Five Things to Know about Design Thinking

Design thinking is a pretty hot topic for teachers and for schools. I've invested the last five years learning design and I'm fortunate that my learning process was greatly accelerated by working with great designers for two years at The Third Teacher+.  So I've learned a few things over that time about design - here are five key points to consider:

1. Design takes time and practice to learn. You don't learn design in a single-day workshop. It takes time and practice. Design is a different thing and most likely represents a way of thinking and acting that is much different from what you do now. Immerse yourself in it, visit design shops, and learn from people who do it daily.

2. Design is a process intended to provide pathways for changing what you do. Don't make this another thing to integrate into your current condition and experience. Use the process to rethinkwhat you do. Don't integrate, retrofit, or try to assimilate the design process into your existing culture. Use it to reshape your culture and how you approach the education of kids.  

3. There are better ways to teach cell division and the War of 1812. Yes there are. And you're probably doing them. Use design to address organizational change or to engage kids in provocations and challenges that seek to improve the conditions of human beings. Use design thinking in a big way.  Big picture and bold.

4. Employing design requires going beyond soft and easy targets. Immerse your kids in complex experiences that have depth and richness. The design process will help them process and makes sense of things and put them into a position to craft and create products that matter. See #3 above.

5. The goal of learning design thinking is the development of a lens that fuels a design mind. Design can be a way to see the world. It's how you approach challenges to see how they can become opportunities. It's about ideas, about being freed of constraints, it's about a mindset that favors bold ideas, where prototyping solutions, testing, evaluating, iterating and developing solutions that meet big challenges are required. Sign yourself up for that...

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