A Video-based Primer.

Here we offer a series of video segments looking at 'systems thinking in action.'  The PREP Center within Intermediate District 287, serving the western suburbs of Minneapolis, created these videos under a grant from the Minnesota Department of Education in 2001.  These segments were included on a self-running CD-ROM that included some additional material. 

The set of files includes eleven video clips with two 'narration only' audio clips.

Briefly, the players in the video portray a couple teachers, the principal, a teacher/union representative, and a curriculum development person.  The principal has called them together to talk about the adoption of graduation standards in the high school.  They offer in sequence (with the running times indicated in minutes and seconds)

(Note that the speed at which these will load will vary depending on your system and internet connection.)

  1. an introduction to the need for systems thinking (in public education, in this case) -- 1:08

  2. background material on the fictional school -- 2:03

  3. an introduction to systems thinking generally -- 1:39

  4. the team's development of the triggering question -- 5:54

  5. narration only on the selection of variables for the systems model -- 1:02

  6. the team's documentation of the variables -- 2:56

  7. the team's developments of the mental models -- 2:48

  8. an explanation of mental models -- 0:45

  9. narration only on the nature of feedback -- 0:58

  10. the team's development of feedback loops -- 2:00

  11. an explanation of feedback loops -- 1:53

  12. the teams's development of interventions

  13. an explanation of interventions -- 2:09

Note that this is a fictional high school.  The 'actors' and Cassie Erkens (the female commentator) were all associated with public education at the time of the video-taping.  Michael Ayers of The Commonwealth served as the male commentator and wrote all of the narration and commentary.  The 'scenes' were generally laid out in terms of the points to be made and who might reasonably say what; the actors, however, created their own lines.

The PREP Center may still have copies of the CD-ROM (and accompanying notes) available.  If not, and you'd like a copy, please contact us at The Commonwealth Practice, LLC.

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