Dan Pink outlines multiple ways to enhance the aptitude of design in A Whole New Mind. Pink suggests that everyone just needs to learn how to observe, understand, and appreciate the elements of good design and then they will naturally develop their own sense of design.
And if you are a fan of Marzano Strategies, good design fundamentals will help your students create “nonlinguistic representations” and better graphic organizers of information, both successful teaching strategies.
I ran across this article by Steven Bradley from Smashing Magazine and thought it would be a useful tool for teachers as they try to incorporate the basic elements of design into their classroom. After all, most teachers are familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy. So this hierarchy concept is a perfect match for teachers.
I think that many of us consider ourselves not to be designers. But as teachers we implement at least four, if not all five, of these design elements into our daily lesson plans.
Think of a typical activity involving a graphic organizer that we might adapt for our classroom at the “understanding” level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. We always look at its basic function. Will this work for a roomful of 30 kids? Is it functional?
Then we consider it’s Reliability. Will it work for not only 30 kids, but also our other 120 kids? Will their understanding be stable and consistent after using this tool?
And of course usability. Can we use this in class and it be intuitive? Will I have to explain it individually 150 times, or will students find it usable?
Proficiency and creativity are things that we may strive for, but time might limit us. This is where the following year may come into play. I know that I have taken many activities and used them again if they achieved the first three levels of design. And sometimes the following year I will tweak and adjust the activities to make them proficient. Or in teacher lingo, I push them further up on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Can I make this activity engage my students in higher level thinking? I know it will work, but how do I take my students to the next level?
As Bradley points out, there are limits to this approach. But I think it is an excellent starting place for teachers. If we can begin to think about our own design abilities, we can enhance them. And then as teachers always do, we can pass this knowledge on to our students.
Take a few minutes and read the article. I think it will convince you that teachers are true designers!Share