I want to do design thinking…

I want to do design thinking in my classroom…

How do I start?  What will it look like? 

A great desire to have to start the school year and two great questions to ponder.

Easy answers: start somewhere and it will look like a mess. 

Longer answers (in no particular order):  

  1. Start with empathy. Start with empathy + users. Start empathizing with your students when it comes to designing your classroom, your lesson plans, HW, assessments, classroom procedures, etc… Why don’t you run a challenge first? Imagine the first week engaging in individual needfinding with your students around what their time is like Mon-Fri from 3:30-7:30… I guarantee some compelling insights and patterns will emerge (next blog post will outline this DEEPdt challenge)
  2. Start where you are most comfortable: tackle a full on challenge and learn along the way or pick bits and pieces of the process and sprinkle until you become comfortable. 
  3. Start with a space or cultural type challenge: such as desk arrangements, classroom norms, procedures, collaborative habits, or something tangible, etc
  4. When in doubt, start with low-res prototyping HMW… Qs. HMW…create a way to organize our lockers? HMW… design a way to line up for lunch without creating a bottleneck at the door?  HMW… clean the lunchroom tables more easily and collaboratively?  HMW… redesign the outcome to ending of X story?  HMW… create a prototype that illustrates our summer holiday?  (again, baby steps till comfortability and laps are made not only for you but also for your students)
  5. Choose a design thinking process that will fit your students.  d.School, IDEO, Henry Ford, DEEPdt… Or create one that meets the needs of your Users like I did 🙂 The purpose of DEEP design thinking is it is designed for all ages of designers. The entry points of terminology for each mode of DEEPdt allows it to be accessible & versatile for all users. Why I am partial to DEEPdt is for its versatility, friendly feeling, and ability for educators to have the space to “deliver” their content throughout the process and especially in the Discover mode. 
  6. Start with 1 on 1 design thinking challenges… then move into small team design thinking challenges (no more than 3-4 per team).
  7. Assign a User per team to help facilitate, expedite, and control (loosely) the process.  Grabs some adults on campus, or find a teacher that is willing to share some of his/her students for 15-20 minutes… Users are everywhere (remember its not design thinking if the designers are not engaging with real “users”.
  8. Utilize the DEEPdt Challenge Mapper to help plot and plan out the DT challenge.  Keep in mind that unlike say a PBL where almost every moment is known throughout the process, dt is all about allowing for possibilities— trust the process and development of skills will occur tenfold. The Challenge Mapper asks the facilitator questions along the process to be mindful of as with DT, the pathway is dark, twisty, and uncertain yet the destination is always on target if the designers follow the User’s needs. 
  9. My class periods are short. I teach multiple classes. I can only fit design thinking into my instruction once in a blue moon. Or, I want to use it more frequently with more ‘efficiency, less headache, or “mess”… Well, here ya go The DEEPdt Rapid-Cycle Pocket Guide 
  10. I need a paper space to scratch notes, ideas, words.. Again, here ya go the DEEPdt Scratch Pad
  11. If you are unsure as to what design thinking challenge to tackle, take a look at “A Better Way”  Here you will find a live google doc with a variety of possible DT challenges.
  12. Don’t stress about wordsmithing the perfect How Might We… question to kick off your DT challenge. For one, starting with a HMW…? tends to already answer and severely narrow the design challenge for the designers.  Personally, I am all about the design topic- thus start with a discover point and let your designers go from there.  Here is more on my views about HMW…? HERE & HERE & HERE 
  13. Here are some heavy duty “lesson plans”  (Something to Hold) I developed for 1st Grade & 2nd Grade teachers.  I normally would not be so detailed nor heavy with materials yet I was trying to emphasize with the needs of my Users- teachers in need of some hand holding and time constraints to map it out for themselves.
  14. I need more things “to hold” That is understandable. My preferences are whiteboards, sharpies, and post-its.  It is what I had to utilize when I started learning the art/craft of design thinking over 7 years ago. Yet, for others, having a piece of paper helps relieve anxiety and possible shines a light on the process.  Here are some DEEPdt Learning Means.  By no means do I suggest you utilize them all during a challenge.  Their design is just like DEEPdt, use what you need and leave the rest. 

I will conclude this post with this last thought… You want to do design thinking in your classroom. Then start. Start with your students. Be the design thinker and design for your Users (you have LIVE subjects at your disposal). Empathize with them and test your prototypes with them daily. Always be open to refine, iterate, scrap and start over. A school day is just that a day. Each day you have the opportunity to try again… As always, I view everything as a prototype and expectations are that nothing has to be perfect…

Ok baby has awoken from his nap- I am sure there are typos and lots more I could add to this question of “Where do I start?”  I guess I’ll tackle this post again when the bambino stops cat napping- such a work in progress 🙂