that it may, or may not, be successful but knowing that you will learn from the 'failure' and have the ability to pick yourself up and KEEP going! Every time I hear this phrase I am reminded that it is ok to 'fail' because it only makes you and your product stronger. #failforward

Wouldn't you love to feel like this everyday as you are trying new things? Check out Audri's journey -  This inspirational kid sure does feel like failure is an option in order to create and innovate!

Phase Six: Highlighting and Improving 

What they really say is that this phase goes beyond simply prototyping. They explain that the main goal of this phase is to create a ‘mini-cycle of highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the product and then improving it based upon that feedback” By allowing students to examine their work through conversations around 'improving' rather than ‘fixing’ allows for the identification of strengths and weaknesses of their product based on feedback  from others. The idea is that students can  then take the feedback to ‘improve’ their product and continue this cycle until they feel that the process has reached it’s purpose for the intended audience. LAUNCH breaks phase six into 5 manageable areas that is vital to focus on as you navigate this phase. 

  1. This Takes Courage 
    • and failing isn’t fun but it is important to remember that ‘failing’ only allows for this step to help launch you to a step towards the final product. This means that being courageous to receive critical feedback is crucial! Feeling lost during the process? The journey is the destination - embrace it! 
  2. The Power of Pivoting 
    • They explain that Pixar uses a process called ‘Brain Trust’ which is a way that people are allowed to offer honest feedback on the storyboards during the whole movie making process - it allows for creativity to flow from true and honest perspectives and create innovative ideas (who doesn’t love Monsters, Inc?!) Pivoting ideas is ok, in fact is the whole part of the process! 
    • “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep” Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert
  3. Highlight Strengths and Weaknesses 
    • This piece is simple yet powerful. Show the students how they can highlight strengths and weaknesses. IF you show them, then they have a clear understanding of how to provide feedback. Some examples include: rubrics, pros/cons chart, checklist, a list of criteria to test, thoughtful questions for reflections. (pg. 180) 
  4. The 20-minute Peer Feedback Process
    • BEWARE: Groupthink! This can be dangerous for any group and especially a group that might involve negative thinkers. They recommend a 20-minute peer feedback process. This is a 5 step process, each part takes 2 minutes. Students are timed and follow through with the process using the chart below! It’s sole purpose is to allow for targeted and focused peer feedback. Check out the chart on pg. 182. 
  5. Making Revision Engaging 

    • rather than looking at revision as a deficit, they encourage us to take a very different approach in which it is student focused (rather than teacher directed) and has them focus on what they need to ‘refine’ their work. Sometimes the improving phase may be boring, however it is important to embrace it and allow revision to become embedded naturally into the design process.
    • Suggestions on how to set the revision stage:
      • Change up the grouping
      • help students become better critics
      • emphasize that all great products went through many iterations before they worked well 
      • break it up
      • create the right atmosphere for revision 
      • devote more time to revision 
      • use student conferencing

A school example = mindset shift?

School: Mount Vernon Presbyterian

Mission: Inquiry, Impact, Innovation

Vision: “We are a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact. Grounded in Christian values, we prepare all students to be college-ready, globally competitive, engaged citizens.” (pg. 185).

They end this chapter with an example of a school who has not only embraced this design thinking, but truly embody it each day. Mount Vernon Presbyterian is described as a place where the vision and mission have become alive. When you walk through the hallways and talk to the students, each and everyone of them believe in their mission and vision which is seen through their creative work that is popping up all around the school. With a mission and vision like the one above, it opens doors for collaboration, invites in questioning and supports creation and requires iteration

Honestly, I had to go back and re-read this chapter a couple of times to make sure that I shared all of the ‘ah-ha’s’ that I had. I hope that you enjoyed reading my breakdown of Chapter 9. Check out additional resources on Chapter 9 

I leave you with a couple of reflections question of your own… 
  • When was the last time you tried seventy-seven times until you got something right?
  • What does your school's mission and/or vision look like?
  • Does learning in your classroom look like real life?
  • Does fear hold you back from failing?

Be sure to join the conversation using #D100BloggerPD and #LAUNCHBook on twitter! Please be sure to check out our fabulous guest blogger, Tyler Haar, on Teaching and Learning Redefined  where he will break down his reflections on Chapter 10. Thank you for reading!