Design briefs for a teacher workshop

We are organizing a teacher workshop / focus group. The following six design briefs will be presented to teachers who can choose which ones they are interested in. Time is limited, as this is only a 1,5 hour session, but we still want to use design briefs that are relevant in the real world.

1. Visualizing information for knowledge building

Information visualization concerns the visual representation of abstract data. The visualization of information can be extremely powerful for understanding processes, such as the demographic evolution of a population, that require the consideration of a large amount of data. Although information visualizations is used in educational settings, the role of students is mainly that of a viewer. Ubiquitous initiatives towards open data may facilitate a more active student role in dealing with data and its representation. What skills are required in order to visualize information? When can information visualization be a powerful resource for students to gain a deeper understanding of complex issues? How can visualization information be used to support the students’ knowledge building processes?

Food for thought: http://www.gapminder.org/ and http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/

2. School as a good game

Gamification is widely spoken about in the context of educational reform. Frequent critics of gamification say that school is already a game. A rather dull one, however, considering the ever increasing efforts toward educational reform. What would school as a good game look like? What are the gamification principles that would accelerate student engagement? How can implicit “rules of school” be illuminated? What tools and practices would be needed? What would game-like teaching look like?

Food for thought: http://q2l.org/

3. Dedicated learning device

Imagine the perfect computer device(s) for collaborative project work at school. Instead of doing everything, they do just one or a few things very well. What would it/they do? What would it/they look like? What would it/they feel like? How would it/they be used?

Food for thought: http://bit.ly/YtACU0

4. Exploring real world challenges

The wish to want to change the world is an honorable thought. In practice, this quest can be long, winding, rocky and tough. Identifying THE challenge that one feels passionate about and sparks the energy to have an impact is the key, but also very challenging. Design a learning activity that supports students to explore, identify and understand real world challenges that could be tackled as part of a school learning project. How can digital tools support the development of empathy, critical thinking and reflection? How would the tools be used? What would be the teacher’s role?

Food for thought: http://www.dfcworld.com/, http://vimeo.com/31784924

5. Excellent teacher training book

With an increasing amount of teacher training resources to choose from, imagine what an excellent teacher training book would be. It might not look like a book. What functions would it have? What digital tools would it tap into? Draw on the lively discussions about the future of books and school books, but be realistic: What would you find engaging and useful now?

Food for thought: http://www.sometu.fi/forum/topics/oppikirja-uusiksi (in Finnish)

6. Students for teacher training

Imagine a teacher training event in which students take part and assume responsible roles. What kind of activities would be suitable for students to perform? How could students be integrated into the event to add to the event in a meaningful way? What could teachers learn from student? What could the students learn?

Food for thought: http://itec.aalto.fi/2012/11/join-the-oulu-winter-school/

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