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Getting Smart Podcast

May 12, 2021

Today Tom is joined by Fred Dust; the author of the new book, Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication.

Fred is a former Senior Partner and Global Managing Director of the legendary design firm, IDEO. And in his new book, he shows how to design conversations and meetings that are both creative and impactful.

Join the conversation as Tom and Fred discuss the four pillars of conversation, where conversation interconnects with design, and how we can do a better job of helping young people develop these skills.


Key Takeaways:

[:08] About today’s episode with Fred Dust.

[:40] Tom welcomes Fred to the podcast and congratulates him on his terrific new book!

[:56] Fred shares his thoughts on why design thinking is now more important than ever before.

[2:55] Would Fred agree that almost every step of design-thinking involves a conversation or a set of conversations?

[5:58] Fred shares what prompted him to write his book, Making Conversation.

[9:58] Why does a good and clear conversation start with commitment?

[11:30] The second chapter of Making Conversation is on clarity. Fred elaborates on the importance of being metacognitive about what, how, and to whom you’re communicating.

[15:31] Fred gives his take on code-switching and whether or not it should be something that we’re teaching.

[19:32] The importance of being context-aware.

[20:55] What constraints have to do with conversations.

[23:24] About Screencastify, the leading K-12 screen recording solution.

[24:09] How education can teach conversations and real dialogue in high school.

[27:39] In writing, formative feedback is quite important. Is the same true for conversation? And if so, where and how should learners be getting formal or informal feedback on the way that they engage in dialogue?

[30:15] The most important place to learn the art of dialogue at the secondary level.

[32:15] Fred shares his thoughts on how we can educate the primary grades on dialogue.

[34:31] Fred discusses how we can approach reconnecting with kids as fall approaches.

[36:23] One conversation every kid should be having right now.

[36:42] How Valor’s Powered by Compass program engages students around the country in thoughtful dialogue.

[37:09] Tough conversations: how to have them.

[40:20] Fred shares his personal mission and how he continues his learning.

[41:52] Who should read Fred’s book, Making Conversation.

[42:40] Tom thanks Fred for joining the Getting Smart Podcast.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Fred Dust

Making Conversation

Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication, by Fred Dust

High Tech High


Elizabeth Warren

The Power of Place: Authentic Learning Through Place-Based Education, by Tom Vander Ark, Emily Liebtag, and Nate McClennen

Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What's Right, by Mary C. Gentile

ChildArt Magazine Jan 2021 Issue

Valors Powered by Compass

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 301: “Joe Erpelding on Magical Schools and Thrively


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