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Think Big, Start Small

These are unusual times, for sure. Much of the order we have known in a school day is gone. The building as a gathering place, the structure of a bell schedule, the grading of performance – the structure which has been in place for over 100 years based on the premise that education is primarily a linear process of knowledge transfer measured by Carnegie Units.


But here we are, where the old order, at least for the next few months, is gone. How might we use this time not merely to survive, but to learn something new – an opportunity that creates an inflection point in our human story.


The structures we have in place are structures we have imagined to create order. But they are all structures that, with Creative Courage, can be reimagined. Our future is ours to write.


Think big.


We venture forth without knowing the solutions we seek but which we sense are there, somewhere.


We know that education needs to reimagined in order to prepare this next generation to thrive in the new creative economy. But knowing how to reimagine seems complex and daunting.


When we lose order we are tossed into a sea of great discomfort. Our natural tendency is to grasp new solutions quickly. The problem, however, is often that these solutions are grasped before we really understand the problem. They are based, then, on many assumptions that are simply not true. As a result, these solutions can quickly unravel, tossing us back into a vicious cycle of grasping for another solution.


Start small.


Agile teaches us that in order to quickly develop solutions to complex problems we must start with small experiments that create fast, iterative Learning Cycles.


Each learning cycle quickly creates surprise, each surprise that allows us to Know the Problem better.


It is with this process in mind that we are developing a new learning framework, based on our experience in Dayton, called Designed InGenuity (DIG).


Jami introduced this framework to her staff in Willamina last week and this week led all of her teachers and support staff through a one week DIG so that they might experience, once again, the original wonder of curiosity-led learning. From there they are being challenged to discover how, using this framework, they might be able to inspire wonder and deeper learning for their students during this time of distance learning.


And next week we are launching our first international DIG with a group of principals from Australia who were inspired by what they saw when they visited Dayton last year. Another experiment, another learning opportunity that will hold surprise that might delight.


What experiment might you be able to do? How might it inform and guide you to the solution you seek?


Think big, start small.


Move fast.


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