Friday, 2 November 2012

Ideation: Creative Media Badges 3

I knew this one would be tough. How on earth can you give badges for having an idea? I decided it was time to do some design thinking of my own so I started reading around the topic. Using Ewan Macintosh's Design Thinking School he mentions using the SOLO (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) taxonomy during the ideation phase. I've been aware of SOLO for a while - it's a helpful framework for teacher and student to think about the quality of student's work.

It was immediately apparent that the first phase (pre-structural) was not appropriate for a badge since students in this phase don't have a clue what they are doing! Nor did the Extended Abstract phase seem appropriate since there is no opportunity to generalise to a new domain when you're mid-way through a project. That left three phases - promising... I have three stars for each badge. The problem is how to turn concepts into useable StarGets which are based on evidence...
The main problem is that SOLO is designed for assessing outcomes not planning activities that generate ideas. So I went netwalkies and came across two people who have been thinking about the way ideas are generated.
Stephen Johnson is interested in the environment that produces ideas. To sum up his thinking it is that the collision of a multiplicity of thinking produces new ideas. Thus the coffee shops were the birthplace of The Enlightenment. He is also clear that ideas can lie dormant for many years - suggesting to me that the eureka moment is usually actually what Robert M. Pirsig called a  'wave of crystallization'. If I remember my science, crystallisation happens when a solution is saturated i.e.- there needs to be a high level of relevant ideas sloshing around.... so immersing myself in the subject is a fine way to come up with an answer. Crystallization starts when there is a catalyst: a tap on the test tube, Newton's apple, or Archimedes bath. Me? I prefer to sleep... 

Next I looked at the work of Austin Kleon who takes as his premise Picasso's statement, "Good artists copy, great artists steal". You can watch the Youtube TEDx here. As a result I re-stole the wonderful  RenĂ© MaltĂȘte picture on the left from him.
I revisited the CPLE material I was reading earlier this year about assessing creativity. And loads of other stuff too boring to mention. Then I went to bed.
In the shower next morning, for no apparent reason I started thinking about a young English teacher  I worked with some years ago - whose name I have quite forgotten - and who left me some cover work about delivering film pitches. And that is when the wave of crystallisation hit. Of course! A film pitch is what prospective film makers give to their backers. It's where they outline their ideas in the hopes of persuading the money men to part with the lucre. Exactly the kind real-world activity that would supply evidence of ideation.  
A pitch would be an appropriate vehicle for the students who have a clear idea of a project they wish to pursue .  Designers, however, more often work with a brief provided by their client and must demonstrate how their ideas meet the brief.  In the classroom many students would benefit from   a more narrowly focussed brief that was still related to the "epic question" that initiated the first two phases of the process. The aim is for the brief to act as a catalyst. That is not the place I've been using design briefs - up to now they've been the starting point  for projects. Some kind of scaffolding will be needed for both these processes. I'll post it here when I'm done... 
Having now a clear idea of the evidence of ideation required, it was back to SOLO and Stephen Johnson to write StarGets.
* You generate and communicate your ideas for a media solution. You see that word solution bandied about all over the place, but the previous stage of synthesizing required students to generate a problem so in this case it is the right word.
** You have created a rich solution by combining several ideas. Or, as Stephen Johnson says: An idea is a network...
*** You show that you have developed your intitial ideas through discussion. The emphasis here is on show. Adding brief footnotes to their pitch or brief on the feedback and additional ideas received and how their ideas were affected should suffice. 

Where Do Ideas Come From?
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