We need innovation in Denmark, which is why innovation should be introduced into the Danish public school education. According to Lonni Larsen, who is an innovation consultant at the Center for Teaching Materials in Denmark and a teacher at Stensgård Skole in Lyngby, innovation does not have to be difficult.
“In the wake of the new school reform we needed some Brain Breaks in year eleven in order to keep up the pace and energy in class. A Brain Break or Energiser is an active exercise break, meant for giving the brain a break and re-energise you, so that you have enough energy for the rest of the work,” explains Lonni.
Lonni’s pupils have come up with a lot of fun Brain Breaks. One of them is called Kung Fu. In Kung Fu, two to four pupils fight against each other. They position themselves a few steps apart and count down from three. On ‘GO’, each participant is allowed to make one move – and only one. This may be a move to attack or a move to ward off an attack. Then all participants freeze and hold the position for 20 seconds. These steps are repeated for up to ten minutes.
“This Brain Break challenges the motor skills and the crazy positions the pupils end up in give cause for lots of laughs,” says Lonni.
When people see that the same card can be interpreted in widely different ways, they see how Dialoogle can be used to boost creativity and innovation.
“I realised that I had to involve the pupils in developing Brain Breaks in order for the exercises to catch on among them. I used my Dialoogle picture cards to start a simple innovative process, where the pupils had to come up with their own fun break activities.”
“To begin with I asked each pupil to choose a card and use it to present what they think is fun and what makes them happy. We got a lot of different suggestions. Physical activity and cooperation was a common trait in most of them. At the same time it was evident that we are all different.”
Using this joint knowledge, the pupils developed their own Brain Breaks, and are now in the process of testing them on pupils in other classes. Once the Brain Breaks have been revised they will be published on YouTube, so they are available for use by all the school’s classes as well as others people.
“With this process we killed two birds with one stone. The pupils learned new things about each other and developed a number of break activities that they liked. At the same time they were given the assignment to write intelligible Brain Break guides, which is quite an academic challenge. As a teacher I have learned which Brain Breaks will be most successful in school, and collaborated with the class on innovation in a simple way.”
As an innovation consultant, Lonni uses the Dialoogle as a warm up exercise for groups who are working together in a new constellation or working with new challenges. She uses Dialoogle both when instructing teachers in making innovation part of class and when teaching pupils in primary school.
“When people see that the same card can be interpreted in widely different ways, they see how Dialoogle can be used to boost creativity and innovation,” explains Lonni, and emphasises that previous knowledge of the cards and the process does not decrease the potential for innovation.
“It is not the process, but the ideas it yields that should be innovative! And it is easier to be innovative in class if you are comfortable with Dialoogle and the creative processes used,” concludes Lonni Larsen.