An Example of Design Thinking and How it Can Be Used In the Classroom

The estimated reading time for this post is 2 minutes

design thinking poster

Picture from Eduwells.com

Design Thinking can be used as an activity to brainstorm creative ideas and approaches to problems.  It can be used for a wide range of problems including those students want to solve in the community, their school etc.  In fact, here is an example of how Design Thinking was used at Toronto High School, to rethink urban spaces.

A week ago, I wrote about our visit to Godinez High School and how we used video to capture student interactions in a Geometry class on the first day of school.  Yesterday, we used the design thinking approach to brainstorm ideas about how to integrate the social engagement  we saw into an online course.

We used this Activity Card to guide us through the process, which was created for students to use in the classroom to guide them through a design challenge.  This could be used in the classroom in a number of ways.  For design project ideas and challenges, click here.

I will use our design challenge from yesterday to outline the process.  It is important to note that in the brainstorming phase, no idea is too big, and all ideas are encouraged, rather than dismissed.

Step 1: LOOK FOR ANALOGIES

For 5 minutes, we looked for analogies in the world that are similar to the social interaction we saw in the classroom.  In the class we saw students interacting to figure things out,  so we brainstormed situations in the world where people figure things out together.  

  • One analogy to people making choices together was people figuring out where they want to go for dinner

Step 2:  IDEATE USING STICKY NOTES

For 5 minutes, we thought of ways to incorporate these social experiences into the classroom, and put them on chart paper with stickies

  • One idea to bring making choices into the class, is interactive polling

Step 3: BUILD ON OTHER’S IDEAS

 For this we added on to other ideas with new stickies.

  • An idea that was added to interactive polling was students voting to choose their path 

Step 4: ANALYZE AND ORGANIZE

In this step, we organized our ideas into similar clusters, and labeled them

Step 5: RAPID PROTOTYPE

I chose a cluster of ideas that I am most interested in pursuing, and created a rough sketch of how to actually make it into a usable lesson with the elements of social interaction seen in the class visit.

Steps 1-5 can be used in the classroom for 25-45 minutes to help them to use design thinking to brainstorm and come up with a prototype to  solve various problems that they are interested in.

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