Friday, June 27, 2014

Dream Fairs

As Scot and I thought more about our design thinking challenge yesterday, we realized that the end point of empowering students to puruse their dreams would have to be personalized learning.  We all have different dreams - so we all need different pathways and skills to help us to pursue them.  We had left Day 1 of our deep dive with the idea that dreaming is a "making activity" and that if we see school as a MakerSpace for dreams then we need to design and build a toolkit that can be used to facilitate students' pursuit of dreams.  Day 2 was devoted to this toolkit.

Most dreams are about the future, so we started to come up with a "Futurecasting Framework".  This framework would be made up of 4 parts:
  • Collecting data:  through interviews, rubrics and measuring learning styles
  • Displaying data:  through student infographics and a "Talent Treasury"
  • Using the data to redesign learning: which could involve "Dream Coaches", internships, apprenticeships, curiosity projects and courses to give students the skills they need
  • Sharing and inspiring:  Dream Fairs
There were several of these we wanted to flesh out a little more and we looked into what Futurecasting could involve.  The definition we found that we liked the best was this:  a framework of life skills that enable young people to connect who they are today with the person that they will be in the future.  We also discussed what the student infographic should look like - it should be something dynamic that visualizes data about each student's progress towards his or her dream (for example skills acquisition) and the evolution of the dream - these artifacts to be collected into a Talent Treasury.

Yesterday afternoon was spent diving deeper into the concept of a Dream Fair.  The two main purposes of these fairs would be to inspire everyone to pursue their dreams and to personalize learning.  They would give the opportunity to share and tell about dreams and the stories behind the dreams and at the same time would create awareness about the diversity of student dreams.  The students we interviewed about their ideas of a Dream Fair mentioned storytelling, showing the dream and the journey towards the dream including the hardships and challenges and what it took to achieve the dream, and one-on-one conversations about their dreams.  They also saw these fairs as a way of networking and connecting with others (experts, mentors, coaches) who could help them achieve their dreams.  I really liked the way one student described how he wanted to "feel the dream" and experience the dreams of others.  He told us that sharing makes dreams real, but that a Dream Fair can also be a place to explore how the dream can morph into something else.  The students felt that the fair could include both exhibition and workshop - about how to turn a dream into a reality.  They felt it was important to show how a dream has changed your life - both the way you view things and how you act and react.

Do you have any ideas about how to empower students to achieve their dreams?  If so, please leave a comment as we are hoping to develop these ideas further once we return to school.

Photo Credit: fiddleoak via Compfight cc

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