Does Design Thinking Work For Students?

Over the last couple of years there has been an explosion of teachers talking about Design Thinking. Previously unheard of, it is now fairly commonplace to hear the term used in online conversations and at education conferences. For my eFellowship research this year, I investigated whether the student experience of Design Thinking matched up to why teachers were implementing this approach in their classes.

Over the last 2 years I have read about Design Thinking, applied it to creating structures for our new school and then used a teaching approach within my classes. It has felt like a more powerful version of inquiry through it’s focus on developing empathy, students iterating their understanding and then having to use their knowledge rather than just remembering information. Many of the teachers starting to use Design Thinking in New Zealand, Australia and the US have experienced a similar feeling or hunch of Design Thinking’s effectiveness. As a relatively new approach to teaching there has been very little research done on how effective it is as a practice.

The hunch of many is that Design Thinking is effective, but is it actually working for our students? source: Wikipedia

I set out to see whether this hunch of effectiveness was actually right. Whether the teacher aims for starting to use Design Thinking are matching how the students actually experience it in class. Continue reading

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A Key to Great PD?

This year I was privileged to be one of Core Education’s eFellows. This eFellowship would have to be one of the greatest professional learning experiences that I have ever been a part of. I have had major brain hurt, had my views challenged, laughed until it hurt and made some brilliant friends along the way.

The 2015 eFellows

The 2015 eFellows

We had an initial hui in Auckland to plan our inquiries and have those plans challenged; then met in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland again spread out over Terms 1-3. Each time we met up there were sessions on our specific inquiries to help them move along.

Aside from this though, were other great experiences.  Continue reading

How will I inquire into Design Thinking?

A while ago I shared my thinking behind why I was going to focus on Design Thinking for my eFellows inquiry (see this post here). This post is about sharing my methodology for this inquiry.

For those who don’t wish to go back and re-read my old post I have also included my aim so that you can see where this is coming from:

Aim

This research project aims to gather the student perspective in regards to Design Thinking. It will then provide a comparison with teacher aims and perspectives on using Design Thinking as a pedagogical approach. Continue reading

MLP not MLE

This week I have been in Christchurch as part of our efellows programme. Our time was split between working on our research; provocations from Core staff such as Keryn Davis  (on power of play and student questions) and Derek Wenmoth (returning to the why and sharing books that are at the core of his beliefs to get us thinking of our core beliefs); and getting the chance to visit some schools in the area.

The schools that we were privileged to visit were Breens Intermediate and Te Pa o Rakaihautu. There were 2 really key points that I took from these visits: 1) seeing what it looks like when a shared vision is in action and 2) what MLE can look like in traditional classrooms. What they showed together was that modern learning environments is a complete misnomer, it is about modern learning practices. Continue reading

Why inquire into Design Thinking for my eFellowship?

This year I am part of Core Education’s eFellowship program. The purpose of this scholarship is to “inspire transformational practice through inquiry.” For my inquiry I am looking to explore Design Thinking which, for those who read my blog or follow me on twitter, is something that I have been passionately using lately. This year for me is a chance to put a critical eye on its use.

At our first meeting of the year in late January, we got to explore the purpose of our inquiry and here is what I managed to generate:

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Through reflection on this, more reading and a skype session with Louise Taylor who is in charge of our research from Core Education, I have put together the following plan for my inquiry: Continue reading

A Buzzword Ban

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A couple of weeks ago I spent the 1st 2 days of my eFellowship at a retreat in West Auckland. To ensure we properly explained ourselves as we discussed inquiry ideas for the year we had a ban put on the use of edu-buzzwords.

We collated a list of commonly used buzzwords in education and were given 8 poker tokens. Each time we said one of the terms we had to pay a token into the “Swear Jar”.

It was an entertaining addition to the 2 days but also played a big part in ensuring we explained what we really meant and didn’t rely on jargon. Continue reading

2015 Was A Great Year

Creative Commons image sourced from: http://pixabay.com/en/sylvester-2015-fireworks-435376/

Creative Commons image sourced from: http://pixabay.com/en/sylvester-2015-fireworks-435376/

An ex-Principal of mine (Prue Kelly at Wellington High School) used to start the 1st Teacher Only Day of the year saying that it had been a great year. By setting that expectation from the start we just had the ‘simple’ task of proving her right. I am facing a year looking completely full of awesome (yes in the true sense of the word: reverence, fear et al) challenges: Continue reading