Design Thinking – Day 3

By: Tammy Flanders

We had four workshops today – two for secondary level students and two for elementary level.

It was great having an opportunity to work through the elementary scenario of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf a couple more times. There is definitely a marked difference in the tone of activity between the elementary and secondary students. Whereas the secondary students worked through a more real life example (helping an immigrant/ refugee settle in a new country which they took very seriously) the elementary student teachers were able to let their imaginations go and have some fun.

Paula and I still think there’s merit in having the secondary level students work through the fairy tale scenario just to introduce a bit of levity into the workshop and highlight that the work is about the application of the process not the specific scenario we’ve centered the task around. We just have to screw up our courage and try it out.

Paula and I, in reflecting on today’s teaching, have noted that we have added an element in the definition component of the design thinking process for the sake of clarity. If you read through the literature written about the design thinking process it never actually suggests coming up with a defining problem that will then be ideated. But we found that students struggled to get down to the ideating part, the part about coming up with ideas that look for possible results to help move forward with whatever problem they might be working on. Giving the students a couple of minutes to focus on an actual question or problem made the process a little more apparent.  They had something to ideate or focus on.

Another recommendation that has come up in several of the workshops for the secondary level student teachers is providing them with ‘character cards’, that give them an immigrant character to become when doing the interview with an aide worker.  Some students did get into the role playing and came up with characters who had children, who had never worked before, had specific job skills (ie. Doctor, engineer) they were looking to transfer, etc.  Other students felt like they didn’t know enough about immigrants to make up a character.  Paula and I have resisted this idea so far thinking that using the imagination was of value. We’ve since reconsidered and will make up a few characters that students will have the choice to assume or not.

Stay tuned for tomorrow – two more sessions.

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