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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #192

The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #192
By Tom Barrett • Issue #192 • View online
Hi there and welcome to the latest issue of the Dialogic Learning Weekly. If you are new here, thanks for joining us! This newsletter looks at Learning, Leadership and Innovation. A few provocative nuggets for you to chew on every Friday.
This week a series of posts about drafting, iteration or prototyping. It is one of the later stages of the design thinking process, but can also influence the way we create anything in our schools or businesses.
The key is to share your drafts early and often.

First Verbal Prototype
A different way of thinking about this stage is that prototyping is to engineer as many opportunities for feedback as you can. 
Feedback is the main reason anyone creates rough versions of anything. Rough and ready versions give us the chance to test and think about what works and what doesn’t. And to truly understand how bad our ideas are.
Remember that the only thing that is worse than a bad idea, is one that has been isolated from feedback for too long.
Feedback is oxygen for your ideas. It will help them to grow and get stronger, starved of it and your ideas will get weaker.
When you create a rough prototype, first draft or early sketch you are using iteration to develop your creative ideas.
Often the first prototype you can create is the moment you describe your idea to someone else.
  • What if we…
  • Imagine that you…
Your FVP (first verbal prototype) is the kick to then begin representing your idea in a more tangible way.
Have a look at the full blog post for some options for how you can prototype different types of ideas.
Prototyping – the quickest way to learn how bad your ideas really are!
Perpetual Beta
In my post about the Mindset of Failing I pondered on the mental resilience of tennis players compared to other athletes. Losing points is regular and failing is part of the back and forth of a tennis match. This is very different to other sports.
The post was commented on by Pam Hernandez who remarked:
This made me think about how we traditionally provide feedback on student learning which is not unlike the analogy to football. I’m thinking American football in this case and getting an A on assignment is much like scoring a touchdown. It’s not uncommon to see teachers use sports analogies and comment “Homerun” or “Touchdown” on good work. I like the idea of rewarding effort along the way and making it okay to make mistakes along the way and be rewarded for the learning. It’s a different mindset for parents, teachers and students.
And it is here that we have the biggest opportunity to shift the way people are thinking about failure and failing.
It is no small feat mind you. There are cultural and ethical stances people have that influence their perception of mistakes and failure in learning.
We need to help the whole learning community appreciate this positive prototyping disposition.
Learning in perpetual beta is all about continuous improvement, with an emphasis on engineering as many opportunities for feedback as we can.
Learning in Perpetual Beta
A Prototyping Disposition
When we make stuff, if we are iterative in our approach we are more likely to succeed. But there is a lot going on if we begin to consider prototyping as not just about making something, but a disposition too.
It is not just about junk modelling or computer aided design or 3D printing or physical building – a disposition towards prototyping means we:
  • Are committed to the expertise and ideas we might gain from others and don’t just simply rely on our own perspective.
  • Believe in the value of feedback and how critique can move our ideas forward.
  • Engineer as many opportunities for feedback as we can, as early as we can.
  • Are willing to share what we create when it is extremely, painfully incomplete.
Learning can be such a creative process, I know that teaching is one of the most creative of professions I know. The prototyping disposition is a stance we need to consider for our learners and for ourselves.
A Prototyping Disposition
The prototyping theme was inspired by the amazing crew at Casey Fields Primary School. They have returned to onsite learning and this week started prototyping a range of ideas that focus on student voice and agency.
If you are looking for some online learning opportunities please have a look at our online courses. It has been great to see big groups of teachers from schools sign up and enrol together, and we have already accredited some teachers who have completed the SOLO Taxonomy course!
Thanks for joining me this week.
Let me know what resonates.
In dialogue we trust.
~ Tom Barrett
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Tom Barrett

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