Integrated Design Thinking

Teachers come to our introductory workshops wondering about design thinking. What is it? What are the instructional strategies? What do my students learn from doing design thinking? What’s it like to teach?

And when they leave, they often bring design thinking home to their schools by running a short design project with their students. Or they might run a rapid cycle challenge with staff. To the question “How do I bring design thinking to my school” the answer seems to be “By running design projects!”

But we also work with schools who have run student-facing design projects for a number of years, and they wonder what happens next. How might we integrate design thinking with our classes and curriculum?

One of these schools is Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland, CA. Urban’s design thinking practice has evolved every year since they opened in 2013. Over the summer, Urban’s design thinking leadership team worked to integrate their instructional units across design thinking projects, mindsets and activities. To help onboard staff to their design thinking framework for 2016-2017, we coached a half-day session on August 19th.

Head over to the wiki to see the resources we built. The Changemaker Challenge integrates Urban’s age-appropriate language for understanding design thinking with the rapid cycle challenge linked above. In this 90-minute activity, teachers and staff re-designed the school lunch experience for a user and created prototypes to help improve their users’ experience. We’ll continue to add more resources on integrated design thinking as we support schools throughout the year.