Spring Break: Thursday

Today’s blog topic is Design Thinking. I am very inspired by the concept and feel as though it is something I have used for years without calling it by its proper title. Yesterday I was following Ryan Burke on twitter (@RyanmBurke) as he facilitates a fascinating design thinking style project on the west coast called Leading is Learning (@leadlearnlab or #kivapw). Ryan will be our new Middle School head for the 2013-2014 school year. You can read more about what he does at his current school on his blog.


If you are interested in learning more about Design Thinking start with the Educator’s Toolkit. It starts by asking how we can redesign our classrooms to better meet the needs of our students. Which leads me to the Edutopia article that I read and tweeted about this morning. It’s called “How to Make Your Classroom a Thinking Space.” It shares images from Google workspaces and High Tech High in San Diego, CA. The article stresses how the success of Project Based Learning can rely heavily on classroom design. My favorite suggestion is super affordable and I can’t wait to set it up in my room:

Video booth. Turn an empty refrigerator box into a three-sided video booth to capture student reflections. In one class, students created posters on the interior walls that evoke the themes of each project. You might set up lighting and a video camera on a tripod, or just arrange for video capture through a webcam.

From there I did further research on Project Based Learning to find this wonderful checklist from BIE.org (found here in PDF format PBL Essential_Elements Checklist.pdand the Project_Design_Rubric.pdf)

Lastly, I did a bit more looking at some Design Thinking practices on Tim Brown’s blog IDEO (more on his site http://labs.ideo.com/). I remember the first time I watched a Tim Brown TED Talk on Creativity and Play in grad school. The word empathy kept appearing as I scrolled through the IDEO blog I saw this video and was completely moved. You never know what the person across from you in the elevator is going through.

In order to successfully design or redesign a product or project it is crucial to put yourself in that person’s shoes. I really like this visual from Stanford showing the process of Design Thinking.

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