Real MVP Teachers are Neuroplasticians and Learning Engineers
This involves a process of reconceptualising the role of the PreK teacher, the role of the learner, and the role of technology today (Cochrane, 2014). In the DURANT learning model, the role of the teacher is no longer the deliverer of course content, but the designer of learning experiences for each RealMVP scholar. The teacher’s role is to trigger events that stimulate student engagement and creativity by leveraging the unique affordances of resources and technologies to support innovative learning. RealMVPVP Academy values a partnership of equals, where each stakeholder is responsible for specific elements. All RealMVP scholars are in a similar circumstance, at the same time and projected time frame, have similar means to this center, and most importantly, have a similar mission.
The teacher’s traditional role as a knowledge service provider has shifted to that of a Learning Engineer and Neuroplastician. The teacher’s role transforms into an augmented information lens for engaging and empowering scholars, being a guide and facilitator of exploration and exchange within our academic community, designer of STREAM learning experiences that build powerful engagement capacity and really, a knowledge trust for providing enduring, barrier-free access for all inquiry on STREAM curriculum.
Our Educational Design Research team found similarities to action research that is concerned with transformational change through a series of iterative cycles during the scoping of REALMVP Early Learning Center. The DURANT framework has built-in transferable design principles which apply to every scholar. It is not about design per se, it is about thinking differently and strategically, to come up with creative solutions to real world problems leading to improved outcomes for all students in the program. In addition to Design thinking, our framework naturally engages teachers in developing their creative thinking capacity within a variety of contexts, and particularly within early education, where “students are challenged to embrace rapid prototyping, present multiple ideas, and test each one” (Educause Learning Initiative, 2014). Leinonen and Durall (2014) argue that design thinking provides a solution for “the need to adopt human-centered design principles in research and design of computer-supported collaborative tools” (Leinonen & Durall, 2014, p. 107). The DURANT model looks at technology as a tool and curriculum as a guide for the teacher. The DURANT model involves three main elements when engineering a learning experience ad these are observational research, visual sense making, and rapid prototyping. A typical design thinking process is a cycle of: empathize/observe, define, ideate, prototype, test and the Learning Engineer must go through these steps before meeting scholars. Having the curriculum designed allows teacher to focus more on students’ internal state and adjust rapidly. Learning engineers must develop a creative mindset and model that to the children who learn by observation. Danvers (2003) argues that developing student creativity involves providing a learning environment that supports creativity and gives students the freedom to explore new ideas.
“Creativity thrives in an atmosphere that is supportive, dynamic, and receptive to new ideas and activities. The learning environment has to encourage interactions between learners in which: action and reflection are carefully counter-balanced; open-ended periods of play and ‘blue-sky’ thinking alternate with goal-oriented problem-solving; stimulating inputs and staff interventions are interwoven with periods in which learners develop ideas and constructs at their own pace; critical thinking and robust debate co-exist with a supportive ‘space’ in which risk-taking, imaginative exploration and productive failure are accepted as positive processes of learning and, the development of meanings and interpretations is inseparable from material processes and production.” (Danvers, 2003, p. 52)
This type of creative learning environment is what inspired the DURANT Learning Model which is shown below. The Durant Principles are outlined in the solution section of this document.
- Durant Principles