Sunday, 23 September 2012

Designing Play

I finally decided it was going to be necessary to write something down about Creative Media. My school is anticipating a visit from Ofsted in the near future. I've been put into the faculty of Maths and Technology, I guess mainly because Creative Media will sit in a carousel of design activities. It seems to me that Creative Media is both Art and Design i.e. self expression and problem solving. But I've chosen to de-emphasize the self-expression this year because for many students this will be their first exposure to the discipline and designing always happens within a clear context (though not always with a clear outcome). So I've been reading around the concept of Design Thinking. One of the first educational thinkers to apply Design Thinking to a school situation was Ewan Mackintosh. Click this link for wiser and more detailed advice than I have the space or ability to give.  Unlike Analytical Thinking which requires the "breaking down" of ideas, Design Thinking is a creative process based on the "building up" of ideas. 

Now I've consciously decided not to acquire too much content for my "course". I strongly believe that creating media is an integrative process that draws on knowledge, understanding and skills from across the curriculum (Digital Glue). This makes life difficult when setting students Learning Objectives, which of course we are all required to do...I actually believe like Gever Tulley the best learning objectives are the ones we set ourselves  through play and making stuff - like Caine in his Arcade. But if I'm forced to institutionalise play, then Design Thinking is perhaps the nearest we can get.  There's a whole theoretical framework emerging to back it up too, which saves me having to think too hard about it and get on with playing. I found the Wikipedia article offered a clear (if rather dry) outline - so I shamelessly lifted chunks of it to give myself a starting point for what I initially called a Policy document but now, on the advice of  a colleague, I'm calling a Scheme of Work. 

Warned in a dream (no, sorry, a PD day presentation) that inspectors a getting very keen on evidence of the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) dimension in all subjects I pointed up the importance of empathy and collaboration in a design thinking approach and then, for good measure added a healthy dollop of  Jenkins et al's concept of Participatory Culture. The document so far is still very much a work in progress but can be found here. Of course it is a Google Document and so I'd be delighted if people were to comment or copy any thing that's useful to them because, well, hey! that's Participatory Culture for you...