Thursday, June 6, 2019

Innovative Designer- Unpacking ISTE Student Standard #4

Innovative DesignerStudents use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions. (ISTE Standards for Students)

I'll be honest, this is one of the standards I really struggled with from ISTE. An innovative designer seems less about technology and more about design thinking to me. It feels less about supporting technology integration and more about impacting pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. I struggled with the fact that this was deemed a "tech" standard. Is it a good process for learning? Absolutely! I was just not sure I would consider it a need for technology integration. 

I do believe learning the skills to become an innovative designer should be part of the educational process. The truth of the matter is, we should be teaching students how to think, not what to think. One of my favorite quotes to remind myself not to become too pompous as an educator is attributed to Albert Einstein, "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." So when I look at the goal of empowering students to become "innovative designers" I automatically think of the design thinking process. 

Often when I am struggling with something in the educational arena I throw the question out to my professional learning network on Twitter and I ask for their opinions. So I asked, "why should students learn the design thinking process?" And just like that, the answers rolled in from my edupals:

"Students are already design thinking, they just don't know it yet. It's about getting students to process their thinking by sketching or mind mapping or lists." - Nathan Stevens

"formalized process provides a framework for engagement. Done well, rather than stifling creativity.  It bridges creative with critical thinking." - Michael Stone

"Collaboration. Imagine roads without rules or conventions for drivers. Design Thinking adds structure to the process, it is non-threatening and effective." - Chris Tenbarge

"The empathy component alone makes it worth it. Students need to engage not only in the work but the meaning behind the work." - James David

While I might struggle with seeing innovative designer an integral part of technology integration in every classroom, I do consider it an extremely important skill for computer science and STEM-based classes. As an instructional technologist, I see the importance of thinking critically about technology. Therefore, this leads me to see the importance of being innovative designers. Looking through the lens of critique at all technology platforms is going to be an important part of the future for today's students. This standard will help them do just that. Students need to start accepting the fact that every form of technology can include both benefits and detriments to them. By creating pathways for students to become innovative designers and to teach them to filter technology tools through the lens of Challenge--->Inspiration & Empathy--->Opportunities--->Ideate--->Experiment we help the next generation go informed into their future.

Ways to help students become an innovative designer: 
                                                       NO TECH                  LOW TECH                     HIGH TECH

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