Design Thinking For Educators Toolkit

In my August 21 post about IDEO Design’s website Design Thinking For Educators I mentioned that you can download a FREE Design Thinking For Educators Toolkit.  Well, I decided to download and explore the toolkit.

This is a 94 page PDF document that describes the IDEO Design design process. The beginning of the document immediately points out that educator problems need not be solely content delivery problems.  Examples include:

  • Better ways to use classroom space
  • Ways to include students in educational space design
  • Ways to improve parent/teacher/school communication
  • Ways to attract teacher talent
  • Ways to improve communication among teachers

This is not simply a “teacher effectiveness improvement tool, but a school effectiveness improvement tool. This tool can improve creativity and innovation on a personal, classroom or school level — even a school- community level.

Its a five phase process that starts from defining the problem, identifying solution possibilities, selecting the “best” solutions, implementation and evaluating the results for continuous improvement.  IDEO Design specifically describes this from an educator’s/school’s perspective.

Here are the five phases as they describe them:

  1. Discovery: I have a challenge.  How do I approach it?
  2. Interpretation: I learned something. How do I interpret it?
  3. Ideation: I see an opportunity. What do I create?
  4. Experimentation: I have an idea. How do I build it?
  5. Evolution: I tried something new.  How do I evolve it?

The process is completely collaborative.  It cannot be implemented by a single teacher.  And the toolkit reminds educators that while the process looks straight forward, it can be challenging.  But the creative process is challenging.  It is iterative, and require using new brain muscles to grapple with unfamiliar ideas and skills to give birth to something innovative.  (Just like what we require of students.)

The document also includes case studies of educators experiences in using the toolkit.

Download the document, peruse it, then come back and tell us what you think.