Design thinking can build creativity and empathy in any classroom
- Design thinking isn’t just for “techies,” but can be implemented in elementary school classrooms and beyond, Laura Guevara, a former teacher and coordinator of EdTech for Escuela for Bilingüe Internacional, writes in an eSchool News article.
- Rather than being technically oriented, design thinking is an empathy-driven “social-scientific approach to solving human-centered problems," Guevara writes.
- Design thinking includes five steps which can foster creative thinking and drive inquiry: empathize, define, create a prototype and test. This process can be applied to a wide range of problems presented to students who then collaboratively seek solutions that require research and hands-on activities.
Since the concept of design thinking is often associated with the d.School at Stanford University, which is described by this author as the “epicenter of design thinking,” some educators might view the approach as one that is more suited to people that design apps or other technology. However, design thinking actually allows students a way to apply the 4Cs —collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication—to a very specific problem, and supports many of the social-emotional learning skills schools are hoping to teach.
Design thinking has become a buzzword in education, even though many educators are still vague about its meaning. Entire schools are now being built around the concept and design thinking is gaining popularity as a way to encourage innovation in schools. Design thinking also provides an innovative approach to the thinking process. As Makerspace for Education describes it, “This thinking process is the true evidence of creativity, application and problem solving, using what the child already knows and giving them a reason to learn more. This design thinking is a methodology that will encourage the solving of complex problems through ideation and iteration.”
For school administrators and teachers who are looking for resources that can explain design thinking, help is available. Stanford University offers a 90-minute Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking. There is also a Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators available that offers valuable help. These resources and others can help support professional development session as the new school year begins.
- eSchool News Why design thinking isn’t just for techies