What’s Next for the Classroom

My journey transforming lesson plans into learning experiences.

#TeachinginaPandemic Year 2. Fin.

Who knows if school will ever return to what it looked like pre-pandemic. Over the past two years, teachers have taught in impossible conditions and under dangerous amounts of stress. No wonder so many educators are finally saying, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! and leaving public education.

Much is still uncertain and unknown.

No matter what school and learning will look like post-pandemic, there are things educators know need to happen. The public education system is broken. Schooling does not work for our marginalized and most vulnerable students. The pandemic exposed systemic problems that educators have been too powerless or afraid to disrupt. The pandemic is giving us an opportunity to redesign the system. Remember Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots from Google X? He is a self-proclaimed “culture engineer.” He created this job because he knows the importance of systematizing innovation in order to solve the world’s largest problems. At Google X, he created a work environment where employees are encouraged to be audacious. If we truly want equity and innovation at scale in public education, we need to do the same. We need to systemize innovation throughout; from the classroom all the way up to the state and federal level. Failure is holding us back, and by “us” I mean every stakeholder, from parents to superintendents to senators. Mindsets are powerful. As Navin Jain states, we are “entirely responsible for the world we have created, and will define the world we’ll live in tomorrow” (Jain, Schroeter, & Branson, 2018, p. 10). We need to shift our mindset from scarcity and fear of failure to abundance and celebrating failure.

In order to turn our crazy ideas into reality, we need to emulate Teller and his team: try to prove that whatever it is that we are trying to do can’t be done. Teller refers to this approach as trying to kill your own idea. As Teller explains, “Instead of saying, ‘What’s most fun to do about this or what’s easiest to do first?’ we say, ‘What is the most likely reason this project won’t make it?’ ” (Guizzo, 2016). At Google X, the ideas that survive get additional rounds of scrutiny, and only a tiny fraction eventually become official projects; the other proposals are discarded, and Xers (people who work at Google X) quickly move on to their next idea. Imagine using this model to improve public education. Throughout my blog posts this school year, I have touted the importance of creating learning experiences for students. I have no idea which learning experiences will work the best with every student. There is no standard learning experience that will work with every child. This is a major problem in education: once an idea is shown to be effective (i.e.: best practice), it is standardized and replicated in every classroom in America. This industrial model of public education has existed for hundreds of years. We don’t need standardized lessons or experiences, we need innovative learning experiences that are always changing for the students we are designing for. We can’t be afraid to kill learning experiences that don’t work with our students and quickly move onto designing experiences that will work.

Cartoon of “Factory model schools” by Awantha Artigala

Technology can help with this, but technology cannot shift mindsets from standardization to iteration; from best practices to design thinking; or from lesson plans to learning experiences. During the pandemic, many educators were forced to teach from home in what became known as “remote learning.” In the classroom, students were forced to sit still (4–6 feet apart) as content was delivered to students. At home, however, many students chose to opt out because they had a choice: they didn’t need that worksheet; they’d rather create a more meaningful experience for themselves (even if it was playing video games).

Understanding this perspective requires an exponential amount of empathy, or what Laura McBain, co-director of the K12 Lab at the d.school, calls Empathy+. Learning from people and context is not a transactional experience or relationship. It is interdependent and mutual. In K-12 classrooms it means learning with your students and through a shared context and experience. This is the key tenet of Piaget’s constructivism theory in educational philosophy. Students’ learning and prior knowledge is based on their own experiences prior to entering school. These prior experiences become foundations for all new learning. Social constructivist teaching is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction rather than passively receiving information. Learners are the makers of meaning and knowledge. Teachers who co-construct learning experiences with their students are more successful at engaging their students.

Remote Learning Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Project-based learning (PBL) can seem like a creative solution to passive content-delivery expectations. Unfortunately, PBL is mainly teacher-centered. Even if the teacher doesn’t provide the project itself, they usually provide the structure, timeline, and medium for the project. Liberatory design, on the other hand, helps teachers and students navigate ambiguity. It helps students and teachers figure out together the context for learning and the audience for any final project. “Good design takes in all content”, says McBain. This goes beyond an isolated design challenge.

I wrote more about Liberatory Design in an earlier blog post.

Beyond Project Based Learning

McBain and her colleagues at the K12 Lab explore the intersection of extreme creativity and innovation through the lens of eight design abilities. Students develop their own creative confidence and also inspire teachers to take risks and persevere through tough projects throughout their lives. McBain and Stanford’s K12 Lab have partnered with the Campbell School of Innovation to experiment with navigating ambiguity in the classroom and think about what’s next for public education and design thinking. Since teachers are continually refining their craft, it makes sense to explore design abilities through this iterative growth process.

Carissa Carter, Director of Teaching and Learning at the Stanford d.school, explain that these design abilities are a set of mindsets and behaviors that emphasize what students are learning and recognize the habits they are developing. The eight design abilities are: Navigate Ambiguity, Learn from Others (People & Context), Synthesize Information, Rapidly Experiment, Move Between Concrete and Abstract, Build and Craft Intentionally, Communicate Deliberately, and Design Your Design Work. This goes beyond the standard design thinking process (five hexagons from the d.school) because the needs of K-12 educational communities have evolved, expanding my thinking of what it means to be an educational designer of learning experiences.

Eight Core Design Abilities

Using design thinking to create a learning experience is like using a recipe to cook a new meal. Each element of the design thinking process (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test) is like a step in the recipe and an ingredient you use. You can follow the recipe and even become quite proficient at cooking that dish, but no matter how good you get at making the meal, you are still not a professional chef. In order to become a chef, you need to understand the process of cooking and how ingredients interact with one another and how techniques allow you to be creative and innovative in the kitchen (in case you run out of butter for that birthday cake you are trying to bake).

The design thinking process can also be seen as one of your favorite songs. I love using design thinking to create learning experiences for my students and I have become quite good at singing that particular song. I may be amazing at Thursday night Karaoke, but I am a long way from becoming a professional singer. Instead of singing the same song (or cooking the same recipe) over and over again, I try to create and innovate in my classroom. The eight design abilities are like eight different individual notes. With these notes (and lots of practice), you can begin crafting any song.

When I think about next year in my classroom, I think about tweaking and redesigning my learning experiences; writing new songs and experimenting in the kitchen. Rapidly experimenting, crafting intentionally, synthesizing information, navigating ambiguity, communicating deliberately, learning from others, designing my design work, and moving between concrete and abstract all help me deepen my pedagogical practice so that I intentionally design for equity, creativity and innovation in my classroom every single year.

Experiment Rapidly

This ability is generating ideas quickly. I have talked about how IDEO brainstorms (or ideates) and their rules for generating a ton of ideas. When you ideate, your goal is quantity, not quality. When you rapidly experiment you need to let go of the outcome and “relax your mind into a mode of acceptance and generation and eliminate the natural tendency to block ideas that don’t seem on point or feasible” (McBain, 2020). This ability naturally pairs with IDEO’s brainstorming rule to build on the ideas of others.

Build and Craft Intentionally

This ability is the core element of human-centered design. When we design both with and for our students, we are responsive to their needs as learners. Students know when you are not being authentic. They can sense when your learning activity is canned instead of personalized to them. According to McBain, “details matter when you’re bringing an idea to life, no matter if the medium is cardboard, pixels or text.” If you want to teach your students, you need to know your students.

Synthesize Information

During any design process, there is a time to begin ideating: to make sense of information and find insight and opportunity within. Synthesizing all of the collected data helps designers make sense of everything that they have heard or observed. According to McBain, “this ability requires skills in making frameworks, maps and abductive thinking.” This ability may be hard for new teachers because it takes time and can feel overwhelming.

Navigate Ambiguity

IDEO’s human-centered design focuses on embracing ambiguity. However, embracing ambiguity and coming up with tactics to emerge out of it are two different things. It’s clear that design thinking has uncertainty. However, if you are to successfully do something with this uncertainty, you need skills like being present in the moment, re-framing problems, and finding patterns in information. Ambiguity can arise within a project, a process, or within oneself. It’s as important to put students (and teachers) in ambiguous situations as it is to give them tactics to emerge from ambiguity.

Communicate Deliberately

In The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, he uses Toltec wisdom to provide a moral code of conduct. Agreement #1 is the most important and most difficult to follow: “Be impeccable with your words.” Words have power and can be used to express creativity or bring harm. We often lecture students on the importance of being able to communicate clearly, however, being intentional and deliberate with one’s words is even more important. When you capture and communicate the stories, ideas, concepts, reflections, and learnings from your students and use them to design culturally responsive learning experiences, then you are modeling the importance of being impeccable as an educator to use your craft to better the world.

Learn from Others (People and Contexts)

Empathy takes time, but it is time well spent up front. When you learn from your students, you not only empathize with them, but you can test new ideas alongside them and observe what happens. This ability happens throughout any design project or learning experience, not just at the beginning.

Design your Design Work

Metacognition, thinking about one’s thinking, plays a big role in student learning and achievement. It involves self-reflection on one’s current position, future goals, potential actions and strategies, and results. It is present in all content areas. Students who regularly practice metacognition have higher levels of self-efficacy (more confidence in their ability to achieve their goals) and are more likely to perform at higher levels.

Designing design work is what I did with the X Lab Design Sprint. I wanted teachers to recognize problems and projects as design problems and then decide on the people, tools, techniques, and processes they could use to tackle their greatest challenges. There is a great deal of synthesis involved in designing design work because you are combining tools and techniques for the challenge at hand.

Move Between Concrete and Abstract

Teachers are very familiar with concrete and abstract concepts. Concepts are the building blocks of student understanding and are “key in our ability as teachers to make a learning experience culturally responsive to any particular student or group of students” (Stembridge, 2020, p. 18). Teachers often use analogies to help students take abstract concepts and make them more concrete in their understanding. Moving between concrete and abstract concepts allows you to see how ideas are connected. When students are building out a new concept, whether a product, service, or experience, they need to be able to see how their concept or project fits within the larger ecosystem of a particular subject area or real-world application.

https://www.robharrigan.design/logs/applied-creativity-in-xr

To learn more about these design abilities, listen to David Kelley on the IDEOU Podcast.

We cannot wait any longer to disrupt and redesign public education. As an educator, I am charged with guiding students to their fullest potential. I want to create the next generation of change-makers and innovative thinkers. We need them now, and the only way we can elevate our students to greatness is to use human-centered design thinking and letting our students shine. When planning for a new school year, I use the design abilities created the K12 lab at the d.school help me create a learning environment where students discover their passions and play out their curiosities. It takes courage to admit that you don’t know all of the answers, and bravery to step aside and lead from the side.

Design thinking as an educational discipline is evolving and becoming more accepted in mainstream. Very few educators are taught the power designing learning experiences because they have never experienced one for themselves. I believe that innovation in the classroom needs to be felt and experienced. Human-centered design thinking is a sophisticated catalyst for positive impact in the lives of all students, not just on their school projects. It is not a formula or a recipe, but a chance to really be the change we want to see in the world and design the educational system we have always wanted. The system (and our world) is changing exponentially fast. If we want a chance at co-creating an anti-racist educational system, now is the time.

It feels like we are living in a Hollywood dystopian movie. It is no longer a question of whether we can return to a sense of normalcy after this global pandemic, but how quickly will public education change after the pandemic. Although our current public education system is still operating in a post-Industrial Revolution framework, I believe that no educators wish to endanger the health and safety of their students. We have seen more change in the first three months of the pandemic than we have seen in 100 years! I believe that this pandemic has given us an opportunity to see where we need to grow.

A futuristic thought-experiment

The year is 2120. Change is ubiquitous. Mental flexibility and emotional balance are resources we are still striving to have. Adult teachers are obsolete. Whether you are a 15-year-old kid in Mexico or a 42-year-old billionaire, learning no longer requires teachers. Biotechnology and machine learning have improved so much in the last 100 years, that humans no longer trust their own instincts; they rely on algorithms. This has resulted in a resurgence of internal and personal exploration. Humans spend time in mindful meditation in order to truly understand their wants, needs, fears, hopes, and dreams. Yes, AI algorithms can and do make very accurate predictions for humans, but people (especially youth) are reclaiming their minds by rebelling against AI. Since algorithms take care of everything, many are wanting to retain some control of their personal existence and of the future of their lives.

This is where the educational system (once deemed irreparable) returns to a more holistic approach of life-long, large-scale learning. Students are no longer grouped by age or ability. In fact, that hasn’t happened in the last 100 years. The term students no longer paints an image of a young person trapped in the classroom of the past. A student is one who is applying oneself to radically bettering the world and themselves (in that order). Radical empathy to improve the world through moonshot goals takes precedence to any antique self-help program from the 21st century. Everyone who identifies as a “student” is on a life-long mission to better all life in our solar system. This is not limited to Earth, but a trans-galactic perspective.

Educational experiences are abundant. Mastery of anything is quick and iterative. Instead of humans using machine learning to run their lives, they now successfully hack AI using biotechnology to leverage AI to solve all problems. Change has been a rapid constant for over 100 years allowing people a chance to slow down, look inward, and improve the world.

Designing the future of living and learning at Stanford

Stanford 2025: A Retrospective of Living and Learning on Campus

On May 1st, 2014, David Kelley invited students, staff, faculty and friends of the Stanford community to an evening of exploration at the d.school titled “Stanford 2025, an experiential taste of Stanford’s futures.” They curated a gallery for participants to explore what learning at Stanford in the year 2025 might look like.

In a fantastic experiential twist, Creative Director, Scott Doorley, informed the crowd that their time machine had failed and guests crash landed in the year 2100. Luckily though, the “Stanford 2025 — A Retrospective of Living and Learning on Campus” exhibit happened to be on display at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford on May 1st-5th, 2100. The exhibit included four categories: Open-Loop, Purpose Learning, Paced Education, and Axis Flip. Participants got a chance to explore each exhibit and understand what education in the future may look like. They imagined an education system that is customizable, personalized and empowers students to pursue crazy ideas and foster imagination in their classrooms.

Faculty, staff, students, and guests at the Stanford 2025 experience

The Stanford faculty, staff, and students all participated in an immersive thought-experiment about the future of higher education. What if this global pandemic accelerates the chain reaction of technological progression and leads to a complete disruption of public education (P-20) thereby presenting enormous opportunities?

According to entrepreneur and founder of the X Prize Foundation and executive chairman of Singularity University, Peter Diamandis, this chain reaction is an example of the Six Ds of Exponential Organizations: digitization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization.

Digitalization

According to Diamandis (2015), digitalization begins with the fact that “culture makes progress cumulative. Innovation occurs as humans have and exchange ideas” (p. 8). If we can digitize our ideas, then it makes it exponentially easier to share them and scale them throughout. For example, think of what happened to the photography business (namely Kodak) once pictures were no longer stored on paper, but in files that could be shared.

“Once a process or product transitions from physical to digital, it becomes exponentially empowered” (Diamandis, 2015, p. 9).

Deception

Once a product or service goes digital, there is this period when it seems like all progress has stopped. Any growth that occurs is unnoticed. Think of exponential growth as a doubling of numbers; if the numbers are small (0.1, 0.2, 0.4), then the growth is mistaken as linear. Again, Diamandis uses Kodak as an example. With their first digital camera, they had a 0.01 megapixel capabilities. Let’s double those for a bit: 0.02, 0.04, 0.08. These are all still below zero. Wait until we get above zero: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. Now, the growth seems to come out of nowhere. It is initially deceptive before it becomes visibly disruptive.

Disruption

A disruptive technology is “any innovation that creates a new market and disrupts an existing one” (Diamandis, 2015, p. 9). Disruption is always on the heels of deception. This is why certain technologies seem to appear, fully formed, from thin air. Think Netflix and how they disrupted Blockbuster. Or Uber and how they digitized transportation. If you are not ready for it, you will be blindsided. As Diamandis says, “either disrupt yourself or be disrupted by someone else” (p. 10).

Demonetization

When a technology demonetizes something, it removes cost as a barrier for adoption. For example, love it or hate it, Amazon has demonetized books and almost every other product or service. You can buy something online for much less money (and more convenience) than going to a store. We see demonetization bring down the cost of things every year. At the time of this writing, a new MacBook Pro costs about $1100. Five years ago, a comparable MacBook cost about $1500. Remember when you had to buy word processing software to type something on a computer? Now, with Google Docs, that is free. If you can make your service or product free to use, it will be used by everyone.

Dematerialization

Do you remember having a separate telephone, camera, and music player? Now, all of those come standard on your smartphone. We don’t need a GPS device (or even a map), we just need our phones. Think of how quickly smartphone usage has spread in the last ten years. That’s dematerialization and exponential growth.

Democratization

The natural conclusion to demonetizing and dematerializing is when things become available and affordable to everyone. Now that we can share images via texting or email or AirDrop, everyone does it. Sharing images is fast, free and democratized.

When people think in linear terms, then exponential growth seems like a sudden earthquake or hurricane. However, imagine reframing any disruptive stress into a disruptive opportunity. This is what our global pandemic is offering us now: a chance to completely disrupt public education and create a more just and equitable system.

Exponential Technologies for Education

https://visualizevalue.com/

Our very abrupt shift to remote learning (and then back again in-person) has drastically increased the use of learning management systems (LMS) such as Schoology and Canvas (or free web services like Google Classroom). For example, Canvas use increased more than 60% during the first year of the pandemic, in terms of maximum existing users (from before COVID-19). The number of video uploads increased by a factor of 10x. Schoology usage increased 4x over the pre-pandemic numbers. This exponential growth in LMS usage forced many teachers to see how they had been short-sighted about how they use these platforms, mainly as a digital repository for academic content. Before remote learning, teachers were mass-uploading PDF worksheets and links to videos instead of exploring other technologies that help create more personalized learning experiences for students.

To play in that LMS game, many school districts have enormous upfront costs to maintain that infrastructure. Since Google Classroom is free for most teachers and allows teachers to communicate with their entire class from a distance, Google is reporting that in the time since the COVID-19 outbreak began, they have doubled logins to over 100 million users. Google also revealed that Google Meet now integrates with Classroom showing 25x more users in March as it did in January. Uploading content and video chatting with students is an incremental solution to the current situation. Incremental changes can lead to a 10% improvement, but post-pandemic, we need to challenge commonly-held assumptions and apply new tools to create totally new solutions. Those that aim to make something 10 times better end up challenging the status quo, and typically end up taking a completely new path. This type of innovation requires bold, courageous thinking. In a world of rapidly accelerating technology, understanding how technologies work, what they do and their potential for benefiting society is critical to the future of all children.

Here are three exponential technologies that could be used right now to reshape the future of education.

1. Virtual Reality (VR) can make learning truly immersive

Research shows that we remember 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and up to 90% of what we do or simulate. Virtual reality yields the latter scenario impeccably. VR enables students to simulate flying through the bloodstream while learning about different cells they encounter, or travel to Mars to inspect the surface for life. Imagine playing fully-immersive role-play games in elementary schools, where teachers give students a scene/context and constantly change variables, forcing them to adapt and play.

Tools like Google Cardboard make it easy for a teacher to take his or her class on a virtual trip. Companies such as zSpace and Alchemy VR are dedicated to providing schools with an educational curriculum. With VR engines getting hyper-realistic, students are able to experience learning in a whole new way. Diamandis explains:

Imagine wearing an AR headset that is able to superimpose educational lessons on top of real-world experiences. Interested in botany? As you walk through a garden, the AR headset superimposes the name and details of every plant you see.

2. Machine Learning is making learning adaptive and personalized

Everyone learns differently and come from different educational backgrounds. Education applications and platforms are already accessible and adaptive and can personalize any lesson in any student. Teachers (and more importantly, students) have access to free quizzing apps (e.g.: Kahoot!, Quizizz, Blooket), flashcard apps (e.g.: Quizlet), textbook apps (e.g.: Chegg), and simulation apps (e.g.: PhET). The goal will be to get students excited, give them personalized demonstrations that make the concepts stick and let their imaginations run wild.

3. Artificial Intelligence

So many students already have access to an AI companion at home. The Apple and Amazon and Google devices in our homes right now are easily replacing a teachers’ level-one support (e.g.: answering Google-able questions such as, “What is the capital of Brazil?” or “How do you spell architecture?”). Students are able to access any fact at their fingertips just by asking Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, or Apple’s HomePod. These devices allow students, educators, and parents to interact with technology in a way that actually deepens learning. Students don’t waste time in finding the information they need in order to learn what they want. AI provides access to any information at any time. They can track upcoming events on their calendar, get study resources, or make appointments with their teacher — all without having to open a computer or tablet.

Teachers have the ability to use Alexa or Google or Apple to prepare for upcoming lessons, while administrators can quickly access important information like enrollment statistics. Diamandis explains, these AI devices are already “demonetizing and democratizing education, offering learning to the wealthiest and poorest children on the planet equally.”

When I think about being in school and raising my hand to ask the teacher a question, I remember feeling that the teacher held the information I needed to be successful. Not any more. According to Peter Diamandis, “over 77% of Americans own a smartphone with access to the world’s information and near-limitless learning resources.” Whether in pursuit of discrete skills, literacy instruction, fact finding or specialized instruction, students of all ages, income brackets and goals are now able to take ownership of what, how, and when they learn. Students are no longer condemned to wait for the teacher to teach. Students are learning about infectious disease, contact tracing and R-naught (R0) through Khan Academy and Google. With Khan’s moonshot to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere, why would students choose to go back to school? Sal Khan is determined to do everything he can to help parents and children, educators and students learning. In the first few weeks of the pandemic, Khan Academy usage was 250% what it was at this same time last year. Registrations jumped 6x higher for students and teachers, and 20x higher for parents. Students were learning more now and asking deeper questions than they ever did back in the classroom. I believe that many students will choose to be a self-directed learner that diagnoses their own learning needs, formulates their own learning goals, identifies the resources they need for learning.

This is the direction we are heading and it’s exciting! Instead of looking at how to return to pre-pandemic, we need to be looking at how we can create a world where kids and adults discover and connect with their passions. The pandemic exposed a healthcare system crisis: with so many sick and dying, we were forced to shift from a retrospective healthcare system that is reactive, and generic, to one that is prospective, proactive, and personalized. The same is true for education.

We are living in an era of exponential technologies and change. I want to flip the conversation from devaluing public education to reimagining education that is digitized (almost completely online), demonetized (almost completely free), dematerialized (completely portable), and democratized (accessible for everyone). This is how I envision my classroom in the upcoming years. I want to move beyond design challenges in the classroom to designing an anti-racist educational system that motivates every student to greatness and inspires every student to make a positive impact in the world.

Instead of helping students complete tasks, we have the ability to help them discover fulfilling academic content that will lead to a more fulfilling life. We’re entering a period of abundance! In a world of Google, robots and AI, raising kids that are constantly asking questions and running “what if” experiments can be extremely valuable. In an age of machine learning, massive data and a trillion sensors, it will be the quality of the questions we ask as parents, educators and entrepreneurs that will create a path to disrupting public education. Helping students understand that the world is in fact getting better (and helping teachers see how they have the tools to improve the education of their students) will help everyone counter the continuous flow of negative news. When kids (and teachers) feel confident in their abilities and are excited about the world, they are willing to work harder and be more creative.

I believe that this aligns with teachers’ moral centers. It is this purpose that keeps teachers motivated to keep going despite insurmountable obstacles. Peter Diamandis (2015) calls this a Massively Transformative Purpose (MTP) and believes that having an MTP “galvanizes passion and attracts the best talent and inspires them to give it their all” (Diamandis & Kotler, 2017, p. 249). When you believe that you are fundamentally changing the landscape of public education, you wake you up every morning excited. That’s what keeps you energized on those really rough days when you have to keep going. Having a strong purpose is critical because it’s the nuclear power source that drives you to overcome all of the systemic hurdles and bureaucracy in public education.

Singularity University

Every year, I am reminded that teaching is a bold and meaningful act. It is hard. It takes a lot of emotional energy and perseverance, especially in these last two pandemic years. Teachers dedicate their lives to educating children. Working to dismantle a broken educational system and redesign it for all of today’s children is the huge payoff that we all need to strive for. This type of moonshot thinking helps you to expand and reframe your thinking beyond what most people think is possible. This type of moonshot thinking enables you to disrupt the education’s status quo. The exponential technologies I discussed help me think on a larger scale, more massive than was ever possible before. As Peter Diamandis says, “You’re going to have to throw out the rule book. You’re going to have to perspective shift and supplant all your intelligence and resources with bravery and creativity” (Diamandis & Kotler, 2017). When you try to do something radically hard, you approach the problem differently than when you try to make something incrementally better. When you shoot for 10x improvement, you approach problems in a radically different fashion. When you attack a problem as though it were solvable, even if you don’t know how to solve it, you’ll be shocked with what you come up with. These are all things I learned running a Design Sprint with educators. We all want to create a just and equitable educational system that is going to exponentially improve our world for generations to come. That is 10x improvement (versus 10% improvement). It may seem 100 times harder to accomplish, but it isn’t. Having a passion this audacious is fundamental to forward progress. As educators, we must enhance students’ abilities to make change in the world. Navin Jain believes that “success is not measured by how much money one has in the bank, but by how many lives one is able to impact” (Jain, Schroeter, & Branson, 2018, p. 283). This is the mindset that matters most. This is why when I start thinking about next year, I plan learning experiences, NOT lesson plans.

References

Diamandis, P. H., & Kotler, S. (2017). Bold: How to go big, create wealth and impact the world. London: Simon & Schuster.

Guizzo, E. (2016). Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots at X, on the Future of AI, Robots, and Coffeemakers. Retrieved from https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/astro-teller-captain-of-moonshots-at-x

Jain, N., Schroeter, J., & Branson, R. (2018). Moonshots: Creating a world of abundance: How entrepreneurs are enabling life without limits. Bainbridge Island, WA: Moonshots Press.

McBain, L. (2020, June 23). Looking beyond the hexagons: What does it mean to become an education designer? Retrieved from https://medium.com/stanford-d-school/looking-beyond-the-hexagons-what-does-it-mean-to-become-an-education-designer-ba7355ce32d5

Ruiz, M. (1997). The four agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Pub.

Stembridge, A. (2020). Culturally responsive education in the classroom: An equity framework for pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

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