I have been hearing a lot about hacked design recently. You may be confused with hacking we associate with computer systems but this requires taking an already design object and changing it to fit another purpose. Or as the Hacked Design Blog explains it, “Hacking is user initiated product intervention. The idea is to take an object and optimize its function through an alteration that was not intended by the manufacture.” Blogs and websites are popping up like the Ikea Hackers community where people share their ideas and how they have repurposed furniture and designs.
I wonder what it would look like if we took this view of education and decided to hack learning? I hear schools that say, “We do Walker Learning” or “We are an inquiry based learning school.” But it worries me how limiting it is to put learning in a neat little box. Imagine if blogs popped up talking about how I used this aspect of design thinking and mixed it with this part of project based learning and repurposed it to meet the needs of my students? What if schools started to say we are “hack schools.” We choose learning based on our students?
So how do we define hacking? We often think of it as something illegal and wrong. But if we think of it as taking something that had one purpose and mix it with other tools, resources and thinking to create some new and even more functional. The RSA suggest hacking has evolved from, “audacious breaches of private electronic systems, through to one which increasingly invokes a broader range of stunts and sabotages of convention.” Once again you may have thought of sabotage as something negative, to ruin. But what if we think of it as an ‘obstruction of normal operations’ and that is what we use in hacking learning.
Imagine if rather than looking for the perfect “thinking” or “learning” we hacked learning to produce the best opportunities for our students at that given time, in that context and in that environment. Rather than putting a label on learning we actually get to the bottom of what is important at that precise moment in that child’s learning.
Actually I know that this is already happening. Teachers willing to take a risk, to see things as they should be not as they are, are breaking the learning design rules to create new opportunities for students. But I would love to see more of it.