How Design Thinking Became a Buzzword at School

January 18, 2017

This article discusses the lack of clarity around the concept of design thinking. Confusion around the topic is not surprising as design thinking encompasses a wide array of mindsets and philosophies. For this piece, the author interviewed Neil Stevenson, the executive portfolio director at IDEO Chicago, one of the best-known organizations dedicated to design thinking. The article outlines his definition and notes that whether students are designing a project or teachers are designing an effective classroom layout or curriculum unit, design thinking begins with empathy, as one tries to meet the needs of the end users. Next, many ideas must be researched, generated, and prototyped, before a final solution is selected and refined. Thus failure is a major part of the process, and students using design thinking must learn to be comfortable with it–a lesson that will serve them well in their future academic, work, and personal lives. Lastly, the author warns that while using a design thinking approach effectively can teach students to be creative problem-solvers, when it is applied without proper understanding it may simply be a waste of classroom time.

This article provides a reminder to all educators and others in the field of education reform to consider the nuances of any popular trend in education, including “grit” and “mindset” in addition to “design thinking,” and to shy away from oversimplified definitions which can lead to disappointing results.

Source Organization: The Atlantic

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