What would education look like if it was truly customizable? Would we have the LMS-driven landscape we have today? What would the tenure process look like? Would we groan about “having” to go to a professional development workshop or fill out another feedback form that said our needs weren’t met?
Current professional development offerings, as they stand, fall short of supporting sensemaking as it relates to the culture and language of technology and authentic learning. With pervasive budget constraints limiting access to conferences and seminars, educators must work diligently to glean as much knowledge as they can from these synchronous professional development experiences. Many of us have experienced the struggle of vetting session descriptions for their promised value rather than calmly and freely exploring all of the offerings. There exists a frenetic jetting from concurrent session to session, with no time for cogitation or reflection. Worst of all, not enough time is dedicated for conversations with colleagues in the hopes of unpacking new knowledge to help solve bigger problems.
The Technology Test Kitchen model sprouted from a group of tinkerers, who envisioned the aforementioned disconnect as a puzzle waiting to be cracked. Breaking down the silos and separations present in much of academia, they immediately spotted an opportunity to reframe professional development as a hands-on, experiential process and a community of inquiry. In spaces where educators purportedly gathered to cogitate, experiment and play, they noticed that the deliverable was actually static, one-to-many presentations with little to no interaction. They were compelled to action to bring a more profound model for professional development. More than anything else, these innovators formulated an approach for bridging the ever-expanding gap between tried-and-true teaching methods and the unique needs of the current populations of learners.
Want to see it in action? Look at the most current version of our Recipe Book from the TTTK (.pdf). Or download our Fillable Recipe Card (.doc) to remix your own recipe using the process of design thinking.