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Teaching Controversies & Dilemmas

Controversies and dilemmas abound when you use design tasks in your classroom. They appear when someone "stretches the rules" of the design brief for the task. They also can be found as pedagogical issues related to design's use with students.

  •  Figuring Out What's Hard About a Topic  A teacher who is trying to designing an instructional unit, claims Harvard's David Perkins, needs to getting good at predicting which ideas students regularly find difficult to understand -- these topics are the naive conceptions or misconceptions that are resistant to change from instruction.
  •  Gender & Design  Hear about a topic that animates both educators and students -- gender and design. Listen to researchers and teachers talk about different skills male/female designers display when designing.
  •  Did the Winner Win?  Watch a critical teaching moment when a controversy erupted over whether a winning design was an allowable design during a class-wide wrap-up discussion.
  •  Form/Function  This idea pair help students analyze organisms, systems or products made by people or nature.
  •  What Makes for a Good Design Challenge?  Expert curriculum designers and teachers talk about key features they think are important to include in a great design activity.
  •  Teacher/Student Control  Prof Richard Kimbell talks about a perennial juggling act of teaching: balancing teacher and student control, and its impact when designing or performing any lesson with students.
  •  Broad/Deep Coverage of Topics  Harvard's Phil Sadler talks abot a second juggling act teachers do that involves finding the optimal balance between covering many topics to meet the demands of high-stakes testing, versus having student work in-depth on projects, which can be more memorable and lead to greater success in college.

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