Can you become a chef without being a cook?

(Photo via Flickr user ollesvensson) The fellows were back for fellows studio last week - a period of time set aside for them to discuss their findings from empathy work they've done over the previous two weeks. They have conducted numerous interviews among potential user groups, held workshops, and met with professionals in the field related to their projects.

The week was dedicated to presenting and synthesizing that work, defining a need, brainstorming and then creating a prototype to present during a design review held on Friday.

Fellow Guido Kovalskys has centered his project around the question of how and why teachers share, specifically what they think about the sharing economy and what, ultimately, is in it for them. The central question is, as he put it, "What's the what behind sharing" when it comes to the nation's teachers? As the founder of the education technology company Nearpod, the question cuts to the heart of Guido's professional work.

Guido presented his key findings using the empathy map framework (below), outlining what interviewees said, did, thought and felt.

An empathy map in which design thinkers can outline what interviewees say, do, think and feel in quadrants going counterclockwise from the top left quadrant.

If you're a teacher or work in education, some of the sentiments Guido collected may be familiar. There were teachers who told him that seniority matters almost more than anything else in their schools. There were those who only wanted to share with teachers with whom they had problems in common. Some teachers exhibited a keen awareness of time, being quick to refer to specific time increments ("57 minutes") rather than make generalizations.

Guido gathered that teachers felt they lacked support in the creation of lesson plans or that innovation would get them in trouble. There were also those teachers who seemed to feel more encouraged to share online than in their schools and who felt the value they provided was impersonal. But there were other teachers who seemed to feel big change was coming to the teaching profession and those who found  stories of their peers' successes compelling.

The conversation among the fellows and program leaders cartwheeled through a number of different ideas and questions. Melissa Pelochino, a fellow and veteran teacher, recounted how she had once heard that a cook, after preparing a meal a certain number of times, could begin to modify the recipe, making it their own and eventually becoming a chef.

What if it was possible to skip the recipe and go straight for creative modification? In other words, can you be a chef without being a cook?

This would mean, for teachers and/or students, that they could take on learning something new outside of the given recipe. In essence, says Melissa, Bloom's Taxonomy (as revised) -- a classification system for education-based learning -- would be flipped on its head. The taxonomy, shaped like a pyramid, is comprised of six stages, with "remembering" at the base and goes up through "understanding", "applying", "analyzing", evaluating" and ending at the top with "creating". Flipping it would mean students would start at "create" rather than "remembering".

So, is that possible? Can teachers and/or students cast aside the recipe, as it were, and become chefs without being cooks? What's your answer? Share it with us in the comments, and if you have questions or suggestions for Guido's project, feel free to leave them in the comments as well. You can follow Guido on Twitter at @GuidoNearpod and Melissa at @mpelochino.