|Pencil Sketching of Final|
After looking through different options for Remix #3, I came across the "Learning by Design" assignment. I have seen similar flowcharts on the Internet, sometimes the sketching is done in real-time with a voice-over narrating the concept while the artist illustrates. They have always impressed me, mainly because I am very much a visual learner. Watching different ones on TED talks or YouTube, I have often thought about doing one myself. I am no artist, but I liked the idea, and it couldn't be too hard, I thought.
This past summer, Carol Jago tweeted about a book entitled Thinking, Fast and Slow. She highly recommended it, so I thought I would check out Amazon.com to read some reviews. Well, it had amazing reviews, so I purchased it, then read it the entire summer (it is a little bit more lengthy of a book than I am accustomed to reading for the summer). And Jago wasn't wrong at all: the book proved to be memorable-- and not just that, but completely paradigm-shifting.
In his book, Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, compiles years worth of invaluable research about all of the following topics: decision-making, cognitive traps, and economics. The book's fulcrum is the concept of System 1 and System 2 modes of thinking that are found in the brain. These two modes, completely fictitious in the brain, are what Kahneman argues that we use every day when making different choices--from deciding who we will befriend, to our over-optimistic ideals we have when making future plans. Kahneman contends that we all fall victim to the many cognitive traps in life: we are set to make quick, hasty decision about the world and people (System 1, automatic responses). It is by the end of the book that his research shows that people who take their time, (use their System 2, effortful deliberation and analysis) will reap greater rewards in life.
This concept has stuck with me since my reading. I talk about it in my classes when my students have complex texts that they refuse to read because they initially do not understand the content. As a result, I wanted to replicate this concept in a flowchart infographic. What proceeded is illustrated in the pictures above.
First, I had to refresh my memory about the concept, rereading certain notes that I had taken in Thinking, Fast and Slow. After finding good examples, I started the flowchart with a simple question, one that Kahneman poses at the beginning of the book in order to provide a simple demonstration of the differences between System 1 and System 2 thinking (the mathematics questions found in the first two boxes). My main objective in this process was to show what the concept was and what it meant for students in the classroom. Though it is a rather simple concept, I believe that it has merit as evidenced by my students who will call me out, "Hey, Mr. Standing, maybe you could figure it out if you were using your System 2!"
My struggles were mainly during the creation process of this assignment. I am so accustomed to using the internet, finding pictures, copying and pasting, typing, etc, that I forgot how arduous, time-consuming, and physically demanding the process of drawing really is. During the process, as my hand burned with soreness, I thought of my friend Dusty, who has his own tattoo studio and the detailed work that he does with just his hands and tattoo gun every day. It definitely made me have a new found appreciation and respect for his art. By the final sketching of this project, my hand was literally shaking, my mind felt very weak too. Haha. Needless to say, I haven't done anything artistic, especially with my hands, in quite awhile.
In sum, this project could be used in pretty much any classroom across the content areas: Math, Science, Psychology, and Language Arts. Any time a teacher wanted to measure a student's understanding of a particular concept, he or she could assign this project. Personally, this project made me consider assigning something similar where the students have to create a flow chart delineating the progression of American Literature from Puritanism to Postmodernism. In the future, I will definitely try something similar to this project. However, I don't know if the students will have as much fun as I did if I give them their topics. Part of what was so motivating for me was the chance to create something about a concept that actually meant something to me.