As more and more schools realize that creativity and problem solving are essential skills, we face a dilemma—how do we manage organize curriculum in ways that do both? One possibility is using design thinking to organize curriculum. And some schools are doing just that.
For example, Vista Design and Innovation Academy, a magnet middle school, has as their theme:
To nourish the creative thinking skills of students and approach learning through the well renowned Design Thinking process that will empower students to take what they have learned and apply those skills to create non-traditional solutions to yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s problems.
They use design thinking to organize curriculum through challenges and problem solving. Here, principal Eric Chagala describes the use of design thinking at Vista.
Design thinking in curriculum does not replace traditional content or standards, it provides a structure that allows students to learn content in meaningful ways. For example, the Henry Ford Learning Institute, structures middle and high school curriculum around quarterly design challenges. I’m anxious to learn how their elementary curriculum develops. In the meantime, here’s a chance to see some of their older students in action.
Finally, if you’d really like to be inspired, see what happens when design thinking enters the world of a large homeless shelter.
If you’d like to see more examples of design thinking in schools in different parts of the world, this listing from Design Thinking in Schools may be interesting. Follow the links to a few schools’ websites, and see what you find. In the next post, I’ll share resources for getting started, and for using design thinking as educators facing all manner of challenges.