Kuwait

Keeping Design Alive

We have a dilemma at AIS Kuwait. We weren’t able to find a high school Design teacher on the recruiting trail. Because of this, our two K-12 technology integration coaches may have to each teach 2 classes next year. To be clear, I think coaches teaching can be a great idea in some situations. However in our case we have 2 educational technology positions for a student body of 2000 students and over 200 staff.  I am eager to see both Design and educational technology thrive at AIS.

There’s still hope…but only if we can find and hire the right candidate. Please spread the word to anyone still looking for international teaching jobs for next year. Jeff or I would be happy to answer any questions you have. And Dave Botbyl is eagerly awaiting your application.

Need a little more information about IB MYP Design? Read on…

From the IB MYP Design Guide (2014):

Nature of Design
Design, and the resultant development of new technologies, has given rise to profound changes in society: transforming how we access and process information; how we adapt our environment; how we communicate with others; how we are able to solve problems; how we work and live.

Design is the link between innovation and creativity, taking thoughts and exploring the possibilities and constraints associated with products or systems, allowing them to redefine and manage the generation of further thought through prototyping, experimentation and adaptation. It is human-centred and focuses on the needs, wants and limitations of the end user.

Competent design is not only within the reach of a small set of uniquely skilled individuals, but can be achieved by all. The use of well-established design principles and processes increases the probability that a design will be successful. To do this, designers use a wide variety of principles which, taken together, make up what is known as the design cycle.

  • Designers adapt their approach to different design situations, but they have a common understanding of the process necessary to form valid and suitable solutions.
  • A designer has a role and responsibility to the community and the environment. Their decisions can have a huge impact and, therefore, their ethics and morals can and should be questioned regularly.
  • A designer should have the ability to maintain an unbiased view of a situation and evaluate a situation objectively, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of a common product or system.
  • Good communication is a key trait of any good designer through visual and oral presentation.

Designing requires an individual to be imaginative and creative, while having a substantial knowledge base of important factors that will aid or constrain the process. Decisions made need to be supported by adequate and appropriate research and investigation. Designers must adopt an approach that allows them to think creatively, while conforming to the requirements of a design specification.

Both the ideas of design and the process of design can only occur in a human context. Design is carried out by a community of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and traditions, and this has clearly influenced the way design has progressed at different times. It is important to understand, however, that to design is to be involved in a community of inquiry with certain common beliefs, methodologies, understandings and processes.

MYP design challenges all students to apply practical and creative thinking skills to solve design problems; encourages students to explore the role of design in both historical and contemporary contexts; and raises students’ awareness of their responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action.

Inquiry and problem-solving are at the heart of the subject group. MYP design requires the use of the design cycle as a tool, which provides the methodology used to structure the inquiry and analysis of problems, the development of feasible solutions, the creation of solutions, and the testing and evaluation of the solution. In MYP design, a solution can be defined as a model, prototype, product or system that students have developed and created independently.

A well-planned design programme enables students to develop not only practical skills but also strategies for creative and critical thinking.

The MYP expects all students to become actively involved in, and to focus on, the whole design process rather than on the final product/solution.

Aims of Design:
The aims of MYP design are to encourage and enable students to:

  • enjoy the design process, develop an appreciation of its elegance and power
  • develop knowledge, understanding and skills from different disciplines to design and create solutions to problems using the design cycle
  • use and apply technology effectively as a means to access, process and communicate information, model and create solutions, and to solve problems
  • develop an appreciation of the impact of design innovations for life, global society and environments
  • appreciate past, present and emerging design within cultural, political, social, historical and environmental contexts
  • develop respect for others’ viewpoints and appreciate alternative solutions to problems
  • act with integrity and honesty, and take responsibility for their own actions developing effective working practices.

The MYP Design Cycle:

Every designer may approach a problem in a different way. Depending on their specialism, designers tend to have their own methodology, but some general activities are common to all designers. The design cycle model underpins the design process.

The design cycle model (Figure 3) represents the MYP design methodology of how designers develop products. The process is divided into four stages: inquiring and analysing; developing ideas; creating the solution; evaluating. This incremental process allows the designer to go from identifying a design opportunity to the testing and evaluation of a solution. This process leads to the creation of solutions that solve a problem.

It is important to note that, while the design cycle includes several successive stages, the design cycle is an iterative and cyclical process. When using the design cycle, students will often need to revisit a previous stage before they can complete the stage they are currently working on. Solving design problems is not always a linear process.

COETAIL, Course 5

Course 5 update – I’m a #coetail grad!

[This will probably be one of my last posts on this blog. Head over to my other blog for more regular posting!]

Since I posted my course 5 video, we finished up our unit, I completed IB MYP Next Chapter category 2 training in Design, had an amazing summer in the US and now I’m back in Kuwait tech-coaching it up and working on my UKSTL MEd. Let’s just say this update is long overdue! [Actually at the moment I’m writing this from Addis Ababa where I’m attending Learning 2.014 and connecting with lots of people I’ve only known virtually!]

A quick refresher: We integrated the Design Cycle into a 7th grade visual arts class (unit planner). Students chose to either increase tourism to or decrease littering in Kuwait by creating a social media campaign using photography. Students used Tumblr as their Design Folder. I provided them with information and modeled their Design Folder using my own Tumblr. We found that TO-DO lists were essential for the students in order to help them create their own Folder. For some of the students, it was the first time they were really diving into Design so we tried to scaffold it for them. [All my course 5 posts.]

Although I followed all of the students, it was difficult to keep track of all of their posts. So I created a checklist (from a form) that I could fill out as I read them. We also printed these out periodically and shared them (individually) with the students. I used conditional formatting to automatically change the colors of the boxes based on what I entered. It worked really well for keeping track of and sharing their progress.

Final reflection: We had to RUSH at the end. We could have gone a couple more weeks. I think some of the students were a little overwhelmed at times – we asked a lot of them in such a short period of time. But I hope that the idea of creating a positive digital footprint and using social media & photography for good will stick with them. Probably my favorite part of the entire unit was connecting with Photohoku.

We would love to see what this unit could be a) if we had more time and b) if we did it in a higher grade level. I would be very interested to see what 9th or 10th graders could do with a unit similar to this! During my MYP Design training in May, I had the opportunity to spend time creating the Next Chapter Unit Planner for this unit. I chose to write it for MYP year 5 students.

Check out their final products –

https://aiskleyang.tumblr.com
https://aisklayantm.tumblr.com/
aiskahmedm.tumblr.com
https://aiskmubarakm.tumblr.com/
https://aiskkhaledm.tumblr.com/
https://aiskhaneenalm.tumblr.com/
https://www.tumblr.com/blog/aiskmonac
https://www.tumblr.com/blog/aiskreinak
https://aiskdanah.tumblr.com/
https://aisk-lamaj.tumblr.com
https://aiskahmadj.tumblr.com/
https://aiskaishaz.tumblr.com/
https://aiskreinez.tumblr.com
COETAIL, Course 5

#COETAIL…never quite over!

Well…my video is done! But the Art/Design unit isn’t quite finished. We’ll be finishing up in about 2 weeks so stay tuned for more from me!

It really hit me yesterday that 1.5 years, 15 credits and a graduate certificate are over. WOW how time has flown! What I love about COETAIL is that it’s never truly over. I’ve learned a lot and ‘met’ a lot of new people…neither of which I will forget. I’m excited for the next part of the COETAIL journey! See you around 😉

COETAIL, Collaboration, Kuwait

a #coetail story: falling in love with teaching (all over again)

My COETAIL course 5 final project made remember why I love teaching today (a much needed reminder!). My final project is an IB MYP Art & Design unit involving photography & social media. Check out more info here. I’m reposting the post below from my COETAIL blog cause it was just that awesome of a day. 🙂

Today. Was. Awesome. Seriously today’s Art/Design class was cool. Brian & Yuko from Photohoku ‘hung out’ with us…Lindsay and I weren’t sure how the students would respond but they were awesome. While I was setting up the Hangout a few of the students were whispering “I see Brian!” The students actually did their homework! They were pretty excited and a little in awe. It was one of those classes that was way too short and everyone probably would have skipped their next class to continue the conversation. I loved it.

Since we got cut a little short and the students didn’t get to ask all their questions, I created a post where students can ask questions in the comments. Brian and Yuko have kindly agreed to answer them when they have time.

What a great way to end the week…on a super high note!

COETAIL, Course 5

Falling in love with teaching (all over again)

Today. Was. Awesome. Seriously today’s Art/Design class was cool. Brian & Yuko from Photohoku ‘hung out’ with us…Lindsay and I weren’t sure how the students would respond but they were awesome. While I was setting up the Hangout a few of the students were whispering “I see Brian!” The students actually did their homework! They were pretty excited and a little in awe. It was one of those classes that was way too short and everyone probably would have skipped their next class to continue the conversation. I loved it – it made me remember why I love teaching (a much needed reminder).

Since we got cut a little short and the students didn’t get to ask all their questions, I created a post where students can ask questions in the comments. Brian and Yuko have kindly agreed to answer them when they have time.

What a great way to end the week…on a super high note!

COETAIL, Course 5

We finally started!

After much anticipation, we were finally able to start our unit last week! Looking back, I can’t believe it has been 2 months since I first started experimenting with using Tumblr as a Design Folder. Lindsay and I updated our unit planner (mostly her!) and after much anticipation, I’m pretty excited to get started on my project!

[a little review of the unit]

Day 1 – Class started with our unit title (The Medium is the Message) on the board as students walked in. Their bellwork was to try to figure out what that meant. After a short discussion, we let them go explore the school to take pictures with whatever device they had. After 20 minutes they came back and picked out their ‘best’ photo. I also had a discussion with them about school vs personal use of social media in order to introduce the idea of using Tumblr. Their homework was to create a Tumblr account (using my directions), write a post with their best photo (and why) and submit their Tumblr URL to us.

Days 2 to 4 – Day 2 the students shared their photos with the class, discussing why they thought they were good (thanks for the idea Julie!). I’m eager to talk to Lindsay about what she thought of this as a formative assessment and how it affected her plans.

Lindsay took over for a couple days of direct instruction about photography and introduced our statement of inquiry (The media used to deliver a message affects audience perception globally.).

During this time…we ran into some difficulties that I had not anticipated. Seventh grade students are mostly 12 and 13. Twelve year olds can’t sign up for Tumblr (duh! why didn’t I think of this?!). I wrote a short letter for parents and sent it home with the students. We still had one mother who had concerns and contacted our principal directly. I was a little nervous about my response but I addressed all of her concerns and she has since responded that she will allow her child to use Tumblr for this unit. Yay!

Day 5 – Yesterday was a big day for the Design piece of the unit. Bellwork was one of our factual questions (Today, in our society, what are the different media used to convey a message?) followed by a short discussion that I geared toward social media. I then introduced the Design Cycle (with which all of them are familiar) with a deserted island scenario and discussion. Our students don’t seem to understand the importance of the Design Cycle and Investigate in particular so I have found this discussion useful! After introducing the problems, we discussed the differences between the two. I got students to point out that one was a positive campaign (tourism) and the other negative (littering). We talked about changing people’s behavior and what their photos would look like. We’re really hoping that the students will pick their problem based on their personal preferences and not pick one just because their friends are.

I’m pretty pumped for Brian & Yuko of Photohoku to join us in class tomorrow! I can only hope the students are half as excited. We gave them homework so that they come to class prepared. We’re hoping to use do a Google Hangout On Air so that the students (and you) can watch the recording later. A little nervous…but can’t wait to see how it all goes 🙂

Check out the slidedeck below to see what we did in class:

COETAIL, Course 5

We’ve started a unit planner!

[See all my final project posts.]

Since I last wrote, Lindsay and I decided to use the MYP Next Chapter unit planner. This will allow the unit to be used again next year and helps us transition to the fall. Lindsay went to subject specific MYP training last month and I did some reading on my own. We worked together to come up with key and related concepts, the global context and the statement of inquiry. Since this is the first unit either of us is creating with these new elements, we know we might have to do some adapting as the unit progresses.

The last piece we’re trying to finalize is the inquiry question. We’d like to have 1 question from art and 1 from design for each of the types (factual, conceptual and debatable). Although I’m completely open to any and all feedback regarding the unit, I’d specifically love some thoughts about our inquiry questions! Please check out my brainstorm post and then leave me any feedback here (or on the unit planner). MERCI!

COETAIL, Course 5, Kuwait

MYP Design/Art final project…another installment

[See all my final project posts. Always open to input!]

The more I think about the unit we’re creating the more ideas I get and the more excited I get. I’m just nervous to get my hopes up and not have it turn out as awesome as I’m hoping!

I did some brainstorming with Lindsay (MYP art teacher) last week. Note to self: always brainstorm with an art teacher!

MYP Next Chapter: Our school is slowly switching over to the Next Chapter of MYP so we’ve been given the freedom to start incorporating the new guide in our unit planning. Instead of having a unit question, we’ll have a statement of inquiry {The Medium is the Message}. We will also have a key concept, at least 1 related concept and a global context. After perusing the new guide for Art, my thoughts are: key concept=communication, related concept=audience (& expression?), global context=personal and cultural expression. Based on talking to our MYP coordinator, we will probably have to make our statement of inquiry a little more detailed to better incorporate the concepts & context. We will also need a few inquiry questions to “give shape and scope to the unit.” This might be something that we can work on with students throughout the unit (according to the Developing MYP units pre-publication).

We had originally thought we’d use Community and Service as our Area of Interaction. However AOIs are disappearing in the new unit planner. We need to decide how deep we want to get into the new unit planner. Either way, we also need to decide which Approches to Learning (ATLs) we will focus on.

Design Cycle: Although we will be experimenting with incorporating some of the Next Chapter guide into the Art part of the unit, we won’t be using the new guide for Design. However I will still be trying to ‘redefine’ how Design is done at our school. After a couple months of integrating the design cycle into French and Art, I just read the entire (old) MYP Technology guide last week. Wow. So much information. And it seems so many things that need to be tweeked at our school. The main thing I’d like to focus on changing for this unit are the rubrics. We currently use the year 5 exit rubric for all students grades 6 through 10. We also don’t (or rarely) use task-specific rubrics. I could use some help in this area! I don’t really have any idea how to rewrite/tweek the rubrics for year 2 students or how to create task-specific rubrics. Help! 😉

The other area we’re still developing is the problem. I want the students to launch a social media campaign about a relevant problem in Kuwait. I don’t want to leave it too open because they are grade 7 students. But I don’t want to limit them either. My original idea was to allow them to choose between littering (an enormous amount in Kuwait) and tourism (almost none in Kuwait). A littering campaign might focus on the negative aspects of Kuwait and convincing people in the country to make a difference. A tourism campaign might focus on the positive aspects of Kuwait and convincing people outside the country to visit. I still don’t know if these two problems are too different from each other and if we will need to have a more streamlined focus throughout the unit. Thoughts??

Design Folder: The design folder is another thing I’m working on ‘redefining.’ We currently use packets. Our design technology classes complete them digitally (they are in computer labs) however most of the elective classes that we are integrating the design cycle into complete hard copies. The packets are long and boring and students hate them. Here is an example from one of the French classes.

Although this won’t be a group project, I want students to be able to learn from each other giving attribution where necessary. One of my favorite aspects of being a connected educator is all the new ideas I get to ‘steal’ and adapt from other educators around the world. Why not teach our students how to do the same thing?

I’d like students to use Tumblr to create their design folder in order to document the process they go through (and easily share it with classmates). I chose Tumblr because it is simple and the focus is often on photos. My guess is that many students already have Tumblrs. This will be an opportunity to discuss separating school life and personal life online.

In order to help guide students through the design folder, I have created a sample Tumblr blog that I will share with students. I have put relevant information for students and also created [Your Turn] posts to guide students as they document the process. I have organized the posts using hashtags. This is still a work in progress! I’m currently working through Julie’s templates to see how I can make my posts more helpful for the students. I will also have to change a few things as I adapt the rubrics. Creating the design folder in Tumblr has completely transformed our packets. What do you think??

Digital Citizenship: We will have to teach our students to learn from and with each other…not just simply plagiarize. My biggest concern with Tumblr is that it makes it so easy for students to copy & paste and then pass off other students’ work as their own. We will need to incorporate digital citizenship into the unit. The main takeaway I want students to come away with is that they can use and build on other people’s ideas with attribution. We can use Common Sense Media to teach a couple digital citizenship lessons and then hold students accountable with our Acceptable Use Agreement. Many of our students have school iPads so the free iBooks textbooks and workbooks might be an option (if we can get them loaded on their iPads).

I’d also like to familiarize students with Creative Commons licenses. Students will need to choose an appropriate license for their design folders and display the license on their Tumblr blogs.

Photography: This unit started as a photography unit and is morphing into something much bigger. If all goes as planned, I think we will be able to ‘redefine’ the unit through the use of technology. I’m envisioning the students using their photography to make a change in the world through a social media campaign. I think that “the medium is the message” does a great job of encompassing what we’re hoping to accomplish. I wish that the Kuwait Grand Photography Contest was just a month or two later…then we’d have even greater potential for the students to feel invested.

Expert Advice: This is where we’re struggling the most right now. I’d love to find a social media activist/expert who can Skype/Hangout with the class to talk about using (social) media to impact people’s decisions/actions. We can show this video and introduce them Witness.org but I think it’d be much more meaningful to actually have a real person. Someone who uses pictures/videos and social media to affect how people act and the way they think would be perfect. Ideas??

Small Details: Lindsay is on board for a pre-assessment (à la Julie) where students spend a class period taking pictures around the school. This will give Lindsay an idea of their technical skills and get the students thinking about the message of their pictures. I’d also like to incorporate a lesson on ‘powerful images.’

I’d love any input from anyone! We’re still very much in the planning stages so I’m hoping to crowd-course this a little in order to refine my ideas and make sure that they will actually work! Thank you 🙂

COETAIL, Course 5

MYP Design/Art final project…a work in progress

My final project is still in the planning stages but all the input has really gotten me brainstorming! Thank you to everyone 🙂

As I think about this project, it seems multi-faceted to me. Not only am I trying to redefine an art unit with the MYP design cycle, I’m trying to redefine how design technology is taught at our school. In addition, I’m also trying to use technology to redefine both the art and design units. Thinking about it makes me excited…so if we can make this all work out, it’d be awesome!

A few things that are running through my head right now:

  • I’m interested in the pre-assessment several people have mentioned. I’d like to talk to the art teacher about using Julie‘s video project as a model (which Julie was awesome enough to give me more details on!). I’d like to start the entire unit with a create class where students go around the school and take some pictures. The art teacher could then assess their photos before she starts her photography instruction so that she can differentiate as needed. We have not switched to the Next Chapter MYP Design criteria yet so this would also be a good chance to experiment with the “technical skills” piece (subset of criterion C).
  • I’m still interested in having the students connect with a photography and/or PR expert. Need to do some active searching! Anyone know anyone?
  • Do we have to give students only 1 problem or could they choose? Although I would love to have a real outside client who needs our photography, I’m not exactly sure where to find one. The two things that come to my head when I think of Kuwait and photography campaigns are (our lack of) tourism and pollution/littering. Could we create two problems and allow students to choose?
  • I’d like to give students the freedom to explore with different apps and assess them. This could be part of their investigate stage and could also be shared with their classmates so that they learn from each other.
  • Our school doesn’t have a standard blogging platform. Some middle school students are using WordPress, others KidBlog. I’d like to use Tumblr because of it’s ease of sharing multimedia. I haven’t decided yet how I want to use Tumblr. Would it be used only to showcase their work? Or would it be used as their design folder? Our design technology classes currently use teacher prepared packets…I’d really like to get away from that. But is Tumblr the most appropriate place to document the process?

Still lots of thinking and planning to do…but it feels like I’m getting somewhere! As always, any and all input is much appreciated! 🙂

COETAIL, Course 4

Problem-based learning = IB MYP design cycle?

Problem…or Project?
I recently mentioned the variety of X-based learning vocabulary that has invaded the education world. When I first saw PBL for this week’s blog I had to do a double take – I thought the P stood for ‘Project.’ So I needed to do a little research to understand the difference between Project and Problem -based learning.

In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking). (source)

 

In a problem-based learning (PBL) model, students engage complex, challenging problems and collaboratively work toward their resolution. PBL is about students connecting disciplinary knowledge to real-world problems—the motivation to solve a problem becomes the motivation to learn. (source)

Twitter and Google searches also helped aid my understanding between the two models. John Larmer contends that problem-based learning is a subset of project based learning and provides a helpful table to differentiate between the two. In Geoff Krall‘s opinion the two biggest differences are time and order and he also provides a great pie chat of the differences and similarities.

With a clearer picture of what these two models actually are I definitely see advantages to them. Just as I do with several of the other X-based learning models (game-based learning, challenge-based learning…).

IB MYP design cycle?
One of the features of problem-based learning is the ‘steps that can be repeated and recycled.’ The inclusion of authentic problems and the prescribed steps remind me of the IB MYP design cycle (and design thinking).
MYP Technology Design Cycle

 

The core of why I like the MYP design cycle, and all the X-based learning/thinking, is that they are student centered and move the teacher from the sage to a guide. What is best for my students is the question I always want to be reflecting back on. Are these models (or a hybrid or them) best for my students? Probably!

As for technology’s role this these models – it becomes a tool for learning, not the base of all learning. You could actually go through the entire design cycle without once using technology. Would it help facilitate the cycle? Most likely. But is is absolutely necessary? Not always. Design and X-based learning models have the potential (if done right) to give true meaning to technology integration.

Disclaimer: I don’t actually teach the MYP design cycle nor have I received official training. I’d love to hear opinions from any of you that do teach it / are trained!