Design thinking in education (Wikipedia)
Design thinking has been suggested for use in schools in a variety of curricular ways, as well as for redesigning student spaces and school systems.
Design thinking in education typically takes three forms: helping school administrators solve institution-based problems, aiding educators develop more creative lesson plans, and engendering design thinking skills in students.
There are currently many researchers exploring the intersection of design thinking and education. The REDLab group, from Stanford University's Graduate School of Education, conducts research into design thinking in K-12, secondary, and post-secondary settings. The Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Program is a collaborative program between Stanford University and the Hasso Plattner Institute from Potsdam, Germany. The Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Program's mission is to "apply rigorous academic methods to understand how and why design thinking innovation works and fails."
SPJIMR, a top B-school in India, offers a road map to build design thinking culture in the organisation and has implemented the approach across its different management programs.
In addition to enriching curriculum and expanding student perspectives, design thinking can also benefit educators. Researchers have proposed that design thinking can enable educators to integrate technology into the classroom.
Design thinking as a viable curricular and systemic reform program is increasingly being recognized by educators. "Much of today's education system guides students toward finding the correct answers to fill-in-the blanks on standardized tests, as this kind of instruction facilitates streamlined assessments to measure success or failure ... It is critical that, particularly in under-served schools this model of learning does not continue to prevail. Students need both the skills and the tools to participate in a society where problems are increasingly complex and nuanced understandings are vital."
Uses in K-12 educationIn the K-12 arena, design thinking is used to promote creative thinking, teamwork, and student responsibility for learning. The nonprofit Tools at Schools aims to expose students, educators, and schools to design thinking. The organization does this by facilitating a relationship between a school and a manufacturing company. Over a minimum of six months, representatives from the manufacturing company teach students the principles of design and establish the kind of product to be designed. The students collaborate to design a prototype that the manufacturer produces. Once the prototype arrives, the students must promote the product and support the ideas that lead to its design.
An example of the Tools at Schools partnership is the redesign of school equipment by 8th grade students at The School at Columbia University. The students were divided into groups and asked to redesign a locker, chair, or a desk to better suit the needs of 21st century pupils. The students' final products were displayed at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair where they demonstrated their product to fair attendees and industry professionals. Overall Tools at Schools not only introduces students to the design process, it exposes them to the design profession through their interactions with designers and manufacturers. Since the students work together in groups, design thinking in education also encourages collaborative learning.
Another organization that works with integrating design thinking for students is the corporation NoTosh. NoTosh has a design thinking school to teach instructors how to implement design thinking into their curriculum. One of the design thinking techniques NoTosh adopted from the corporate world and applied to education is hexagonal thinking. Hexagonal thinking consists of gathering cut-outs in hexagon shapes and writing a concept or fact on each one. Students then connect the hexagons by laying related ideas or facts together. The visual representation of relationships helps students better conceptualize wicked problems.Another concrete example of design thinking in action is NoTosh's "Googleable vs NonGoogleable Questions" exercise. Given a specific topic, students brainstorm questions on that issue and divide their questions into "Googleable and NonGoogleable." Students research the Googleable questions and present their findings to the class while the NonGoogleable questions are used to create a project.
Stanford University's Taking Design Thinking to Schools InitiativeApart from non profit entities and corporations, research universities are also involved in deploying design thinking curriculum to K-12 schools. Part of Stanford University's efforts to incorporate design thinking in education into a hands-on setting is the Taking Design Thinking to Schools initiative. The Stanford School of Education and d.school partner with K-12 teachers in the Palo Alto area to discover ways to apply design thinking in an educational setting. "Teachers and students engage in hands-on design challenges that focus on developing empathy, promoting a bias towards action, encouraging ideation, developing metacognitive awareness and fostering active problem solving."
Taking Design Thinking to Schools identifies the following design thinking process:
- Understand: students explore the topic through research and develop familiarity with the subject matter
- Observe: this phase consists of students taking note of their environment, which includes physical surroundings and human interactions; students gather more information about peoples' actions and possible motivation through discussion
- Point of view: students consider alternate points of views to better understand the problem and to inform their ideas in the next phase
- Ideate: this phase consists of students brainstorming ideas without criticism or inhibition. In this phase, the focus is on generating lots of ideas with an emphasis on creativity and enjoying the process.
- Prototype: in this phase students create quick prototypes to investigate ideas generated during the ideation phase
- Test: students test their ideas in a repetitive fashion and determine which aspects of the design are effective and which could be improved.
The K12 Lab at StanfordThe K12 Lab network is a part of the Stanford University d.school and according to its website its mission is to "inspire and develop the creative confidence of educators and support edu innovators catalyzing new models for teaching and learning." The K12 Lab Network publishes a wiki with information on creating design challenges for K-12 schools. The wiki provides tools for thinking about design challenges as well as criteria for implementing design challenges.
The Design Thinking for Educators toolkitThe Design Thinking for Educators toolkit was developed in 2011 by the design firm IDEO in partnership with the PreK-12 independent school Riverdale Country School. The Design Thinking for Educators toolkit that is currently offered to the public for free download is the second version. The Design Thinking for Educators toolkit is a comprehensive resource for educators to use, which includes a "walk-through of the design thinking process complete with examples and a downloadable workbook". The toolkit has been used in academic research to aid in the creation of an "iPad learning Ecosystem". to help design a program to aid at-risk youth in the transition from elementary to secondary school, as well as to redesign libraries.
AIGAAIGA has implemented a movement, DesignEd K12, to take designing thinking to schools. This movement is guided by volunteers and there is not a specific program to follow; instead volunteer designers introduce students to the design field and consequently, design thinking. DesignEd K12 intends to motivate students to use design thinking to solve problems; to create a network where designers, students, and educational professionals share best practices; to shape a recommended approach to teaching design; and to cultivate a passion for design among young people. Across the nation, many of AIGA's chapters are working with school districts. The programs range in scope; some mentor students who have shown an interest in design, while other programs offer students the opportunity to explore design and participate in design thinking projects within scheduled classed or through an after-school activity.