Consider this conundrum: much of what we know about teaching comes from 16+ years of observation as students. In no other profession do you spend that much time watching the previous generation before being told to change everything once you take control. Without the framework or scaffolding for that change, it’s truly unreasonable to tell educators, “OK, start innovating.”
Though Project-Based Learning has existed for decades, Design Thinking has recently entered the education lexicon, despite the fact that its history can be traced back to Herbert A. Simon’s 1969 book The Sciences of the Artificial. So why the resurgence of these ideas? What if these frameworks could serve as the justification for discovering new classroom practice?
In their book, Dancing with Robots, Levy and Murnane write that today’s students will ultimately need to succeed in an era characterized by rapid advancements in technology, global connectedness, and a knowledge-based economy that values problem-solving in unique situations, as well as acquiring, synthesizing, and communicating new information. As educators, we face a daunting task to bridge our requirements for today with our students’ requirements for tomorrow. Project-Based Learning and Design Thinking may provide two avenues to scaffold our own thinking and instruction as we move toward innovating our classrooms and schools.
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