• The Spark

Quad D Idea Lab Plants the Seed for Rigorous Learning

Author:  The Spark Staff  | 06/27/2017

In his keynote address at this year’s Model Schools Conference, Dr. Bill Daggett reminded educators of the importance of shifting instruction to promote Quadrant D learning in order to prepare students for the careers of today and tomorrow. Throughout the conference, educators are finding opportunities to experience “Quad D” for themselves.

Led by ICLE consultants, learning designers, and trainers Erika Tate and Venola Mason, the Quad D Idea Lab sessions at the Conference have participants playing the role of students in discovery mode. Teachers attending the sessions are gathering ideas for implementing typical Quad D learning activities in their classrooms.

What is Quad D learning, and what does it look like in the classroom?

To open the session, participants create a word cloud describing Quad D, including terms like Relevant, Collaborative, Exploratory, Discovery, Hands-on, and Creativity.

In their introduction, the facilitators describe how a Quad D classroom supports educational equity by enabling learners to work in their own style, at their own pace, and on their choice of activities. Learning relationships—teacher-student, student-student, and teacher-teacher—also play an important role Quad D classrooms.

Following the Rigor/Relevance Framework, Quad D learning asks students to:

  • Compose
  • Create
  • Design
  • Invent
  • Research
  • Justify

Adding authenticity to the session’s experience, the Conference’s Idea Lab is run using the same principles that govern a Quad D classroom:

  • Station rotation model
  • Learning pathways—allowing participants to work at their own pace/style
  • Authentic materials
  • Performance-based activities
  • Collaboration
  • Opportunity for reflection

Students can follow their own paths

The Idea Lab activity stations include mapping with Ozobot (a tiny, programmable robot) and color-sensing technology, storytelling with Ozobot, makerspace design challenges, and music making with Makey Makey kits. (Makey Makey turns objects into touchpads and links them with the Internet.) In keeping with a typical Quad D classroom, the training offers three learning paths for participants with different learning styles: Explorer, Practitioner, and Producer.

In 15-minute rotations, the educator participants use colored patterns to create paths for small robots, create music by connecting everyday objects (including themselves) to their computers, and design vehicles and cooking tools using ordinary items.

Quad D Ideal Lab Plants the Seed for Rigorous Learning

Cooking up some good ideas

During their session, teachers Teri Haverkamp and Miranda Evans from Lee High School in Huntsville, AL, took part in an engineering exercise that asked them to create a simulated grill using a plastic cup, tinfoil, sponges, straws, and cotton balls. As they explained their creation, the plastic cup with foil reflects the rays from the sun, which heats the air inside the cup. The heat then goes through the straws connected to a second cup, where it is insulated with cotton balls, enabling the heat to rise up to cook hot dogs on the foil grill top. After the exercise, they discussed ways to apply the activity to a history or geography lesson.

Learn more about the events at this year’s Model School Conference, June 25–28.

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