School should be about unleashing, not leashing. Our future is in the synergy where wildly creative teachers meet student superstar Jack Andraka. Read on!
#DTk12chat, a group of teachers and administrators who recognize the remarkable learning value embedded in the design thinking process. (The group meets remotely every week; feel free to join in.) It was an outburst of creative ideas about how design thinking unleashes passion and engagement in students and teachers alike; creates those memorable moments when students understand why they attend school; brings the school and the “real world” into immediate proximity. One teacher said that she was getting teary-eyed thinking of the possibilities, but frustrated that we hesitate, prevaricate and dip our cautious toes where we know courage should embolden our dive. I told her that if she works for a principal or superintendent who does not prize and support teachers who are teary-eyed with passion, she needs to get another job.
During the chat I get a Tweet from Jack Andraka (@jackandraka), the 17-year old high school student who won the top Intel award last week for developing a fast, inexpensive tool for predicting pancreatic cancer. Bo Adams (@boadams1) and I have reached out to him to get his view on how his school did and did not support him in his work. Bottom line: he had to do it after school hours. Here is some of the chat:
Jack is not allowed to cure cancer or help to write a new nanotechnology curriculum during school time because of the typical roadblocks of inertia in our schools, while a herd of passionate teachers are just BEGGING to be unleashed to help Jack and all the proto-Jacks out there to realize their dreams.
I Tweeted back to Jack: “We should be solving those problem for you, so you can be a student and cure cancer.” The explosive synergy is there. We have to re-sort the rules so this synergy trumps fear, inertia, rigidity, and all the day-to-day of big, complex organizations. School should be about unleashing, not leashing.