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News · 3 min read

Learning Spaces for creation: cooks vs chefs

16-05-2022
Craig Frehlich


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Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on https://unsplash.com/photos/EzH46XCDQRY

This blog is part of a special series in cooperation with instructional designer Craig Frehlich. It explores different types of teaching strategies and shows how they can be enriched and enabled with virtual spaces.


In a podcast episode from AJ Juliani’s, Inside Innovation, he describes the difference between chefs and cooks and uses this as a metaphor for the creative classroom. Chefs are recipe inventors and makers. They take ingredients to make something new and innovative. Whereas cooks are recipe followers. They take a set of instructions and implement them to make food. Chefs are experimenting and doing new things in new ways. They are building, experimenting, often failing and learning from the creative process of making.

Ecosystem Lesson guide

This beautiful metaphor reminds us of how building with Lego building blocks works. Decades ago, one could only buy lego pieces in buckets. There were no instructions, a person had an open canvas to snap them together, experiment and make stuff. Lego builders had to use objects around us and in nature for inspiration. Things didn’t always work out right, forcing us to be chefs. Nowadays, a person can buy Lego in kits or sets like the Star Wars X-Wing Fighter Kit. When the package is opened, there is a picture on the box along with a set of instructions on how to make the product. These new Lego products are breeding cooks.

As educators how can we ensure we are designing experiences to produce more chefs than cooks? The more opportunities we provide students to create in an open-ended way the more comfortable students will become by letting go of someone else’s instructions or recipe and coming up with their own way to make and create. Targeting learning activities that are on higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy will give students the opportunity to think deeply about their content.

Blooms taxonomy

Image by Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

Teachers can use imedu’s immersive learning spaces to be chefs. For example, students could be asked to retell a story or parable in imedu and use images and 3-d assets to visualize this narrative. Or, students could be challenged to think about how things develop and change over time. This is an essential thinking skill and key to deeper conceptual understanding. In this type of learning experience, students could be asked to re-create a historical timeline of key events, people or objects in the last decade of their life. Then using imedu’s exhibition space they could display images and 3-d objects to display their timeline. Have a look at the example lesson guides and spaces to learn more about this learning experience.


To try out some spaces yourself:

Try it out for yourself

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