Design Thinking for Educators

Having taught a traditional 'Challenges of Educational Leadership' course in the past, I've been thinking about creating a blended M.Ed course that using a design studio approach to explore solutions to current educational challenges.

The two most important lessons from the design studio approach that educators need to implement are creating a culture of critical collaboration and seeking interdisciplinary input during the problem solving process. 

Design Studio Lessons 
1. A culture of critical collaboration*
2. Interdisciplinary problem solving, every day*
3. Tinkering with solutions and reclaiming failure
4. The shared power of the pencil and pixel

John Seely Brown highlights the importance of open critique to further learning. 

"A culture of healthy critique, full of mature and multidirectional insights, inspires confident, analytical learners."

Design Thinking for Educators:

  • I have a challenge.
  • How do I approach it?
  • Discovery builds a solid foundation for ideas.
  • Creating meaningful solutions for people begins with a deep understanding for their needs. Discovery means opening up to new opportunities, and getting inspired for new ideas.
  • I learned something.
  • How do I interpret it?
  • Interpretation transforms stories to meaningful insights. Observations, field visits, or just a simple conversation can be great inspiration—but finding meaning in that and turning it into actionable opportunities for design is not an easy task. It involves storytelling, sorting and condensing thoughts, until a compelling point of view and clear direction for ideation emerge.

  • I see an opportunity.
  • What do I create?
  • Ideation means generating lots of ideas. Brainstorming encourages expansive thinking without constraints. Often it’s the wild ideas that spark the thought for something visionary. With careful preparation and a set of rules to follow, a brainstorm session can yield hundreds of fresh ideas.

  • I have an idea.
  • How do I build it?
  • Experimentation brings ideas to life. Building prototypes means making ideas tangible, learning while building them, and sharing them with other people. Even early and rough prototypes can evoke a direct response and help learn how to further improve and refine an idea.
  • I tried something.
  • How do I evolve it?
  • Evolution is the development of a concept over time. It involves planning next steps, communicating the idea to people who can help realize it, and documenting the process. Change often happens
  • over time, and reminders of even subtle signs of progress are important.

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