Wise 2010 – Rapid Prototyping and “Radical Collaboration” Exemplified


I’m the only ISKME-ite not attending the Big Ideas Fest, but I’m certainly there in spirit. I’m at the WISE Summit in Doha, Qatar. The WISE Summit is an annual event created by the Qatar Foundation, and ISKME was a finalist for the 2010 WISE awards. Similar to the Fest, we’re discussing education innovations. Also similar to the Fest, we’re at a beautiful resort next to a beautiful body of water. (See photo, which I took during my lunch break at the Doha Sheraton Resort).

One of the more interesting implementation projects discussed at WISE is The Riverside School in India. Riverside’s learning program teaches students that questioning, being challenged and caring about issues are as important as mastering content. I was able to ask Riverside Founder-Director Kiran Bir Sethi (see photo bottom right) a few questions after her talk–specifically related to her emphasis on design thinking, rapid protoytping, and “radical collaboration” as important aspects of teaching and learning. Kiran told me that Riverside encourages design thinking with its teachers, and makes it part of its professional development. Teachers are taught to pose questions, create rapid prototypes of teaching and learning practices, test them with students and others, and analyze feedback toward enhanced design.
Kiran Bir Sethi, Wise 2010 2

During our short talk Kiran also explained how Riverside uses radical collaboration, or collaboration with stakeholders that one wouldn’t normally think of including. In designing one of its new school buildings, she explained, Riverside brought in not only architects, but also students, parents, school staff, anthropologists, community members and others to weigh in on the design.

I liked Kiran’s project and the philosophy behind it–it reminds me of the potential of the Action Collabs to do similar things, with their emphasis not only on rapid prototyping, but also on collaboration across diverse groups and communities.