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Karthik Kumar is no stranger to Design Thinking. After majoring in Information Technology for his undergraduate degree, Karthik completed postgraduate work in Business Design, where he focused his studies on design thinking and entrepreneurship. After graduation, he was able to apply the mindset he developed in his studies to improve processes at Google as a Strategist. He credits his ability to empathize as a key skill which enabled him to increase revenue flow and customer happiness.
While he was happy with his position, “Design Thinking Action Lab,” opened his eyes to new possibilities and prompted him to leave to focus on his passion for Design Thinking. Upon interacting and collaborating with students from around the world, he was inspired by the vast array of perspectives which different people bring to the same problem, and realized he still had much to learn.
Though he has much to learn, he also has much knowledge to spread and is now doing exactly that as an instructor at Design for Change in India. Karthik spends his days teaching students the process of “feel, imagine, do, share,” a slightly modified version of the Stanford d.school’s “empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test.” He believes that it is very powerful to inculcate such thinking at an early age, to enable individuals to recognize challenges and effectively address them.
As part of the program, students from 8th grade onward choose issues which impact them and collaborate to identify and drive solutions. It is exciting to think that there is a growing number of people in the world who take action rather than shrug in helplessness when dissatisfied with the status quo, and we couldn’t be more proud of Karthik for helping to drive that change.
Sydney Liu is the kind of student we are inspired by every day here at NovoEd. After taking Technology Entrepreneurship, he volunteered to help other students as a community TA.
In his own words,
Why I volunteered to TA: I volunteered to TA because I really enjoyed the Tech Entrepreneurship course the first time I took it. Through the lectures, assignments, and discussions, I got exposed to all sorts of ideas and people. It inspired me to take part in entrepreneurial communities and what better place to help out and meet entrepreneurs than in the Tech Entrepreneurship Course!
What the experience was like: The work itself was fairly simple; I just answered questions regarding the class and entrepreneurship in general through the forums and personal messages. It was a great way to reinforce what I had learned and reach out to fellow startup enthusiasts in the process.
What I got out of it: From reading the forums I got a lot of insight to the struggles of entrepreneurs, those that I have begun noticing in my own experience and those that I have yet to face. It’s been such a wondrous opportunity to be exposed to so many people, ideas and beliefs.
Our learning community is only as strong as the dedication of our students and teachers, and we are honored to have students like Sydney volunteering their time and energy to help create awesome, socially connected classes. If you are interested in volunteering to be a Community TA, please email the Head TA at email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you in class soon!
I haven’t met a teacher who would say “I don’t want my students to have a productive conversation in my classroom.” Yet, planning, structuring, and instantiating productive student conversations in not an easy task.
As a middle school science teacher (I taught a variety of students in Wisconsin and in California, including many English Language Learners and recently-immigrated students), I clearly remember struggling to find the way to incorporate a student-to-student conversation into a science lesson that I taught about the differences between plant and animal cells. I wanted my students to actively participate and use each other as a resource, but didn’t have strategies for getting them to talk to each other, especially about cells. It was not that they didn’t have enough background knowledge on the topic (this was the last lesson of the unit), but I had many doubts about how to effectively use student conversations in my classes. I wanted to know: (1) Can any topic lend itself to student-to-student conversation; (2) Were my students ready to have such conversations, or if not, what could I do to prepare them; and (3) Given that I had to cover so much material, was this strategy going to give me the “best bang for my teaching buck?”
These are some of the questions that our team had in mind when we put together the MOOC, “Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering Language for the Common Core State Standards.” Specifically, our goal is to increase teachers’ repertoire of classroom activities to promote academically-engaged classroom discourse. To do this, we have designed a series of assignments that will allow educators to learn and practice strategies for analyzing and building students’ abilities to engage in constructive dialogues. Additionally, our goal is to develop an online learning community in which educators can share tips, ask each other questions, and support each other in building rich academic discourse in all disciplines and across grade levels.
We hope you join us for this course! Registration is open now through the end of the week and is available here.
Editor’s Note: This is our second “Prof Post,” featuring blog entries from the instructors bringing you NovoEd courses. This post is written by Diego Román, who is a John Evans Gessford Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow in K-12 Education. Diego helped develop “Constructive Classroom Conversations” with Kenji Hakuta, a Stanford Professor, along with a team of other talented individuals from the School of Education.