Assessment Design 1.0

The one area in my classes that I have a need for a new assessment is in Advanced Baking. In this course the students are much more self directed and they are often tasked with creating new products / recipes for our monthly bake shop. Creating a new recipe is hard work and it doesn’t happen in just one try. It takes many iterations of the product to get it just right in flavor, texture, appearance, and customer draw. Each time the students make their recipe the whole class tastes it and gives feedback in a verbal round table type discussion. This leaves out any students who are not in the room that day and it also doesn’t leave a “paper trail” or notes on the suggestions given for improvement.

I would really like to create a product assessment that students can fill out while they are tasting the products. This doesn’t need to completely replace the verbal discussion but serve as an enhancement of that process. The team that made the product will then have a written account of what the tasters liked and disliked so they can make an informed decision about next steps without relying on memory of the discussion.

I think a practical name for the assessment would be “Product Feedback”. Some students get hung up on words like assessment but feedback sounds less threatening. The format of the assessment would be in multiple forms. Perhaps it could begin by asking students to rate the flavor, texture, and appearance on a scale followed by space to offer positive comments as well as suggestions for improvement. I think the team will need to show how they are using the feedback in their next iteration so they have to consciously practice receiving constructive feedback, evaluating the feedback, and then using the feedback. This isn’t a skill many of the students are taught.

The student instructions for an assessment such as this would need to be clear and standards would need to be set so students know they may not be hurtful or cruel in their feedback. On first draft the instructions look something like this:

Finally, I believe that using digital technology to provide this assessment will assist in many ways. The students will be able to provide their feedback anonymously so they can feel more open to honesty in their assessment. Also, the data will be more easily manipulated if it is collected in a digital manner. For example, if a Google Form is used the feedback can be viewed as graphic representations like pie charts so they can see what percentage of students agreed on each area of feedback.

Assessing MY Assessment

Below is an example of an assessment that I’ve used in the past. Today I’m going to look at it from a critical perspective and you are welcome to come along for this (possibly uncomfortable) ride. Let’s get started before I lose my nerve…

End of Unit Cookie Quiz

To give some perspective, this is an end of unit assessment, that would have been taken after a variety of learning activities and cooking labs. It would be used to assess whether students know the difference between types of cookies and minor information related to how cookies are made. I haven’t used this for a year or two as I have started to transition to more performance assessments but I felt that this assessment would give me more to write about.

As I look at this assessment now I see a few assumptions that I made when I created it. First of all I assumed that the students had experience making all 6 types of cookies. While we do make all 6 types of cookies in class if they were absent for a lab then they were not able to see the process for themselves. A secondhand description from a group member is not the same as experiencing the recipe yourself. I also assumed that they know the specific cookies I used as examples, like Snickerdoodles and Thumb Prints. Not all students would know what those cookies are so they may struggle in answering those questions.

Last week I wrote about 3 things I believe about assessment. In that post I stated that assessment (1.) should measure growth, (2.) should measure that growth over time, and (3.) should match the information or skill being measured. When I look at this assessment, with those three things in mind, I’m not surprised that I’ve moved on from using it. It is a snapshot of a student’s knowledge. Without a pre-assessment to compare it to there is no way it can show growth. It also doesn’t really measure what I want students to learn in the cookie unit. I want them to be able to successfully make a variety of cookies and understand the purpose of individual ingredients enough to make successful substitutions and adjustments to the recipes. This assessment does not measure any of that!

I did a bit of reading about assessment this week and when I look at this test I see it through a new lens. While reading I learned that one thing that helped to shape education and assessment into the system that we still use today was Social Efficiency. In the early part of the 20th Century the social efficiency movement developed from a feeling that education could be streamlined to teach just what needed to be learned. Our understanding of assessment largely grew from that idea. The test I shared above reminds me of that movement; streamlined to measure mastery of content in an objective easy to score manner. Unfortunately that model isn’t going to serve our students very well in the 21st Century. In this new era our students are going to need to be able to transfer their knowledge to new situations, be creative, and think for themselves.

One last thing that I learned about assessment this week was from an article by Lorrie Shepard titled “The role of assessment in a Learning Culture”. In the article the author stresses that, “Our aim should be to change our cultural practices so that students and teachers look to assessment as a source of insight and help instead of an occasion for meting out rewards and punishments”(Shepard, 2000, p. 10). The assessment I’ve been looking at so critically is an example of why we need to change those cultural practices. This assessment didn’t help students or teachers. It was just another grade in the grade book.

While I have already started to make major changes in the way I use assessment in the classroom I still have a lot of work to do to get it right. Watch for updates as the journey unfolds.

References:

Shepard, L. A. (2000). “The role of assessment in a learning culture”. Educational
Researcher, 29
(7), 4-14. https://journals-sagepub com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/doi/pdf/10.3102/0013189X029007004

3 Things I Believe About Assessment

Over the past 43 years of my young life, assessment has taken on different meanings at different stages. Even before I started formal education, I was assessed. My grandfather was a man of few words, but when I helped plant potatoes or cantaloupes on the farm, he was quite quick to give criticism of my spacing between plants. His garden had structure, and his workers were expected to do it his way (the right way) every single time.

When I entered public school, assessments became more formal. Quizzes and tests were common, and as far as I knew, they were the only measure my teachers were using to measure me. College was much the same with big exams like midterms and final exams, taking on an even greater significance than they had in high school.

Then I became a teacher, and in my early career, I used assessment in the same way I had experienced it. The longer I was teaching; however, the more my views changed, and that old version of assessment just didn’t feel right anymore.

Now, at this moment, when I think about assessment, I can pinpoint the following 3 things that I believe about assessment.

  1. Assessment should measure growth. Assessment is a measurement tool, but often it is only used to record one measurement with nothing to compare that measurement to. You need to have multiple data points to truly measure what a student has learned or how they have increased in a skill set.
  2. Assessment should measure that growth over time. Even now, in midlife, I am still learning. Learning is a process that lasts the whole life through, and assessment needs to take that into account. When it is used as a snapshot to record what you know at one point in time, it is not a very accurate measure. Assessment should measure what you know at the beginning of an experience, how you grow along the way, and what you have learned by the end.
  3. The assessment being used should match the information or skill being measured. When you are assessing a reading skill, you don’t ask math questions. The evaluation should be crafted to take an accurate measure of the information learned or the level of expertise developed. Often in my baking classroom assessments look like an everyday cooking lab. I measure my students at the end of the yeast bread unit by how successfully they can make garlic knots. Do they keep the yeast alive? Is gluten appropriately developed? Are the knots shaped correctly? Is the hydration of the dough correct? Etc.

If you hadn’t already figured it out, I am starting to explore assessment as a new topic of interest. I look forward to sharing with you what I learn along the way.

Reflecting on Design

In early January 2020, I got the email welcoming me to my newest Grad class. At that point, I had read the title of the course and the brief description in the course catalog but I didn’t really know what to expect. Was it going to be hard? Would I be able to keep up with the work with my full-time job and family responsibilities?  I have to admit I was a bit nervous as I opened up the d2l online learning platform to check out the course. 

The course was CEP 817 and it was called Teaching Tech Through Design. That didn’t give me a lot of clarification. Designing is something we do when we make something right? It’s being creative, or something like that, so how do we teach through design? Oi, I thought, what had I gotten myself into. 

I moved on to reading about the course and the syllabus. It explained that the course was about design as a process and a product, whatever that means.  The last line, however, caught my interest. It said the course was about design as a framework for helping us work through issues, problems, and solutions with respect to education. Hmmm, there are a LOT of problems and issues to work through in education and honestly, we aren’t usually given a lot of guidance to help us navigate our way to a comprehensive solution. This could be useful. 

The grading system seemed a little questionable. Apparently, we were all starting with a 4.0 and there wouldn’t be grades for our assignments, only feedback from the instructors. Now, this was not the first time I’d heard of such a grading system but I had a lot of issues with it. So far I have ended up with a 4.0 in all of my courses, and I felt that I had worked hard to earn that grade so being given a 4.0 wasn’t the problem. I think the issue I have with this grading system is that I thrive in a structured environment. I need goals, benchmarks, and obvious things I need to do to KNOW that I’m on the right track. This kind of felt like I was expected to work my way through a maze in the dark, never knowing if I was getting closer to the goal or just going in circles. 

Unit 1 was full of the usual “beginning of course” assignments. I checked them all off as I worked till I got to the 55 Fiction assignment. We were supposed to write a piece of fiction that was only 55 words long. Not 54, not 56, ONLY 55. Preposterous! Now I have to be upfront here, I used to be a very creative person in my younger years but once I had kids my chances to be creative dwindled rapidly. Most of my days became full of lists of tasks that HAD to be done to keep the family on track. 

The first thought was “What the hell does this have to do with design?”. I even put it off for a few days, hoping it would go away, lol. Then I sat myself down and stared at the screen. My mind was blank. My Mom happened to be visiting for a few days which always makes me reminisce about growing up on the dairy farm. Ok, so why not start there? I’ve known my share of cows so I wrote about cows. Halfway through I even giggled! This was fun and what do you know, I can be creative after all!

The very next section of Unit 1 answered a lot of my initial questions. I learned that design is really a thing. It’s the way we go about changing something from what it IS now to what it COULD be. The way I like to think about it is changing what we HAVE to what we PREFER. Not only is it a real topic but it has multiple models and people study design. 

It was in Unit 1, right off the bat, that I learned that we are ALL designers. I am a designer. Not only did I read about it, and watch videos about it, but I actually believed it. Hadn’t I changed the entire baking program from an empty course that no one wanted to take to one that is bursting at the seams? Hadn’t I changed my circumstances from a farm girl who was stuck in Fulton County forever to a successful teacher in New Jersey (far away from the farm)? I might not have understood design as I was doing it but I had taken a less than perfect situation and changed it into a much better one.  

The final thing I remember learning about in Unit 1 was the Stanford Design Model. I spent a lot of time on their website, exploring. The Standford model starts with Empathize, followed by Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. I took some notes on each of the “Modes” of design thinking and felt like a whole new world was opening up in front of me. It made so much sense! And I started lamenting to my husband that I hadn’t known about design until I was over 40. What a waste of time. 

We worked our way through the design process by choosing a problem of practice to focus on. A problem that we were having in our own classroom or school that needed a creative solution. I chose to use my Advanced Baking class as my problem of practice. The curriculum was all about cake decorating which none of the students had a big interest in. I had been teaching it completely “off curriculum” for a few years trying to figure out which direction to go. It needed a lot of work. 

 We starting with Empathize. In Unit 2 we practiced empathizing and it seemed like the natural place to start. It is always my goal to get to know all of my students and make a connection of some kind with each and every one of them. I hurt for them when they tell me that its not “normal” for a teacher to talk to them like they are people and to show interest in who they are. I think that’s why this step struck me as so darn important. In education, we often start AND end our curriculum and activity design without ever considering the final user, the student. I’m not typical, students are always the center of what I’m working on so I talked to the students to get their view of the curriculum and how it should be shaped for THEIR use. 

This is the point where I became REALLY interested in the design process and how it can be useful in education. I was on board! I started thinking of the many ways I could use the design model to improve my teaching and even my decision making about WHAT to teach. If we changed the way we thought about problem-solving we could be creating much better solutions to some of our biggest problems. 

Unit 3 brought us to Define. Here we spent some time digging deeper into the problem and figuring out what the real root of it was. What I had listed as my original problem was just what I saw on the surface but once I started digging I found so much more to look at. It had all seemed much simpler before this step, lol. I had to pull everything apart and push the distracting parts to the side to find the real soul of the problem. 

With each unit, I was becoming a more passionate proponent of the design process. In our rush to quickly solve problems and move on we rarely (or never) look at them in this depth. The design process taught me to be much more thorough and purposeful in my approach. If we spend the time to empathize and define the problem then the rest of the process will be much more successful. 

Unit 4 blew my mind! We were ideating. This means we were brainstorming, but no, more than brainstorming. Brainstorming usually leads us to the “typical” answers and rarely leads us in a creative direction. In this unit, we were encouraged to focus on the problem and then put it aside for a while. This gives our brain a chance to really marinate on the problem and leads to epiphany type moments. 

I had a few of those moments. I was in the middle of teaching a lesson when one of them struck. I had to take a moment to write it down and even mulled it over in front of the students aloud. They showed interest so I knew it was something to keep in mind. 

This was the first opportunity I had had as an adult where I was encouraged to write it all down, no matter how extreme it seemed. Usually, there are constraints like cost, time, etc. but not for this process.

The last two parts of the design process are different but they go hand in hand and can end up being a cycle. They are Prototype and Test. Basically, you take all of the best ideas from your ideation and narrow it down to the one that will solve the problem most effectively. Then you create a prototype of that solution. It’s a physical representation of your solution. It might be a machine or a draft of a document. Once you have a prototype you then test it and use the data to improve your next prototype and test again, and again, and again until you get it just right. 

The most important part of this is that it is acceptable to NOT be perfect the first time! There will be many iterations of the prototype that have to be tested before you get it just the way you want it. 

I think there are a lot of applications in education for this concept alone. We expect perfection from our students but why? We test them and then hand back the corrected test but what does that really tell us. Wouldn’t it be better to give it back and allow them to make corrections until they have really learned the lesson? This is a topic that I have to spend some more time thinking about…

In Retrospect

Design has applications in each and every part of my life. It could have huge implications in education but also in my daily life. I’ve found myself thinking about empathy when talking to my kids or ideating a solution to the problem we have in the garage with all those darn cardboard boxes that need to be packed for recycling. I prototyped a lesson for baking at home for my students and tested it with my Advanced Baking students before using it for the lower level Baking students. We had to test it twice to get it right. 

We can learn a lot by following modes of design thinking. We can learn about our students in a way we didn’t before. We can open up our thinking to include new and radical solutions to age-old problems. We can learn to be creative again. Now that we are at the end of the course I understand the purpose of that 55 fiction that I dreaded so much. I have to write another one this week but I’m not pushing it off as I did before. I’m saving it for last just like I always save the best for last. 

 

Final Problem of Practice Report

 

The Model

There are multiple design models to choose from and all of them have their own positive traits. The one that I used for this project was the Stanford Model from the Stanford Design School. The 5 modes of design thinking according to this model are Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. In order to learn about each mode of the model, I worked through the design process with my own Problem of Practice. This was an eye-opening experience and I learned a lot along the way.

The key things I learned about the design process are…

  • It is how we move from an imperfect situation into one that works better for our students. 
  • It requires creativity.
  • It takes a lot of input from all of the stakeholders to get it right.

In order to explain the process and how it works follow along as I focus on each mode of the model individually. I’ll share their meaning and how I worked through the mode for my project. 

My Problem

The problem that I started with is that my baking and advanced baking classes were too similar. Advanced baking was being run as a 2nd level of baking but it was quite repetitive in nature. The students covered all of the main baking information in the first level course so other than making more complex recipes there weren’t a lot of new areas to cover in advanced baking. 

Mode 1 – Empathize

Empathy is important in the design model. It allows the designer to get to know the user to the extent that they can be sensitive to their feelings, thoughts, or experiences. If you don’t know the end user then the solution you design is less likely to actually solve the problem. Some ways that we can practice empathy are by asking questions, listening to stories, observing, and attempting to step into their perspective. 

For my project, I decided to get a student perspective. They are the users of the curriculum and therefore their perspective would give the best clues to how effective it was and how well it was meeting their needs.  I started by giving each student a list of questions to answer and I encouraged them to be brutally honest in their responses. Not all of the students are comfortable speaking their minds aloud in a group setting and I wanted everyone to have input. Then while we worked side by side preparing doughs and batters during the remainder of the week I worked in lots of small group and individual conversations. I was trying to get even more information but I was careful to listen and not lead. 

survey response

I learned that the students all felt that they learned a lot in Advanced Baking. They felt that some of the most positive parts of the course were the bakeshop experiences and the freedom to be creative and create new things. Students also identified areas of the course that they felt needed improvement. One of the recurring answers was that students want more time to work on the areas of baking they identify as either their favorites or the ones they need more time to perfect. They felt that they were restricted by the need to follow the predetermined units. 

Mode 2 – Define

The second mode of the Stanford Design Model is to define. In this mode, you look at all of the information you collected from empathizing and then create a very specific definition of the problem. Sometimes it takes a lot of thought to really find the root of the problem and get a thorough definition. 

For my project, I spent a lot of time reading through the student feedback and writing down the common themes. One that made a resounding impact on me was expressed by an energetic and curious student. I created this point of view framework to express it…

POV

Another big part of the defining mode is the need to dig down to the true root of the problem. What we see on the surface is typically just the beginning. To do this I used an exercise called “5 whys?”. I started by listing my problem of practice and then asking WHY five times in a row. For each answer, I asked why again until I dug down to the heart of the problem.  For my project, the root of the problem was the curriculum document that was old and unbalanced. 

At the end of define mode, I was able to write a more specific statement of my Problem of Practice. My new statement became, “The Advanced Baking course is repetitive, dated, and skewed toward one area of baking.”

Mode 3 – Ideate

This is the mode where you get to start thinking about solutions. Creativity is a huge part of the ideate mode. It is important to include even the wildest ideas on your list and to be radical. Take some time to incubate your ideas. This means focus on them for a while and then set them aside. Your mind will still mull over the ideas in the background and an epiphany may happen when you least expect it. 

I started ideation by presenting the Problem of Practice to my department coworkers and asking them to contribute their thoughts via post-it note on a poster I kept on my workroom desk all week. It was not possible for all of us to sit down together due to our schedules. 

2020-02-29_18-28-24_695

While waiting for my colleagues to provide their input to the brainstorming poster I spent time brainstorming as well.  I kept a journal of ideas that occurred to me as I allowed incubation to occur. As the weirdest times an idea would pop up and I would get excited and add it to the list. This process was exhilarating and enjoyable. The ideation mode gave me a chance to let the ideas fly with no concern for cost, administrative expectations, etc which can really get in the way of creative solutions.

Mode 4 – Prototype

Ideas start to take physical form in the prototype mode of this process. When you exit the ideate mode you have to focus your energies on the one best idea from your list. The idea that will solve the problem in the most effective way. Then you create a prototype based upon that idea as a solution to the problem. A prototype is a physical representation of your chosen solution.

For my problem of practice, I chose to create a new Scope and Sequence for the Baking and Advanced Baking classes that I teach.  I looked at what is taught at Johnson and Wales as well as a few other places in the United States. I also kept the empathy report in mind at all times so that my user feedback was reflected in the final prototype. 

The part that really gave me struggle was making sure I wasn’t skewing the new scope and sequence in any one direction. The Baking curriculum covers the basic information about ALL areas of baking and the Advanced Baking curriculum takes it to the next level asking the students to use what they know to be creative, make new things, run a bakeshop, advance their cake decorating using more complex ingredients, and make super difficult sourdough bread. 

Mode 5 – Test

The final mode of the Standford Design Model is testing. In this mode, you test your prototype and collect data that will help you to make improvements for the next prototype. The data collected does not have to be numbers. Data can be comments and suggestions from a focus group. The prototype and testing modes can become a bit cyclical until you perfect your prototype. It is highly unlikely that your prototype will work perfectly on the first try and that is OK. 

To test my prototype I asked a mix of students and colleagues to look at the Scope and Sequence. My colleagues gave feedback to me via email.  The current Advanced Baking students provided feedback by making comments on a Goole Doc version of the prototype. Finally, my independent study students who have taken both the Baking and Advanced Baking courses in full joined me for a Google Meet session and had a focus group discussion about the prototype. I planned questions in advance but asked everyone to give feedback in any area in which they felt it was necessary. 

My colleagues liked the Scope and Sequence and did not feel that anything needed to be changed. They especially liked the addition of the science experiments and taste testing to give students a real look (and taste) at how ingredients change a product. This was also the case with the independent study students who were the most experienced of all the students that provided feedback. One student commented, “I wish I could take the class again Mrs. K, you added some cool stuff”.  

Conclusion

The Stanford Design Model provides a systematic yet creative way to solve problems. It encourages collaboration and gathering input from as many sources as possible. Finally, it works. I think it has immense application in the education field. If more people took the time to work through this model when creating their courses and big projects then the students would be getting the very most out of the lessons we as teachers are preparing for them. I intend to continue using it and have even found that it applies to problems at home. 

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

CaptureThe Advanced Baking course which I teach has been written as a very onesided course for many years. It is geared mostly towards cake decorating with little to no student choice built into the curriculum. In the three years that I have been teaching the course, I have mostly taught it “off curriculum” with the full knowledge of my supervisor. There is an opportunity to rewrite the curriculum documents this summer to make it into a more well-rounded course.

The users of this prototype are the Baking and Advanced Baking students at the high school in which I teach. These students enter Baking with a basic skill set and understanding of cooking and baking. They have an interest in the subject matter and a wide range of baked goods that they want to learn to make. 

In this prototype, the units of study for both the Baking and Advanced Baking courses were sorted into the most relevant course. Then additional columns break each unit into more specific “big ideas” or concepts and finally there is a set of suggested activities and labs for each unit as well. I am testing to see if each unit has been assigned to the appropriate course as well as the equal distribution of time and resources to each unit. I am also testing to see if the activities and labs give adequate choices to the students. 

Due to the current COVID 19 Pandemic the protocol had to be somewhat adjusted. Instead of having face-to-face meetings and focus groups everything had to be done at a proper social distance. I asked a mix of students and colleagues to look at the Scope and Sequence. My colleagues gave feedback to me via email.  The current Advanced Baking students, who have taken Baking but have only experienced a small fraction of the current Advanced Baking curriculum, provided feedback by making comments on a Goole Doc version of the prototype. Finally, my independent study students who have taken both the Baking and Advanced Baking courses in full joined me for a Google Meet session and had a focus group discussion about the prototype. I planned questions in advance but asked everyone to give feedback in any area in which they felt it was necessary. 

When the feedback started to arrive I was initially a bit surprised by it. The current Advanced Baking students were the first ones to provide feedback and while some of them were able to step back and look at it objectively others were very focused on the topics that were added to Baking that they hadn’t had a chance to cover. These students felt that the custards unit, for example, should be moved to Advanced Baking because they hadn’t covered it yet. Once I explained that this was for future classes and they would not be affected by it they adjusted their thinking and were able to provide more relevant feedback. 

My colleagues liked the Scope and Sequence and did not feel that anything needed to be changed. They especially liked the addition of the science experiments and taste testing to give students a real look (and taste) at how ingredients change a product. This was also the case with the independent study students who were the most experienced of all the students that provided feedback. One student commented, “I wish I could take the class again Mrs. K, you added some cool stuff”.  Overall I think this prototype was very very successful. Some minor tweaking will need to be done before the new curriculum documents are written but it is mostly complete. 

Something to think about for the future…

One student said, “I don’t want to do the sourdough unit because I don’t want to take care of a starter but I guess I can see why its a good unit”.  This comment reminded me that even with a more well-rounded curriculum not everyone will be happy all of the time. If they are more interested in one certain area of baking they are going to want to focus there. They still need to go through all of the units so they can have a full baking repertoire but it would be great if there was something more independent to follow it up. With this in mind, I am planning to speak with my supervisor and ask for either an Independent Baking class or smaller class sizes that will allow room for more independent study students in each period.  The students would be eligible for the independent experiences after finishing Baking and Advanced Baking. 

Prototyping a Solution — Finally

My Problem is

The Advanced Baking course is repetitive, dated, and skewed toward one area of baking. 

My Prototype

Baking and Advanced Baking Scope and Sequence

My Reflection

I put a LOT of thought into this project. I will have the opportunity to rewrite the curriculum documents for our district for both Baking and Advanced Baking over the summer, and the scope and sequence are the backbone of that undertaking. I need to have it worked out properly before I begin writing a full curriculum document. I looked at what is taught at Johnson and Wales as well as a few other places in the United States and came up with my scope and sequence-based upon that. 

The part that really gave me struggle was making sure I wasn’t skewing the new scope and sequence in any one direction. The Baking curriculum covers the necessary information about ALL areas of baking and the Advanced Baking curriculum takes it to the next level asking the students to use what they know to be creative, make new things, run a bakeshop, advance their cake decorating using more sophisticated ingredients, and make super difficult sourdough bread. I feel comfortable that this iteration is complete, evenly distributed across units, and also allows the students to be creative as they have requested. 

Prototyping Creatively

The next step in the Design Model that I have been writing about is where I finally get to create a prototype of my solution to the problem. In this step I bring together everything that I learned through empathy reporting, defining the problem, and ideating or incubating all the possible (even wildly out there) solutions.

As with all of the other steps I spent some time practicing before jumping right in and making my prototype. The practice session included using 3-12 household items to create a prototype for a big idea of choosing. Rather than prototyping a solution to a problem I was creating a prototype that would be a visual representation of what the big idea meant to me. Read on to see what I created…

My Chosen Big Idea

Our Connected World

My Prototype

Untitled document

My Reflection

Explanation of My Prototype

{In the span of one week our society changed dramatically in a way I have never experienced before. I’ve been teaching for 20 years and never in my wildest dreams thought that I would find myself teaching from home. Last week our connected world was just that…connected, in a physical and virtual way. This week our connected world is trying to distance itself physically which leaves us connected mostly digitally. I am teaching BAKING from my laptop using demo videos I create and upload to youtube and FlipGrid for responses to prompts. At the same time, I’m assisting my children with 1st grade and 3rd-grade work as well as gym, Chinese, art, music, etc. We Facetime my niece every evening and I’ve set up a Facetime appointment with my friend for Saturday evening “wine time”. I’ve learned new ways to teach from home on Twitter and I send messages to my nephews on Facetime messaging. Without technology and the internet where oh where would we be? }

Description of  How I Feel Post Prototype

From this prototype experience, I learned that it’s kind of fun, and stress relieving even, to use available materials to represent something. It forced me to be creative! Instead of dice, I started with my son’s army guys but they made the prototype seem too aggressive. I had to go through my house to find something else and finding the dice was like a Eureka moment. In this climate, I really couldn’t go out and purchase any other materials anyway. It really drove home the idea that prototypes should solve the problem in a creative way. 

My Incubation Journal

My Problem is

The Advanced Baking course is repetitive, dated, and skewed toward one area of baking. 

My Brainstorm Session

I explained the PoP to my department coworkers and asked them to contribute their thoughts via post-it note on a poster I kept on my workroom desk all week. This is the final collection of notes. It was not possible for all of us to sit down together due to our schedules and the fact that we are without a contract and the union requires us to arrive and leave on time.

2020-02-29_18-28-24_695

My Incubation Journal

journal

My Reflection

I have thoroughly enjoyed the ideation experiences. (Honestly, in general, I have loved the design process. I think if I had known more about design earlier in life I would have followed that as a career path.) It gave me a chance to let the ideas fly with no concern for cost, administrative expectations, etc which can really get in the way of creative solutions. I think I have a solid avenue to pursue for prototyping and testing. At this point, I expect to construct a new scope and sequence for both Baking and Advanced Baking courses with Baking focused on learning the background knowledge needed for baking success.  Then Advanced Baking will focus on understanding substitutions, recipe construction, recipe testing, and running a bakeshop. We will attempt to partner with local bakers for real-world lessons. My mind just keeps spiraling from here but that’s where I’m starting.

Learning to Incubate My Ideas

Brainstorming has always been my go-to for coming up with new ideas. Actively thinking about a problem and coming up with solutions, often in a group setting. This week however I tried something a little more relaxed. I attempted to sit back and think in a quiet setting to allow my ideas to “incubate”. I even took a relaxing walk as I was thinking about the problem.

My problem is: 

The Advanced Baking course is repetitive, dated, and skewed toward one area of baking. 

The things that I find to be the most problematic are: 

  1. How do I ensure that the curriculum covers all areas thoroughly and meets the individual student needs/wants?
  2. How do I work in the bakeshop experience as part of the curriculum?
  3. Can I use the baking curriculum as a means of preparation so students can write their own recipes in advanced baking and direct their own inquiries?

A glance into the process:

My thoughts were mostly focused on question number three but in the process, I got a bit of resolution for all three issues. It kind of flowed like this…

If I set up the baking curriculum to include all of the units of study then students will have all the knowledge they need to make baked goods of all types. By using the Johnson and Wales curriculum as an example I can make sure we study ALL areas thoroughly. Maybe I can do a side by side comparison of Johnson and Wales and the Culinary Institute of America?

Then in Advanced Baking we can focus on the way recipes are constructed and the ratios necessary for each type of baked good. This will give them the info they need to write recipes. We can also master recipe testing in Advanced which is a big part of perfecting products for the bakeshop experience. Then they can scale recipes to larger/smaller quantities which is also a bakeshop skill.

My takeaway of incubating:

My mind doesn’t rest! Every free second it brings this back to the front of my thoughts so I can focus on it again. I’ve gone on some pretty wild tangents but with the current budget situation in my district, I’m sure none of those have any hope of surviving. An example is the purchase of a professional convection oven so we can bake more effectively. We have to fight to get them to replace regular equipment when it breaks so asking for a new piece of equipment doesn’t even have hope.  Then again maybe I can find someone willing to donate one…