This week, I started reading a new book, Innovate Inside The Box: Empowering Learners Through UDL and The Innovator’s Mindset, which combines the works of George Couros and Katie Novak. In the book, Couros describes the 8 characteristics of The Innovator’s Mindset: empathetic, problem finders-solvers, risk-takers, networked, observant, creators, resilient, reflection. Then, Novak gives Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies to help teachers bring those characteristics into their classroom and lessons.
While the book is full of strategies to help us create meaningful, relevant and authentic learning opportunities, a few of the strategies have really made me stop and think. This morning, I was reading the chapter “Networked” and Novak shared the strategy, “Google or Doodle.” As Novak explains this idea, she describes the steps:
“When teaching, set a timer for three minutes and encourage students to ‘Doodle or Google.’ Essentially, this allows them time to brainwrite, write questions, look up information if they need background knowledge, or take visual notes.”
Innovate Inside the Box: Empowering Learners Through UDL and the Innovator’s Mindset
As I read about this strategy, I automatically flashed back to all the times when I had my students Think-Pair-Share and how there were always one or two students who were not quite ready to share. I could see what looked like thinking going on, I knew they were strategically paired with a partner or group who would create a productive conversation, yet when the time came to actually talk, the activity would sometimes fall apart. How much more prepared would these students have been to explain their learning if I had provided them with the option to “Doodle or Google” before they were expected to share their thoughts with a partner? I am not saying that this strategy should be done all day and in every lesson; instead, it is a strategic way to help students internalize their learning and help them be more prepared to share out their thoughts, especially when they have access to resources beyond the walls of the classroom that can help them better understand the topic being discussed.
I again think of this strategy when there are times when students simply need a break from hearing a lecture, I know I have felt this at times during lengthy PDs or conferences. Doodle or Google would be a great way to keep everyone connected to the learning while giving them time to either create something that synthesizes their learning or time to get information about the topic from a different perspective by googling and doing on the spot research!
The idea of giving students the opportunity to prepare themselves and learn while respecting their voice and choice is all embodied in this one strategy. Learners have the chance to access materials not explicitly being prescribed by the teacher, they have the choice of either researching further using Google or of creating a doodle that explains what they understand and they are able to share, or voice, their product or learning with each other. I love strategies like this one that help our learners expand their knowledge beyond what our classroom or school environment can provide!
Further Your Learning:
- What is UDL
- 8 Characteristics of The Innovator’s Mindset
- George Couros’ Blog
- Katie Novak’s Blog