Saturday, March 22, 2014

Design Thinking

Design Thinking / Investigative Learning / Creative Confidence - these are ways of incorporating human behavior into design and thinking. Design thinking was coined by David Kelley. 

David Kelley is an American businessman, entrepreneur, designer, engineer, and teacher. He is founder, chairman, and managing partner of the design firm IDEO and a professor at Stanford University with the "D" school. He problem solves by bringing people from all backgrounds and fields together (Anthropologists, Medical Doctors, Engineers, Businessmen, etc.) and by using empathy towards the consumer, they solve problems for companies. For example, remodeling school furniture. His people observed students to see what they needed and they revamped the school desk by combining empathy with art and with engineering. On IDEO's webpage is a link to David Kelley on 60 Minutes

IDEO  is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. Also on IDEO's webpage is David Kelley in a TED video

David Kelley and IDEO are helping the Henry Ford Learning Institute restructure its curriculum to integrate innovation and creativity in addition to its traditional academics. They are also working with Ormondale Elementary School in reimagining teaching for 21st century students. 

I really like and agree with David Kelley and his design thinking approach to education. One reason is using empathy to problem solve. By putting ourselves in other's shoes we can relate to the problems of others and when a solution is offered I think it would be received better because you took the time to understand the problem from someone else's viewpoint and not just a band-aid type solution. Another reason is if we want our students to be prepared for the workforce as teachers we need to help prepare our students and integrating curiosity and creativity and innovation while being able to work with a group will be important. It's important for jobs now and it will be more so when our students enter the workforce.

I am proud to say that in Fort Worth ISD where I work we have programs of choice at every middle and high school. Students can attend any middle or high school they desire and participate in any program of choice. When thinking of design thinking I think of William James Middle School and their program of choice - The College Readiness Academy. They have a state-of-theart engineering center for problem-based engineering studies. Students work with engineering principles and designs, construct prototypes, and explore with gadgets and test materials. Students are challenged to develop solutions to open-ended problems that develop out-of-the-box thinking. Some of the challenging electives include Robotics, Introduction to Engineering, Cultural Studies and Junior Cadet Core. 

We also offer schools of choice. Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center is an elementary school of choice. I think they are utilizing design thinking in their curriculum. The applied learning approach encourages children to be independent learners while working as members of a team to apply classroom learning to new situations. In addition to team work, an applied learning education emphasizes: communication skills, especially writing;  and awareness of positive complex behavior such as problem-solving. Applied Learning students work with businesses and organizations outside the classrooms to complete hands-on, real-world, child-centered projects within authentic learning situations. 

Design thinking and having creative confidence has influenced my thoughts on effective learning experiences for children. I would love to see design thinking incorporated into more classroom settings. David Kelley mentions Dr. Albert Bandura and his "guided mastery" of new confidence into self efficacy. I like this because the best way to gain confidence in your creative ability is through action, taking one step at a time, and through experiencing a series of small successes (David Kelley, chapter 8, Creative Confidence). I think this is so true when working with children. So many of my students had to gain confidence in themselves before they could even start learning.

Some questions I have are:
  1. Do you feel the same about design thinking? 
  2. Do you think it should be used more in classrooms?
  3. How would you incorporate this way of thinking and teaching into your classroom?
Here is a link to the Creative Confidence blog.  I really enjoyed learning about David Kelley and IDEO and design thinking and I hope to incorporate some of his ideas into my  teaching. Thanks, Cissy

"Few people think about it or are aware of it. But there is nothing made by human beings that does not involve a design decision somewhere."  Bill Moggridge