Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Educators as Designers

I've always had a deep fascination for what was aesthetically beautiful for the eyes and pleasing for the mind. Design has always mattered for me, and it has guided me personally and professionally as a principle of good living an a people connector. I've always believed in its engagement power. And unconsciously I understood that through design, you could express to a group a sense of belonging, being part of a community with shared values.

I remember that from the start of my role as an Ed Tech Supervisor how I'd worry about the simple things, starting from a well-design poster inviting teachers for professional development opportunity. I felt that through design, I could show in a way that I cared for them and that I valued their presence in our training sessions. It was not just a simple announcement on the wall, but a call for action, for meaning and connections, and all of that had to be transmitted visually.

When I think of design, though, it is not only about its aesthetics aspects. Instructional design has permeated my role as an educator. Again, when we are aware of the power of certain rules of good practices and processes, learning sticks, the experience of constructing new knowledge holds meaning, engagement, excitement. It takes the learner to the next level, where he/she feels the thrill of experiencing that urge to move forward, to keep learning.

It is also through instructional design that an educator builds community, makes a tribe thrive as a group, considers effective instruction for differentiated learning. If

If, when we make our lesson plans, we start seeing ourselves less of teachers, but more as designers of experiences through creation and exploration with our learners, then we transform the way we teach and learn. We will then realize:

- the meaning of flow from one activity to the other;
- the need for blank spaces to leave room for creation, questioning, experimenting,; and not cramming one activity after another with no space for thinking or wondering:
- the power of a carefully planned lesson with a variety of activities that engage and not bore, but letting serendipity and surprise have their role in the learning process;
- the significance of considering your audience and its specificities to design experiences that make sense and bring on board layers of knowledge construction that are solid, meaningful, and long-lasting.

When we think os ourselves as Designers of learning experiences, we are enhancing the art of possibility and wonder. We become the catalysts of the so-desired change in our classroom microcosmos.

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