Y Design-Oriented Models?

What do design-oriented models look like, sound like, and feel like? I’ve been contemplating the answers to those questions for about two weeks now. Richard Schank’s book, Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science can Save our Schools, as well as Katie Muhtaris and Kristen Ziemky’s book, Amplify: Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom have helped me to generate a few answers to those questions.


Looks like:

  • models that support digital communities
    • user-designers, (e.g. content users help to design their learning experiences)
    • online learning and social media
    • incorporation of new literacies
    • develop digital citizens
  • models that support the cognitive process
    • making predictions
    • building models of a process
    • experimenting with information based on failure or success
    • evaluating information on many different dimensions
  • models that support the analytic process
    • making a diagnosis of a complex situation
    • constructing explanations
    • learning to plan
    • conducting needs analysis
    • goal setting
    • detecting causes of events
    • making objective judgments
  • models that support the social processes
    • creating influence within a group
    • working as a productive team member
    • handling conflict
    • practicing negotiation
    • describing problems precisely

Sounds like:

prolific language used to

  • compliment
  • question
  • coach

Feels like:

  • an emphasis on student ownership and creativity
  • student empowerment
  • interdisciplinary learning
  • personalized assessment
  • authentic assignments and projects
  • collaboration
  • abundant access to resources
  • continuous reflection
  • divergent and convergent thinking
  • envisioning, understanding, and communicating meaning
  • inquiry and problem-solving
  • content area experts

Schank reminds us that, “lifetime learning does not mean the continual acquisition of knowledge so much as it means the improvement in one’s ability to [employ cognitive] processes by means of the acquisition and analysis of experiences to draw on. Design-oriented models will help teachers to craft those experiences for their learners in a web-enhanced classroom.


Muhtaris, Katie, and Kristin Ziemke. 2015. Amplify: digital teaching and learning in the K-6 classroom.

Schank, R. C. (2011). Teaching minds: How cognitive science can save our schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

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