Spring is traditionally a difficult time for students and teachers alike. After the long, cold, dark winter everyone is anxiously anticipating warmer weather, longer days, and better moods. Spring break and even summer break are just within reach, and every one is greatly aware of that. Meanwhile, testing season is in full swing across the country, oftentimes meaning dull test prep and high anxiety for students and educators.
During this season, everyone could use a little pick-me-up, so we invite you to reignite excitement in your classroom, and to do so, we’re going to explore Design Thinking. Through a series of posts over the coming months, we will explore how design thinking—as a process and as individual steps—can be used in classrooms across grade levels and content areas.
What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking, according to IDEO, is a “human-centered approach to innovation” that can be adapted to many different activities and processes. Design thinking has made its way from engineering brainstorming sessions to classrooms and everywhere in between. IDEO defines the steps of the design thinking process as empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. While there are many different versions of this process, they all emphasize the importance of hands-on creation and design with the user at the forefront driving a cycle of reflection and revision.
One of the benefits of incorporating design thinking is that each step in the process has value on its own, so the process can be used as a whole or broken down with a focus on individual steps.
Why Design Thinking?
You might be wondering what design thinking has to do with engaging students. The magic of design thinking is that it has everything to do with students, allowing for students to have choice and voice while also providing an authentic audience. Students can tap into their own creative expression and use critical thinking to solve problems.
Additionally, because this process includes empathizing and reflection, students are made aware of their own feelings and mindsets, thus increasing their capacity for empathy and self-regulation. Throughout the process, students further develop their social-emotional and executive functioning skills.
Stay tuned to explore each stage in more depth and discover how design thinking can benefit your students.
About Kristy Louden
Kristy was a high school English teacher in Alabama before joining the Eduscape team as a Senior Learning Leader. During her 15 years in the classroom, she discovered a passion for building relationships with students and colleagues and mentoring new teachers, which led to a transition into an instructional coaching role. As her district went 1:1 in 2014, Kristy found a passion for finding ways to integrate technology to engage learners. She has led many professional development workshops in her district and online across the US.
Kristy earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri in 2011 and her B.A. in Education from Western Michigan University. When Kristy isn’t reading blogs or books about learning and education, she is probably devouring novels, riding her horse, or cuddling her two dogs.