Most companies are forced to evolve to continue to meet the needs of the customer; however, if you walk into a typical K-12 classroom you are likely to see it structured in the same way that it was when your parents or grandparents were in schools. Even with blended learning hitting the scene, it took a global pandemic for many of the disruptive practices Clayton Christensen and Michael B. Horn wrote about back in 2008 to actually begin to take root.
I had the opportunity to attend the last iNACOL conference (before the name changed to the Aurora Institute) in Palm Springs only months before the world shut down. I chatted with Michael B. Horne briefly during his book signing for Choosing College, and the overarching feel that I was left with was hope… hope that we were gaining ground and headed in the right direction to put student centered design at the heart of change.
All of this came to mind during our class conversation on design thinking and the segment from IDEO. One of my favorite and most referenced books, entitled The New School Rules, is written by not only Anthony Kim, but Alexis Gonzales-Black, a principal designer at IDEO. This book is an amazing reference not only because of the content but because of the thought given to the user of the content. The book is designed in such a way as to lend itself to reference again and again. This is important for a busy school leader who can often get caught in the whirlwind of the day-to-day.
The New School Rules lays out 6 vital practices for thriving and responsive schools:
- Planning: Plan for Change, Not Perfection
- Teaming: Build Trust and Allow Authority to Spread
- Managing Roles: Define the Work Before You Define the People
- Decision Making: Aim for “Safe Enough to Try” Instead of Consensus
- Sharing Information: Harness the Flow and Let Information Go
- The Learning Organization: Schools Grow When People Grow
They take it a step further by giving each concept its own chapter. Each chapter is then decomposed into the following categories:
- The Problem
- Case Study
- Experimenting With (Chapter topic)
- (Chapter topic) Is Working When…
This structure puts the user at the center of not only the vital practices outlined, but the actual design and layout of the guide, making it one of my most useful professional texts. On an individual basis this is great; what happens when you need to share these practices with a your team in the form of professional development? Are leaders taking the time to consider UX in their facilitation style? According to Education Elements there are 4 Facilitation Personas. Knowing which one you are can help to design impactful professional development workshops which allow resources like the New School Rules to actualize the game changing knowledge contained within.
- The Professor – You come with a wealth of knowledge leaving participants feeling like they always learn something from you. To increase your UX be aware of being too theoretical or too intellectual for your audience by intentionally including capacity building exercises.
- The Talk Show Host – Your energy and charisma are front and center leaving participants feeling good about the experience they just had. To increase your UX, make sure that your content is clear, you intentionally come off of the stage, and that you take time to engage participants who may not be “tuned” in.
- The Listener – You care about other people and ensuring that you create a safe space for others to have a voice and know that they are heard. To increase your UX, make sure that you carve out time in the conversation to share as well whether that be via small group discussion, a followup video, or blog.
- The Coach – You care about pushing others to do more than they believed they could do. You design your workshops around activities that ensure participants do the heavy lifting and are able to apply these new understandings in their work. To increase your UX, call out a few of your coaching moves so that others can “understand the magic” behind your plays.
Which Facilitation Persona are you? How many books do you have on your shelf that you enjoyed, but rarely refer back to? Have you abandon physical books altogether for digital’s search-ability? Tell me the name of a book that you often reference and why.