Wednesday, December 21, 2016

LAUNCH Book Study: Chapter 10- It's Time to LAUNCH

This post is part of the #D100BloggerPD and is written by guest blogger Tyler Haar. If you missed the posts on Chpater 1-9 check out the thinglink to catch up. Tyler is a 5th grade teacher at Hiawatha Elementary school is D100. Followhim on twitter @misterHaar. He is working with his team to implement design thinking in a unit on the spheres of Earth. This summer, he led a summer school course in using design thinking. He is passionate about improving STEM education and is an asset to his students and our district. 
Here are his thoughts on chapter 10 of LAUNCH.

Launch: Chapter 10 Reflection

Chapter 10 of Launch focuses on the final phase of the design thinking process - the launch. Students are encouraged to not just share their work with peers, teachers and parents, they’re told to launch their creation across the globe. Thanks to Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and other online communities, students can reach their prime audience no matter where they may live. 

While most of our students are literate in the language of social media and technology, I have found that many still gravitate toward traditional formats of publication (posters, powerpoint presentations and speeches). Over the summer, I taught a leadership program for students entering fifth grade. The students completed a design thinking project focused on activism. Groups picked a cause and designed an awareness campaign to reach a targeted audience. The students chose a wide range of causes, from LGBTQ rights to fitness to clean water. When it came time to launch their campaigns, most groups wanted to create posters or signs to hang in the hallways of Heritage Middle School. While this was an appropriate means of communication for the Litterbusters - a group that planned a Pokemon Go/garbage pickup event at Proksa Park - it wasn’t the optimal form of communication for all groups. One group was focused on saving rainforest wildlife. At first, this group also wanted to create posters for the hallways. After receiving some feedback, the group finally realized their target audience didn’t roam the hallways of Heritage, they lived on a different continent. Eventually, they settled on the idea of creating a YouTube channel to reach a global audience. Even our technology-obsessed students need a push into a 21st-century mindset from time to time. Giving the students the opportunity to share their work to a broad, global audience is so empowering. It’s an opportunity we can not pass up. 


The authors spend a lot of time in this chapter detailing the idea of teaching marketing to students. As even the authors admit, marketing can have a negative connotation and it takes some time to accept connecting marketing with education. The authors lay out seven reasons why kids should learn marketing:

1. Marketing is a vital life skill.
2. Children need an ethical foundation in marketing.
3. Students learn about rejection. 
4. Students develop courage.
5. Students grow in their creative confidence. 
6. Students become critical consumers of information.
7. Students become more empathetic. 

As a fifth grade teacher, reasons 4, 5 and 7 stand out to me as the most age-appropriate benefits of marketing education. Fifth graders need the courage to take pride in their work and share it with the world. They also need to develop the confidence to take risks with their creativity. Failure is okay, just try something else in the next attempt! They also need to understand their audience and tailor their product to meet the audience’s wants and needs. Thinking back to our summer school design thinking projects, I am proud of the progress the students made in all three of these regards. The students were genuinely proud to share their work with peers, parents and teachers during our end of the program showcase. One group decided to write a song to raise awareness for their cause of homelessness. It took a ton of creative confidence! At first, the group members were nervous to film themselves singing, but eventually they mustered up the confidence to record themselves and share it with their classmates.

The launch phase of the design thinking process can be an incredibly powerful experience for our students (and the teachers too!). When I was a student, I took pride in putting my best school work on the refrigerator. Today, our students’ best work can end up on a computer or iPhone screen on the other side of the globe! Our students deserve the chance to share their hard work and dedication with the world. 

Look for the final post of the #D100BloggerPD study of the LAUNCH book tomorrow by Jenny Lehotsky on Teaching and Learning Redefined. 

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