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Category Archives: Thinks Big Picture

Design Challenge: Create an Inclusive Playground/Theme Park

Overview

“Children with disabilities are often excluded from, or restrained in, play activities because of the physical barriers of play structures and the surrounding environment” (Ripat & Becker, 2012).  According to the United Nations, 10% of the world’s population has a disability.  Canada and the United States report the rate of disability closer to 20%.  It was reported that only 17 parks and playgrounds in British Columbia were identified as being fully accessible (Accessible Playgrounds, 2014).

 

Design Rationale

Canada is often described as being a civil society.  We pride ourselves in our inclusion of others and our respect of diversity.  However, 1 in 7 Canadians are excluded from enjoying our playgrounds and municipal parks.  We need to revisit the notion of accessibility and ensure our play areas are inclusive for all users, including the disabled and the elderly.  

 

Problem Scenario

Your team has been selected to develop a prototype of a structural element or component of a playground that is inclusive, safe, fun, and engaging.  It needs to foster fitness, flexibility, and a joy of play.  Your team needs to consider issues of mobility, access, sensory challenges, etc.

 

Your playground structure must be a small-scaled prototype of a structural element or component that could be found in a playground or theme park. It must satisfy two of the following identified concerns:

  • Be accessible for someone with mobility issues
  • Be accessible for users of variable heights / sizes
  • Be accessible for someone with sensory issues
  • Be accessible for someone with cognitive challenges
  • Enjoyable for users of all ages

Success will be determined by

  • Uniqueness
  • Alignment of the prototype with the design sketch
  • Ability of your item to help the user enjoy play
  • Ergonomic design
  • Colorfulness to match environment and attract users
  • Intriguing enough to hold users’ attention
  • Degree to which it Is intuitive to all users
  • Functionality
  • Ease of long term maintenance
  • Alignment to design motto: “Make it smaller, stronger, do more, be easier to use, be cheaper, be clean, be greener”

Parameters

  • You must use some of all the items in tool kit in some way  
  • You must consider how to make your prototype colourful, intriguing and ergonomic.
  • You must prepare a group display which includes your design notes, your design thinking sketches and your prototype.

For teacher’s please read through the Facilitator Guide.

And here is the Napkin handout, the Placemat handout. (These resources were accessed from Innovative Learning Centre’s Taking Making into Classrooms.)

BELOW is an ingenious theme park, this video may be shown before the challenge or after. Is this theme park inclusive?

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Got How? You Also Need to Know Your Why

In May of this year, I wrote about The Elusive Why: Yours and Theirs, and today I continue this stream of thought with looking at the HOW but really to need to KNOW YOUR WHY. Whether this wny is personal or professional there are some important pieces that we need in place in order to find our “calling”, our “passion” or the reason why we get up in the morning every day.

Just taking time throughout the week to look at the upcoming personal/professional activities is important. Yet, having some sort of growth plan will allow for these weekly overviews to connect and make sense with your BIG goals. With this “big picture” plan of personal/professional life in place, we can begin to make incremental changes in our daily habits and routines, and our life will start to change. If you haven’t read Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, definitely check it out!

As well, watch Michael Jr’s short video clip on this topic. It’s a video definitely worth showing your colleagues, family, friends and even students.

Now it’s my time to work on my annual Teacher Professional Growth Plan. As per my teacher organization (Alberta Teacher’s Association), “developing the plan is a professional function through which teachers demonstrate their commitment to lifelong professional learning while fulfilling their regulatory requirement pertaining to continuing education. The key components of developing the plan found in the policy governing growth plans states a teacher’s annual growth plan shall:

  • Reflect goals and objectives based on an assessment of learning needs by the individual teacher
  • Show a demonstrable relationship to the Teaching Quality Standard
  • Take into consideration the educational plans for the school, school board and Alberta Education”

I hope this inspired some conversation on your part!

 

Jump Into THIS Reading List

I.Love.To.Read.

My reading tastes vary and I usually have 3-4 books going on at the same time while also reading various blogs and magazine articles. I find that I always pull out interesting gems of information and/or experiences from the literature that I read.

I read both print and digital. No preferences there. Yes, I like to highlight/write down and can do it in either medium. For audio, I stick mainly to podcasts but there may be an audiobook out there that I will find that I like, so far, nothing yet.

Esquire has a list of 80 books of which some are now on my list to read.

Other reading review list sites are GoodReads, Booklist Online, Chapters Indigo New & Hot and the NY Times Best Sellers.

Do you have any favorites that you have read over the year that you would like to share?

 

Habits: Make ’em Small in order to get Big Results

Habits.

We all have them.

Some are good habits and others we need to let go if we want to move forward professionally and/or personally. If you are interested in habit formation and performance improvement then take 52 minutes and watch and take notes on this video. The speaker, James Clear, shares his work and other research that is relatable for any field of work or personal paths. This particular video was taped during Snaps, a leadership conference that unites key influencers from across the basketball world for a weekend of inspiration, leadership development and relationship-building.

While watching, think about some of the goals and habits your currently have. And write down any great triggers to change or move you forward as you listen to James.

If you are wanting to show this to staff and/or students (I’m in education), my suggestion would be to break down the three parts of the video. Show them on three different days so that staff/students have time to process but not too far apart that they don’t recall the information.

If you are working with colleagues in another sector, figure out what is best to have each part of the video work for your situation. If you have weekly meetings, then you could use each part of this video over three weeks. Or if it is during a work retreat, add more time in between the parts of the video so that staff can write down and do the suggested work.

  • Introduction (0:00-7:19) and Why do some habits stick and others fail? (7:19-22:03)

Ask staff/students to watch the introduction and write down any key thoughts. Stop the video at 7:19 and Think, Pair, Share. If time have some pair share with the whole group. Or those thoughts could be put onto Post-it Notes and stuck on a wall.

Watch part I which is 15 minutes long, again with some note-taking. Write down some systems thinking and goals in your current work, any triggers, list all the things you do (complete the Trigger TChart Exercise) and add a new habit. Share any thoughts with a partner and/or small group.

  • How do I know what to change? (22:03-37:10)

Watch part II, a 15 minute section of the video. List any of your distractions, try the Closing Open Loops exercise. Download and fill in the Eisenhower Box. Share some of your top information in each of the quadrant with a partner, small group.

  • How do I get started and take action? (37:10 – 52:44)

Watch part II, the last 15 minutes. Write down a pre-commitment statement or set up something in your calendar. Statements like ” During next week, I will partake in ___(date)___, ___(time) or any visual cues you might use. And if this topic is of more interest to you, download James’ Transform Your Habits: The Science of How to Stick to Good Habits and Break Bad Ones document.

 

 

My #oneword for 2017

 

Moving from Artificial to Engaging

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning conjures both positive and negative opinions on these terms. For those into gaming, the many multi-player games on computers and gaming systems have incredible reaction times and awe-inspiring environments. For this into TV games, IBM’s Watson made quite a splash on the quiz show Jeopardy in 2011 against former winners Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings. And for movie-goers, Terminator’s Skynet world domination over the course of five films.

In the world of education, opportunities for teachers and students to create and design reactionary systems have found a common place thanks to a renewal in coding and making. Now to take this learning to higher level, there are children’s toys on the market that learn from the children that own them, there are robot/webcam systems that learn facial expressions, software systems that recognize a human voice and there is a great game below designed by Google Developers that shows a method that programmers use to teach computers to recognize in this case, hand drawing. It is called Quick, Draw! and it is a game where a neural net tries to guess what you’re drawing.

Watch the video to get the gist of Quick, Draw!

 

Are you ready? Do you want to train a “computer”? Go to https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com/ and have fun.

Questions to ask students:

  • why would training a computer/system be important?
  • if you could create one yourself, what would you like the computer/system to be able to do?
  • besides the examples share in the post above, are there other movies, TV shows, articles, songs depicting artificial intelligence and/or machine learning? Share them with each other and on this post.
 

Design Thinking into Biohacking?

I just recently read Brian Aspinall’s (@mraspinall) blog post on Coding: Developing Rigorous Thinkers where he discusses the reason why students should learn to code – to think, problem solve, take risks, modify their work through trial and error, etc. All the competencies (specifics from Alberta Education) we want them to engage and grow as learner and it reminded me of an amazing TED Talk from Andrew Pelling where he “grows” human ears from other objects that you would never suspect.

He also recently founded pHacktory which is an independent research lab founded on extreme play, curiosity, undertaking audacious projects, taking risks and learning from failure.

I wonder how we could take Andrew’s zest for engaging in dramatic and disruptive learning and put it into our learning environments?