Archive for September, 2019

WSJ: Schools’ Tech Push Meets Backlash

Friday, September 6th, 2019

What will it take for Education Strategists to focus on the Low Cost-High Impact area (reference to Rory Sutherland)? When will the enlightenment take place? A WSJ front page article titled “Schools’ Tech Push Meets Backlash” from the Wednesday September 4, 2019 issue storytells a significant instance of overpromise, underdeliver. A case of negative disruption and vague intentions.

Parents should question the value of pouring tech into education. Taxpayers in general should question it too. Another recent WSJ article (“Phones Buzz in Class—With Texts From Mom and Dad,” September 6, 2019) discussed how cell phones are disruptive in the wrong way. The act of equipping each student with an iPad or similar device is a step in the wrong direction. Such devices exacerbate pre-existing problem conditions in education.

Even in my university setting, I have a rule in my course syllabus where students have to stow their electronic devices during seminars because the devices are distractions to themselves, others in the audience and the speaker (accessible education students excepted). Using such devices during class time defeats the active listening and reciprocal learning channels that need to function.

I know as a parent that the required iPads in my children’s high school were a waste of money and impediment to learning. And think about the heavy burden of spam, junk email, fake this-and-that, gaming/social network addiction, and theft that this brought along as luggage. Why expose students to these diseases while at school?

Yes, there are some particular benefits to tech in education. Certainly have to admit that. And there is much potential if strategized in a specialized way. What if we took the current thinking of customized healthcare to education(care)? Perhaps students should only have access to and use a tech device for precision purposes? We need to be more mindful about what tech is doing to our young students.

Marvel, Prototyping & The Fast Thinking App

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-06-19 at 8.39.05 AMI recently learned about Marvel as a software prototyping tool from Tammi Feng. It has re-ignited my interest in software design (my last flame with software design was with Swift, but that faded within 3 months because it kept changing).

Marvel may have a place in the YCISL workshops. It seems easy to learn – especially what it can do and what might have to be compromised. But it fuels the design and process imagination and would be a great tool for project studio teams that want to produce an app. For our prototyping phase, it would support our “Fail Early, Fail Fast” mindtool (a component of our innovator mindset).


The Paper Airplane Exercise and Comfort Zones

Friday, September 6th, 2019

In the YCISL workshops, we play the Birthdate game where a group of students have to line up in the order of their birth date (date and month, no year) without talking (and now with hands in pockets). This is to explore how they behave when their normal go-to method to solve such a problem is removed. Do they have leadership tendencies or do they immediately look for an available solution from someone else? Do they follow or help enhance the solution?

In 2019, we added the Paper Airplane exercise to explore the same comfort zone borders. The objective was set to maximum distance – and accuracy was thrown in by opening a door through which they could fly farther. I couched this as a prototyping exercise where getting out of the comfort zone is necessary to be successful. They had 10 minutes to build their paper airplane.

Within each group (I expected), there was likely to be some who would know how to fold a paper airplane (upper mid-quartile). Then there would be others who either don’t know, can’t exactly remember, think they don’t do it well and perhaps know exactly what they need to do. I was interested in the various behaviors and responses to one’s comfort zone.

During the construction period, a few students happily built their paper airplane using basic techniques. Others who perhaps have never built a paper airplane before asked for help from a friend or looked up the web for instructions. I think no one simply tried watching someone else and copying.

We flew the paper airplanes. There were a few that got out the door. But more importantly we showed how a team collectively can find their way to step out of the comfort zone and learn immensely from one another in the prototyping stage of project development. It didn’t really matter how they chose to step out.