Design Thinking: New to the Classroom?

As we all know, buzzwords and education have a close relationship.  The evolution of education methods and movements to differentiating within the classroom is a road paved with buzzwords.  In the last 20 years, some classrooms have seen a revolution in the set-up, content, and learning environments they contain.

All of the buzzwords that we have worked with lately have been leading to a similar outcome. Project based learning, differentiated learning, inquiry, beginning with a big question and now design thinking are aimed at having students invest in their learning, developing interests and creativity and blending knowledge across curricular areas.

Knowledge is now more accessible than ever before in the history of the world and students are capable from a very early age of availing themselves of “the answers” 24 hours a day.  Current educators can take the opportunity to challenge students by pairing their acquired skills with further problem solving.

Through the last 20 years in the classroom, the movement toward creativity and design thinking has been a deliberate and worthwhile outcome of the digitally connected classroom.  Educators can now prepare students in the K-12 classroom to address authentic, real world challenges discussed in some post secondary settings. The experience of working through concrete problems gives students various ways to build on current foundation knowledge in a setting more like the work place.

Working with a group, discussing possible outcomes, revisiting prototypes, reworking failures gives students ways to express their strengths and to build on those skills that need work. Educators that build relationships with their students through creativity and experimentation establish deep learning memories that stay with students much longer than any memorization of facts.

Did I include enough educational buzzwords for you? Just keep in mind that educators are following a pathway where all buzzwords lead to engaged, student invested learning opportunities. Inquiry learning leads to engagement as does design thinking and maker learning.  Students who experience learning, rather than read or memorize for testing, create a rich learning memory.

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