Effective educators are expert improvisers, says Dr. Punya Mishra, the co-director of MSU’s Masters in Educational Technology program and originator of the concept of TPACK – that is, designing curricula that blend technology, pedagogy and content knowledge. Adaptability is especially important when it comes to using technology in the classroom, he explains. Technology is rarely designed for educational purposes, he points out. Even if it is designed with an educational intent, it is likely to quickly become out of date or to be adapted in some way to suit the needs of a specific lesson or classroom anyhow.
In the spirit of TPACK and adaptability, I tested out my adaptation skills in the kitchen. My roommate helped me by randomly choosing a plate, a bowl and a utensil, and then choosing a number 1-5, each of which represented a kitchen task. You can see how I did in the video below!
Reflecting on this task, I think that the problem that required the most creativity and was finding out where to put my smart phone so that you could see what I was doing. Perhaps there is an application there for the classroom – something about considering the presentation of your lesson as much as the lesson itself?
Secondly, I think that adaptability ties in well with the concept of having a “growth mindset”. Instead of allowing a limitation to capsize our experience, we need to be open to new ways of thinking, failing, and trying again. Instead of letting failure and limitations define us, we take the initiative to redefine them until they suit our needs, growing in creativity and resilience, and even having more fun through the process. The end result? Not only are my lessons more creative and engaging, but my students learn to be creative and adaptable as well. Win-win.