Yet more on whiteboards in class

This morning I bumped into Diane Gillepsie. Diane is a veteran teacher and professor here at UW Bothell, and the 2010 Winner of the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award. I’ve had the pleasure of talking her a few times, and our offices are on opposite sides of a hallway so we get opportunities to exchange greetings as we dash from class to meeting, etc.

When I saw Diane in the hallway this morning I thanked her for bringing her students to the Teaching and Learning Symposium last week, so they could markup my poster. She replied that her students loved my poster. They even voted it “best poster”. Cool! “Would they be willing to write blog entries about this and link back to my blog,” I asked. At which point Diane invited me to speak to her class in 30 minutes.

I quickly returned to my office, and wrote and posted the new blog entry that I had been considering. It describes the poster session at the symposium, how Diane’s students augmented my poster with comments on sticky notes, and contains a photograph of the poster on which you can read quotes from my students on their use of the whiteboards.

Just before Diane’s class started, I entered her classroom and was pleased to see the desks and chairs arranged into a large circle. It took me back to the Problem Solving Leadership workshop I took from Jerry Weinberg over a decade ago. That was a transformational week for me, and included introducing to me the value of using circles to allow everyone in a discussion to see each other. In the case of Diane’s classroom, the circle included both chairs and tables so that students could choose to either sit at a chair, or behind a desk. Their choice. Nice.

After Diane briefly introduced me, I expanded a bit on my background and then thanked them for their feedback on my poster. This evolved into a wonderful half-hour exchange of questions and thoughts about the poster, the use of whiteboards in classrooms, and the value of diagramming.

It was lovely seeing the engagement of students, and hearing their questions and suggestions. I wish I could’ve stayed longer.

About davidsocha

In autumn 2010 after spending 19 years working in a variety of software organizations as a programmer, architect, manager, teacher, ScrumMaster, product designer, change agent, and agile coach, I finally listened to what everyone had been telling me I should be doing and joined the University of Washington Bothell as an Assistant Professor in Computing & Software Systems. My interests are how to create and maintain great teams, particularly those in software development organizations. I am most interested in distinctions that dramatically increase the effectiveness of teams, such as systems thinking, design thinking, biomimicry, and human centered design. I am a pragmatist, a collaborator, and an optimist.
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