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Solving Instructional Design Challenges With Coaching and Creativity

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Heather Dowd  
Dee Lanier  

Using gamified problem-based learning, explore how the design-thinking process can help teachers understand and embrace powerful strategies and tools to improve student outcomes, no matter their existing comfort level with risk-taking or technology.

Audience: Coaches, Professional developers, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: iOS, Android
Participant accounts, software and other materials: All applications used are cross-platform web-based apps for desktop and Android or iOS for mobile.
Topic: Coaching & mentoring
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will backwards design strategies for overcoming challenges common to classrooms and instructional design. Utilizing an adapted design-thinking process, participants will collaborate to share a creative solution to the problem they have identified.

Participants will utilize a modified design-thinking process called Solve in Time, in order to develop an array of solutions for their school environment. Solve in Time is a 5 step process that is facilitated by 4 question and answer cards, 1 creative solution prompt card, and a group help card called, SOS.

Participants will be working individually and adding their responses digitally on a Pear Deck interactive slide deck. They will communicate a creative solution to their problem in a format of their choice.

Since this is a gamified/challenge-based workshop, success will be measured by working through the steps and submitting a solution as a link and receiving direct feedback from other participants.


Setup and Instructions first 10 mins:
Each person will identify a problem within their school setting that they will aim to solve.

A 20 minute time-limit for completing all steps will be made visible on the projector for players to see. People will be directed through the slides to respond to each question on the cards either analog or digitally. The final slide requires each person to share their solution in the Pear Deck or on social media. People are reminded to use their time wisely!
~2 min to identify and define the Problem. Relate the identified problem to the school setting, and summarize it in a single sentence.
~2 min to read the selected Research card and summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~3 min to read the selected Understand card and answer the question using their empathy and compassion skills. Summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~3 min to select a Solve card and answer the question using imagination and critical thinking skills. Summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~10 min to select a Share card and use their communication and creativity skills to collaboratively share their solution to the problem.

The remaining 30 minutes is dedicated to group discussion on how to combine ideas and begin planning to put solutions into action! Participants are encouraged to share their ideas and continue to crowdsource feedback online using relevant hashtags such as #ISTELive and #SolveiT.

Supporting research

More [+]


Heather Dowd, Heza LLC

Heather Dowd is an educator, coach, and author. As an original team member of the Dynamic Learning Project pilot which evolved into the Google for Education Certified Coach Program, she mentored instructional coaches across the United States to inspire teachers to use technology in meaningful ways for student learning. Heather is a co-author of “Classroom Management in the Digital Age” where she encourages teachers to set the learning free with a solid classroom management plan. She is a former physics teacher, instructional designer, and education technology coach who loves talking about physics, coaching, spreadsheets, and design.

Dee Lanier, Lanier Learning

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