Episode 108: Kirtley Fisher and Karen George Recap Lessons Learned from TD4E (Teachers Design for Education)

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In a previous episode of the Meet Education Project, Episode 029, our guests from the Business Innovation Factory (BIF), talked about the Teachers Design 4 Education project that they were starting at that time. Now, Kirtley Fisher and Karen George return for a recap of their project, sharing with us how the project went, what they learned from the experience, and what action they’re taking now with what they’ve done as far as the online platform.

Guest Bio:

Kirtley Fisher

Kirtley Fisher

Kirtley works as an Experience Designer at BIF. She is from Newport, RI, and received a B.A. in International Studies from Emory University. After college, she moved to Washington, DC, and worked as a legislative aide for Congressman Jim Langevin (RI). Most recently, she served as Senior Legislative Assistant and advised the Congressman on issues that included education, business, labor, economic development, and children and families. She enjoyed working on collaborative efforts that brought together multiple stakeholders to support student success, especially underserved students. She worked to promote the inclusion of art and design thinking in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education fields. She also worked to curb identity theft and promote financial literacy among the foster youth population.

Curiosity about the education system and leveraging partnerships brought her to the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she earned a master’s degree in education focused on systems change and implementing innovative concepts. She researched student-centered learning, including design thinking in the classroom. She believes we are lifelong learners, where learning extends beyond the classroom to the workplace and community.

Karen George

Karen GeorgeKaren works as an Experience Designer at BIF. With a background in anthropology and ethnographic research, she enjoys tackling problems with a human-centered approach to gain insight into how people experience and think about their daily lives. Her ethnographic work in the United States and abroad has brought her to hospitals, summer camps, digital communities, correctional facilities, social service organizations, senior living facilities, and to where she is happiest – talking with people in their homes. Before joining BIF, Karen worked as a consultant for a hospital performance improvement organization, where she helped hospitals strategize to address financial and clinical performance issues.

Outside of BIF, Karen enjoys making music and jewelry, tracking down innovative dance performances, trying as much of Providence’s food scene as she can, and getting people plugged into and excited about the city. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Dartmouth College and an M.A. in Anthropology from Brown University.

(Source: Business Innovation Factory)

Show Notes:

(02:00) The whole idea of today is to do a recap of our last conversation, which was Episode 029, about Teachers Design 4 Education, when the pilot was just starting.  Why don’t you give the audience a refresher of how that program went and what you were able to learn from it.

(05:40) When I was doing research for this episode, as I was navigating the site, at the bottom of one of the landing pages was “Interested in TD4Ed as a blended online and in-person Professional Development offering?”  I don’t remember that being part of the discussion, but it makes perfect sense… You have this more collaborative teacher-focused, problem-based approach which teachers are identifying and then finding solutions for.

(09:18)  When you talk about teacher preparation and teacher development, have you spoken with, or have you had any conversations with Bridgewater State, Brown, as these teachers are going through their curriculum,  I wonder if this could be something that’s integrated in what they’re already learning, because there’s nothing like this collaborative approach to solving these problems. Have you explored that at all?

(11:00) As far as in public schools, what sort of feedback have you gotten from administrators as far as this being a “formalized” part of professional development? Or is that not what you’re looking for with this?

(12:34) Can you dive into one of those case studies to let the listeners in on what was the problem that  teachers were trying to address at that specific school,  how do they go about finding a solution and what was the outcome?

(15:55) So you went through this pilot period, how long was the total TD4Ed experience, from start to finish, as far as testing this model out?

(17:10) Now, we always like to focus on a lot of the successes. But a lot of the constructive learning that you probably have was in maybe some of the things that you potentially can do better. Was there one or two things that you learned in this process that you would then apply in your next project, that you think you could do better.

(19:38) That’s an interesting thing that you brought up, the sense and the importance of community. With the online platform, or in the facilitation, did you have these project teams working together across schools as well, or was there a Facebook group that they work together in, and could talk about their struggles, the wins, the losses. What was the function there?

(21:18) So what’s next for the team? Is there another project that you’re working on or in the process of developing?


Teachers Design 4 Education: http://td4ed.com

Business Innovation Factory: http://bif.is/


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