Colorado Program Summary

The d. home team is a model that has been developed at the Stanford d.school for innovative teacher professional development that, once tested and established, will be replicable in multiple regions. It allows teachers to learn the way they will teach their students – something rarely seen in conventional approaches to teacher professional development.  As a prototype of how to replicate and apply the d. home team model, Createdu and The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) have teamed up to implement the ARC 1: Developing Mindsets workshops with 2 school districts in Colorado.  The Colorado districts, Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) and Colorado Springs District 11 (D11), were selected based on previous partnerships with CEI to plan and implement next generation learning.

Getting teams up to speed

Based on recommendations from the d.home team we kicked off our ARC 1: Developing Mindsets workshops with a pre-workshop.  This session was designed to get participants on the same page about the design process and build a sense of camaraderie across schools within the district.  We started off the day with a couple of team building/get to know you activities including designing a name tag for your partner with a visual representing “why they decided to get into education.”  Next, we took the standard “Bike Challenge” often used on the Stanford campus and adjusted it to fit the local community and conditions to give team members an experience with the entire process.  We challenged all participants to work with members from different schools throughout the day so that they would get to know one another.

Challenges, Differences & Adaptations

 BVSD educators test out their prototypes with users aimed at improving the snowy commute.

BVSD educators test out their prototypes with users aimed at improving the snowy commute.

Working with teachers in Colorado instead of Northern California presented some interesting challenges. The first challenge we faced was the weather and environment.  During the first workshop with Colorado Springs District 11 (D-11) we were able to adapt the bike challenge that is commonly used at Stanford into a pedestrian experience challenge. Colorado Springs has a less than ideal pedestrian experience and offered a great design challenge: How might we improve the pedestrian experience in Colorado Springs? Team members hit the streets and immersed in the Pedestrian Experience.  They returned to design a new interactive, safe pedestrian experience.

During the workshop for the second Colorado school district, we were expecting a foot of snow and knew that we would be unable to kick off the workshop with either the bike or pedestrian challenge.  We used the challenging weather as an opportunity focused on the question: How might we improve the snowy commute?  The challenge started with participants reflecting on the immersive commute experience they had just completed!  Participants came up with some great ideas around how to make a long snowy commute safer and a better use of time.

 D11 educators put finishing touches on their prototype to improve the pedesterian experience in Colorado Springs.

D11 educators put finishing touches on their prototype to improve the pedesterian experience in Colorado Springs.

Take-Aways

We definitely recommend adding this introductory process-focused workshop to the beginning of the ARC because we were able to get everyone on the same page and develop a sense of community between schools. Our main take-away lesson was to be sure to have an adaptable challenge that can be adjusted in the case of inclement weather.  

From the participant perspective we got a lot of great feedback around loving the opportunity to get outside and get a chance to work with participants from other schools.  We also had a lot of interest in thinking about how to bring this process back to individual campuses.

We are super excited to work with these two districts.  They both bring fantastic energy, great questions and a creative outlook!