Saturday, May 21, 2016

Design and Innovation for Teachers and Students

Ms. Duck and Lauren
Ms. Allmann and Mrs. Halbrook
North Springs Elementary (NSE) is proud to say that we have had three collaborative teams successfully participate in the R2 Innovation Incubator.  Ms. Rosemary Duck (cafeteria manager), Ms. Nichole Allmann (TLC), and Mrs. Suzie Halbrook (Kindergarten TA), went through the process early on with the idea of starting a show called Culinary One on One.  This was inspired by a student named Lauren who asked Ms. Duck one day if she would teach her how to make a breakfast burrito. From there, the idea has grown into a school club that allows 15-20 students per year to take culinary classes with Ms. Duck.

Mrs. Parker and Ms. Hunt
Dr. H, Ms. Coates, Mrs. Turnbach
This year, NSE had two teams apply for the R2 Innovates process.  Mrs. Kimberly Parker, Ms. Whitney Hunt, and Dr. Sally Catoe applied as the SLC3 Team which focused on developing a curriculum centered around sustainable energy and the dream of having a sustainable cottage at NSE.  Ms. Coates, Mrs. Turnbach, Mr. Orlando Ratliff, and I embarked on the process with the idea of bridging the gap between elementary and career.  The name of our team was Collaboration by Design which centers around collaborating with middle schools, high schools, Richland Two's Institute for Innovation, and businesses to expose our students to their future.

This cohort of educators used the IDEO process for design called Human Centered Design.  The process required teams to be very reflective and collaborative throughout the process.  The process required us to come up with a number of iterations and prototypes for our final product.  I can attest to the fact that the Collaboration by Design idea changed drastically as we went through the process.  This whole idea of design was a head "scratcher" for us.  We needed the R2 Innovator Incubator to help us find ourselves.

"Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving and the backbone of our work at It's a process that starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs." ( 

As you may already know, IDEO is a global design company that designs products and ideas for companies around the world.  As educators, we need to learn how to use this process to design units of study, lessons, projects, and activities that we ask our students to complete.  The process really requires teams to think about who they are designing or doing the work for and what the needs of that person or group of people might be.  We need to teach students how to use this process when completing assignments, projects, presentations, etc...  By being able to apply this process to the work they do, students will be better prepared for the work force in the future.   
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