Welcome to Design Thinking: It’s Your Future

Utilizing Design Thinking skills will be important for your success in the future.

In order for you to experience this design thinking process, I want to challenge you as a class to enter the design thinking process and eventually design (brainstorm now) a prototype of a machine or instrument that registers classroom engagement and learning on an individual and group basis; could such a machine or instrument register things about and for the teacher, too? While I can access my weather station in my backyard and know the current readings for temperature, wind direction, humidity, this machine also calculates future weather conditions. Can this class design an engagement machine/instrument register engagement on an individual and group basis? What gestures, signs, moods, verbal and nonverbal communications inform such a machine? Launch your imagination and begin!

Again, we’re at the opening stages of Design Thinking. We’ll stretch this process out for a while, and now give you some traits about what Design Thinking looks like in our culture. One thing that is recently in the news is the Cancer Moonshot thinking idea of curing cancer. http://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative

So, holding off on design thinking definition, I want to share traits of designers that I learned from Don Buckley this summer at a CAIS Conference on Design Thinking. You can find more at my Twitter on that day as well as the #CAISCT on August 22nd.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Below are some qualities about designers and great designed projects.

  • Observation skills
  • Asking probing questions (Theory that if you ask why five times, one can solve any problem)
  • Networking: also interact with people with different backgrounds, points of view.
  • Experimenting: consciously complicating life by trying new things, ways, etc.
  • Making associations across seemingly unrelated questions, problems or ideas.

Innovation is the ability to see the opportunity. And exercising the opportunity to change mindsets.

Must have idea moments first; also think the impossible. Let’s celebrate blue sky moments here and be more aware of engagement in the classroom!

Who is your favorite designer? What is your favorite design?

And now let’s get into our first Design Thinking; here are some more details on that!  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1jyC6cg0_XQp5Te5TfWMFZF6uLvavESURcNkRsnItHOg/edit?usp=sharing

Here are images of your great results! Note how expansive and creative your thinking is on these pages. You really considered the many aspects of individual and group engagement.


Now that we experienced a few stages in the Design Thinking process, let also appreciate how much we realized about the complexities of classroom engagement. I have now sent each class a Google Form with the following evaluation questions. If you have a suggestion for another question, please comment below or email me.

Engagement Evaluation.

Describe your classroom engagement during the first two weeks of class. You can list four adjectives and explain them or create a few sentences.

Did thinking about designing an engagement machine/instrument provide you with another perspective or way of thinking about your engagement or the class’ overall engagement? Whichever way you respond, please explain your response.

Given that “Design Thinking” is a process or procedure (quiet brainstorming, nonverbal synthesizing of ideas; verbal synthesizing, making and pitching a prototype, etc) for a group to work together and work on complex problems or ideas in a systematic way, what in your takeaway (what key idea did you learn) from that experience?

Can you think of a group you are involved with that may benefit from this deliberate process?

Were there times during process that privilege your learning style? Were there times that challenged your learning style? How would you describe your learning style?

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About bsullivan35

I am an English teacher working with great students at an independent school in Ct.
This entry was posted in CAIS, Design Thinking, Professional Development. Bookmark the permalink.

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