Innovation Happens at the Intersections

Amber Mrak, Ed Tech Specialist – It’s hard to believe we’re ready to embark on the second half of our school year. As I’ve gained my footing in my new role, I’ve been exploring intersections of work within RVS’ Learning Department. Being that I was provided with the opportunity to connect with the Design Team early in the year, this has been the strongest connection point in my workflow.

Aligning work and coming together to build prototypes and support intersections of workflow takes a great deal of vulnerability. It requires hard conversations, active listening and open-mindedness. I’ve learned a lot working with RVS’ Design Team with regards to thinking big and the creative power behind brainstorming. Inspiration for this can be found at IDEO.org Brainstorm Rules.

This collaboration has led to the co-design and co-facilitation of projects such as Innovators are...REdesigners, Fashion Hackers, We-Well Being design, Idea Incubators, dialogue around building CoSL into instructional design, CoSL 1 pagers and exploring ways to bridge the work between Making Learning Visible and the #everyonecancreate movement. This time was full of big conversations, wonderings around student agency and how we believe it to be the forefront of learning and many, many, MANY ideations of various prototypes to support teaching and learning across RVS.

I’ve also had the opportunity to find intersections with Learning Supports while exploring how might we ensure all voices are heard and shared throughout RVS.This deep dive has connected me to schools that are excited to create a plan of documenting the learning of all our students. It is a beautiful way to talk about who our students really are, create a transition plan for their next adventure and celebrate their goals and areas of growth.

The Learning Department has created a prototype to foster a collaborative workspace using Trello. Using this tool, we’re able to connect to all schools in the jurisdiction, update our contributions and see the work of our fellow colleagues. This offers insight that is required to make connections with other teams that are busy in their own roles, where we don’t always have that opportunity to connect face-to-face.

It makes me wonder – how might we push this envelope further? How might we debunk the notion that an idea or project belongs to just one person or team?  How might we, as educators, as learning specialists who are in roles to support teaching and learning across the division, align our work more significantly? How might we be responsive to the needs of our teachers and students? How might we spark joy across the jurisdiction with instructional design and technology for learning?

All of this reminds me that we need more questions than we do answers to unpack our personal bias and previous learnings, and to dig deeper into what we want for our community of learners.  As a new member of the Learning Department, this can be overwhelming at times, but also is pushing me to be a better educator.