QLD Symposium: Design Thinking + Pedagogy = Innovative Learning

Published: Monday 30 July 2018

Continuing on the Queensland Chapter's narrative of Advocacy, Professional Development and Research, this symposium engaged eminent speakers, to discuss  and provoke thoughts on 'Design Thinking + Pedagogy = Innovative Learning'.

1st Speaker - Natalie Wright
(QUT Interior Design Lecturer, focused on design thinking and design-led innovation approaches in the secondary and tertiary education contexts)

Natalie believes that 60% of students are currently studying or training for jobs that won't exist or will look different in the next 20 years. Past teaching was wrote learning. Future teaching is more collaborative and lifelong learning.

Natalie believes that education should be 'Design Thinking'. This doesn't mean that all teachers and students will be qualified designers. Design thinking is " ... the discourse where design practice and competence are used beyond the design context (including art and architecture), for and with people without a scholarly background in design".

This led into Timothy Barraud's talk, showing how this theory was implemented at ISHS.

2nd Speaker - Timothy Barraud
(ISHS Deputy Principal - Partnerships & Transitions. Collaborates with QUT School of Design to develop an entrepreneurship program focused on design thinking & human centred design)

The school, now a non-uniform school, has adopted keystone human values, based on each person's dignity, their community's diversity, open Communication & quality learning. This is coupled with the ISHS pedagogical principals of Creative Thinking Skills, Connectedness, Collaboration & Creative Problem Solving. Two year levels have commenced this transition.

The Y9 Digital Technologies Learning project 'Horizon Research Grant', utilises a Design Thinking framework to encourage developers of digital solutions. ISHS collaborates with QUT & Kedron to break out, get offsite, get invigorated, learn in a different environment, and be open to different perspectives and different ideas. Immensely valuable says Timothy.

The Y10 Social Entrepreneurial Project is an entrepreneurial prototype competition, similar to TV's Shark Tank Program. All staff collaborate across all curriculum areas, brainstorming, problem solving and generating design solutions.

On the back of this new direction, the schools is planning a new 'Design & Innovation Centre' building, possibly offering innovative partnerships of journalism, film and new media.

All then participated in a 'newsflash & prototype' exercise on future directions.

3rd Speaker Clare Newton
(Architect & Doctor of Education, Assoc Prof in Learning Environments; University of Melbourne, founding member of LEaRN. Currently Chief Investigator on a 4 year $2M Linkage ILETC Project)

Clare's research shows that 58% of classrooms are still very traditional Type A classrooms, with teacher-led pedagogies and students exhibiting less deep learning characteristics. However, the open plan 'Innovative Learning Spaces (ILS), Type E classrooms are more preferable. Her workshops with teachers revealed that ILE's were better for student learning, students were more active and responsible and the teachers became more of a facilitator.

The biggest difference in today's learning is technology. This affects student research, collaboration, communication, 3D printing, prototyping, dissemination, learning analytics, social media, etc. 10 years ago, the iPad wasn't released. What is next?

All then participated in a 'Mix & Match' workshop, as per student-centred learning, which questions future possibilities by simply mixing key words.

4th Speaker Steve Collis
(Teacher, now Senior Workplace Strategist, active in cultural change and thought leadership.)

"When strategy meets culture, culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch & dinner"

In all creative processes, a number of possible ideas are created (divergent thinking) before refining and narrowing down to the best idea (convergent thinking). This is represented by a 'Double Diamond' (Photo 3). But the double diamond indicates that this happens twice. - once to confirm the problem definition and once to create the solution. One of the greatest mistakes is to omit the left hand diamond and end up solving the wrong problem.

Teachers say that if you remove structure, you end up with anarchy. But I say that the underlying design / pedagogy should be an open space of say Cave / Campfire / Mountain / waterhole / etc, in which all students still had check points, individual programs and direct instruction, by a teacher = structures.

But, you can't force change if teachers don't believe that it will work.

The format of listening & hands-on participating kept all interested & collaborating. Hard evidence was presented, encouraging much thought & discussion to the very end. It was very compact, well organised & the 50+ who attended left the wiser.

Special thanks to:
Chair: Katerina Dracopoulos
MC: Amanda Cheetham
IT & Photos: Derek Bartels

Article: Ray Giarola