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A lesson in “design thinking” for students

By Aislinn Malszecki, Digital Media Specialist, MindShare Learning
Follow on Twitter @MindShareYouth

The “design-thinking” process for education championed by IDEO and the d.school at Stanford are a method to problem-solving and improving the learning process from K-12 and especially in post-secondary. Students and lifelong learners who experiment with the design process are often the most inspired people I’ve met in my life.

A designers approach to the world can transform your learning into a lifelong practice. It’s about awareness, play, and action. This kind of thinking will help you transform the way you approach challenges in school and work – it’s about creating solutions for every step of your life. Design thinking truly gives you confidence in your creative talents and will help you develop an incredible ability to shape the world around you. It all centers around humans – thinking like a designer is basically understanding the motivations of yourself and the people around you. Talking with others to help critique and get feedback on your thinking. And pulling inspiration from your everyday world to execute on projects.

It’s all about learning by doing. And taking risks is the key ingredient. The challenge today is what Sir Ken Robinson repeatedly says to educators; the expectation for perfection – not making mistakes – in school seriously limits our creative abilities. He’s right, most creative projects are constantly “in progress” and that’s where it’s difficult to integrate design thinking into the curriculum. Meanwhile, design thinking has been mastered by innovators and entrepreneurs for decades in business, science, technology, and culture outside of the classroom.

As students and learners we design all the time, through projects, homework, social interactions, experiences, events, sports. Equipping yourself with the methods and process of design thinking will allow you to hone your creative skills and approach challenges differently. Discover more about yourself and help boost your confidence in every element of your life.

Methods for design thinking:

- Define the challenge and gather inspiration / generate ideas
- Use 2D and 3D tools to demonstrate solutions and new ideas
- Teamwork: observe, listen, and have multiple conversations and feedback to build an idea
- Build a story
- Experiment and ask “why” at every stage
- Frame it and take action on that idea

The principles for design thinking: Ideation, Interpretation, Inspiration, Experiment, Discovery, Technology, Collaboration, Communication, Experiential, Writing/drawing

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