Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

Click on "contact", won't you, and wave right back at me?

My TEDx Talk - Discovery + Direct Instruction

In my TEDx talk below - "The Power of Opting In" I attempt to describe a design space which marries direct instruction & information feedback loops (learner <-> teacher, learner <-> learner, teacher <-> teacher), with high degrees of learner agency, a spectrum of intents (including subversion), movement, discovery, improvisation, fluidity, and more than anything else: relationship & community as the beating heart.

The two questions "what works?" (explanatory) and "how do we want to be?" (narrative) can feed into this design space in elegant synchronisation. A design space can make room for multiple narratives to come together, preserving a sacred sense of self-determination in a social fabric.

I speak not theoretically but retrospective-descriptively based on a range of program designs we've developed at my school since 2005. We've not "got it right", but we have developed promising design directions that "make space" for everyone to grow. Internalisation can't be forced, so space for "opting-in" is critical even if it is sometimes post-hoc.

In my talk I propose the term "learning landscape" for this design space and propose 3 critical layers to the design: physical space, virtual (information flow) space, and cultural (head) space. All 3 can be designed together with intent. The result can have sophisticated structure and constraints that bring both focus and freedom to a community of learners.

I have a deep respect and admiration for my colleagues who have worked hard to develop these structures over many years of trial and error and constant iterating and rebuilding.

I've put the Prezi and the exemplar video footage below since they are not clear in the TEDx video:

Post Script: an observation

This scaffolded design space is not dissimilar to computer game design space, which also maximises autonomy, making/building, embraces subversion, embeds a mixture of curated + discovery learning, is profoundly social & cooperative, and includes sophisticated information flow loops. Many educators have noticed such parallels including John Hattie (p67, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn).