What if we rewarded questions instead of answers?

While I have been interested in developing curiosity and creativity for a while, I have been very influenced lately by A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.

One of the things I have been pondering lately is that if the ability to question is an important skill for students to develop, how do we recognise those students leading the way? Schools regularly reward students who can provide great answers, how could we reward those who provide great questions?

Could this be how we unlock and develop the creativity and innovation in students? Provide something to strive towards.

I’m imagining school prizegivings where alongside the top sports people and top subject prize winners there are awards for the students who asked such amazing questions that it unlocked a whole new area of inquiry for them or fellow students.

School honour boards replaced (or to give people something to hold onto, perhaps alongside) by Question hall of fames. In fact these don’t have to be school-wide, you could implement this in your class straight away. It’s something I’m planning to do next term!

Or, go along the path that Meghan Cureton from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta has and create an honours programme for those questioners and innovators. Their Innovation Diploma is an incredibly inspiring programme that I am already bugging our Principal to consider how we could adapt this for our school (and we don’t even have final year students for 3 1/2 years yet!).

How else could we reward questions and questioners in our schools?

This post is Day 5 of my Questioning Quest.

NZ US Design Thinking Chat

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to Google Hangout into the awesome Fuse14 conference happening in Atlanta. After many twitter discussions with Grant Lichtman (author of The Falconer) and Meghan Cureton (Director of the Innovation Diploma at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Upper School, Atlanta) we decided it was time to chat ‘face to face’. The discussion also included Claire Amos and Karen Melhuish-Spencer here in NZ and ranged from the state of Design Thinking in our respective countries, how to grow student centred approaches through to the intersection of student passions and community needs. Watch the full video below:

Catalysts for Curiosity and Creativity

This post is based on an Ignite talk I gave at the Learning at Schools Unconference at Sky City at the end of January.

Titled Catalysts for Curiosity and Creativity, in 5 minutes I briefly covered some suggestions for how teachers can enable students to unleash their creativity. Many of the ideas stem from 2 amazing books I read over summer: Can Computers Keep Secrets by Tom Barrett (from NoTosh) and Creative Confidence by Tom & David Kelley (of IDEO fame). I highly recommend reading both of these books!

When someone mentions curiosity to me, I think of:

  • a sense of childlike wonder
  • eyes wide open
  • looking for new ideas to identify and explore

For me, I link this very closely with creativity. Yet so many people (like they do with Maths) say “I’m not creative.” Continue reading

A Culture of Prototyping

I have been thinking a lot lately about the diagram below which covers the elements of a Design Thinking Mindset. This is the first post in a series I hope to publish over the next fortnight covering how I see these developing at Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

Elements of a Design Thinking Mindset from dSchool K12 Wiki

Elements of a Design Thinking Mindset from dSchool K12 Wiki

A Culture of Prototyping can be quite scary for teachers (and particularly school leaders) to start developing. This is because it requires all members of the staff to have no fear of failure. Continue reading