How can we develop new ways to personalize learning?

Partners: The Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC) and Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC)

Type: Professional development

As part of a Race to the Top Innovation grant, Ei partnered with two regional educational cooperatives in Kentucky to provide design thinking training and consultation to school innovation teams and regional instructional support leaders.

The Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC) and Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC) won a federal Race to the Top grant with a plan to help 125 schools across 22 districts identify innovative strategies to personalize student learning. GRREC and OVEC offered a range of workshops and other supports to help schools identify and implement their strategies. Ei was brought in to provide design thinking capacity, both for school teams to learn the process so they could use it to develop their school’s innovation focus, and for regional instructional leaders, so they could develop capacity to facilitate and coach teams through the design process during the grant period and beyond.

“It was great being able to work through the design thinking process instead of just hearing about it.”

- Workshop participant

Over the fall of 2014 and winter of 2015, Ei planned and delivered seven separate one-day Intro to design thinking workshops for educator teams. The one-day sessions provided participants with the opportunity to participate in a design challenge focused on developing ways to better engage students. School teams left with a model for how to engage students in their own schools in rich conversations that could lead to design opportunities.

In order to build local capacity to facilitate design thinking independently, we developed a train-the-trainer model. Regional instructional support leaders attended early workshops as participants. In subsequent workshops, we incorporated instructional leaders as co-facilitators. We then led a two-day workshop for five key instructional leaders to collaboratively plan a new set of design thinking workshops for teachers, and coached them as lead facilitators of those workshops.