DesignThinking for Educators Version One | April 2011
This toolkit can help you This toolkit offers you new create solutions for every- ways to be intentional and day challenges. collaborative when you are designing. It hones your It equips you with the pro- skills and empowers you to cess and methods of design. create desirable solutions. Businesses, social entrepre- neurs and other innovators This is an invitation toThis is a have used them for decades to create solutions for many different types of challenges. experiment with the design process. Let it inspire you to approach challenges differ-Toolkit. In this toolkit, these methods are adapted speciﬁcally for ently and experience how Design Thinking adds a newFor You. educators, because as an edu- perspective to your work. cator, you design every day. You design your classroom, you design curriculum, you design learning environments for your students, and you design experiences and inter- actions for your colleagues.Having a process that In some ways, I have Design Thinking has I used to be quick tobrings people together always had elements made me look at our impose restrictionsto create more and of Design Thinking in curriculum in a whole on myself. I couldbetter ideas has been the way that I have new way. Incorporating easily convince myselfvery valuable for us. worked and thought Design Thinking with why a project wouldn’t about schools, but I Grant Wiggins’ Under- work before ever giv-Karen, have had no real pro- standing by Design, ing it a chance. SinceLearning Specialist cess to validate some I can research deeper, I have been exposed of my ideas. I was come up with more to Design Thinking, looking for approaches ideas and prototype I have made a stron- that combined the lessons. I have also ger effort to explore logical rigor of study started to collect ideas. My students in a traditional dis- feedback as inspira- have become part of cipline with a more tion to come up with my research team. The open and creative new lessons or to feedback they provide approach to thinking. adapt a lesson plan has helped me create Design Thinking offers for the next time. lessons that are more a way of problem student-centered. solving that is more Michael, integrative of differ- 2nd Grade Teacher Patrick, ent modes of thought. 3rd Grade Teacher It validates some of the things that teach- ers already do, but also gives the oppor- tunity to revisit one’s practice. Dominic, Head of School
DT for Ed | Guide | p. 4 The design process is what It’s a deeply human approach puts Design Thinking into that relies on your ability action. It’s a structured to be intuitive, to interpret approach to generating and what you observe and to evolving ideas. Its ﬁve phases develop ideas that are emo- help navigate the develop- tionally meaningful to those ment from identifying a you are designing for—all design challenge to ﬁnding skills you are well versed inThe Design and building a solution. as an educator.ProcessPHASES DISCOVERY INTERPRETATION IDEATION EXPERIMENTATION EVOLUTIONI have a challenge. I learned something. I see an opportunity. I have an idea. I tried something new.How do I approach it? How do I interpret it? What do I create? How do I build it? How do I evolve it?Discovery builds a solid Interpretation transforms Ideation means generat- Experimentation brings Evolution is the develop-foundation for your ideas. your stories into mean- ing lots of ideas. Brain- your ideas to life. Building ment of your conceptCreating meaningful ingful insights. Observa- storming encourages you prototypes means making over time. It involves plan-solutions for students, par- tions, ﬁeld visits, or just a to think expansively ideas tangible, learning ning next steps, communi-ents, teachers, colleagues simple conversation can and without constraints. while building them, and cating the idea to peopleand administrators be great inspiration—but It’s often the wildest ideas sharing them with other who can help you realizebegins with a deep under- ﬁnding meaning in that that spark visionary people. Even with early it, and documenting thestanding for their needs. and turning it into action- thoughts. With careful and rough prototypes, process. Change oftenDiscovery means opening able opportunities for preparation and a clear you can receive a direct happens over time, andup to new opportunities, design is not an easy task. set of rules, a brainstorm response and learn how reminders of even subtleand getting inspired to It involves storytelling, session can yield hun- to further improve and signs of progress arecreate new ideas. With the as well as sorting and dreds of fresh ideas. reﬁne an idea. important.right preparation, this can condensing thoughts untilbe eye-opening and will you’ve found a compellinggive you a good under- point of view and clearstanding of your design direction for ideation.challenge.
DT for Ed | Guide | p. 5 The design process may The design process therefore seem very straightforward integrates various modes at ﬁrst glance, but there is of working: some steps are one important aspect to more reﬂective, others are understand: its real value hands-on, and some encour- lies in the mix of tangible age interactions with people problem solving and abstract outside of your team. To help thinking. The very concrete you know what to expect,One Thing observations of the ﬁrst phase are abstracted as you deﬁne themes and insights. the following indicators will guide you through the meth- ods in the Toolkit section:to Keep Only after you have devel- oped a sense of meaningin Mind and direction do you develop Hands-On tangible solutions. What may seem like a detour in Interaction idea development ultimately makes your solutions much This design process can be more meaningful. applied in many forms. The following pages contain a It requires taking a step back variety of examples of how to reﬂect, analyze, evaluate, it has been used to create think again and then evolve. new, relevant solutions in an This takes time—a scarce educational context. resource—and can be chal- lenging, as educators are used to solving problems on the spot in their classrooms. But there are no shortcuts.The more abstractsteps often feel The small, sometimes hidden,more intense, details often hold the keys tobut pay off in solving complex challenges.the long run.ABSTRACTCONCRETE DISCOVERY INTERPRETATION IDEATION EXPERIMENTATION EVOLUTION
DT for Ed | Guide | p. 8 They turned to Design teachers] and the players Thinking to develop a game [kids] had different needs and combined it with the and understood different Backwards Design method- things. But the game actually ology, which begins with had to meet all these needs the end goal in mind, to cre- simultaneously.” ate the educational content. Using Backwards Design, Since launching, Motion MathCase Study they were able to hone in on how they could assess students’ mastery of con- has been on the “Top 5” list of educational apps, was fea- tured in the Wall Street Jour-Motion Math cepts and work from there to help them get the concepts right. Using Design Thinking, nal, and won an Excellence in Design Award from Children’s Technology Review. Most they were able to create rewarding for Adauto and a game that was fun, engag- Klein was the fact that insti- ing and valued by parents, tutional school purchases teachers and students alike. have been very strong. “The most important part of Teachers have emailed them merging the two processes videos of kids playing their was iteration, being open to game in the classrooms, really listening to what people and students from preschool want,” observed Adauto. through community college are using the game to learn Adauto and Klein started math skills. The founders are the process by deﬁning a currently building on their challenge to create a game success and designing addi- that would address the tional educational games biggest stumbling block for to address other hurdles in elementary school kids. They elementary education. went out to talk to teachers.How might we When the founders of Motion Over and over, they heard Read more aboutdevelop games Math got together to think that fractions were a huge Motion Math at about how to use games pain point. Next, they looked motionmathgames.com.to tackle the to help kids learn, they knew that teaching math and for inspiration from the most popular games at the time,toughest learn- designing a product weren’t one of which had a bouncing device to move a charactering hurdles? the same thing. Both teach- ers who worked with ele- around a screen. From there, mentary-school-aged kids, the team started brainstorm- Gabriel Adauto and Jacob ing, and generated lots of Klein began their project with ideas for interactive games an understanding of both that could help kids learn what kids liked and what par- fractions. Many prototypes ents and teachers valued— and feedback sessions later, but they also recognized that Adauto and Klein launched their experience and intuition Motion Math. “We did lots alone weren’t enough to of feedback sessions with design a successful learning paper prototypes. The most product. valuable feedback session we had was with parents, teachers and kids all together. We saw how the groups inter- act, and it helped us realize that the payers [parents and
DT for Ed | Guide | p. 9 Enough theory—it’s time It’s Version One: this is not a to take action. The Toolkit ﬁnished piece, it’s a foundation. provides you with instructions The Toolkit will evolve and to explore Design Thinking change based on your feed- yourself. back. That’s why we want to hear from you. Please send us comments, stories, photos or movies of your experiencesThis is a Work using this toolkit to create new design solutions: DT_ed@ideo.comin Progress. toolkit, February- April 2011.InterpretationIdeationExperimentation