Immersion, Inspiration and Real Outcomes

What if teachers learned DT and then used it to design curriculum?

Photo of Lisa Yokana
22 16

Written by

January 13, 2016

Evolved again... Had an amazing chat with Melanie at EdX who was thinking of this as an online PD course! I love this idea. What if, you could sign up for this course and do the DT challenge online: redesign the airplane seat experience? You could be paired with another person online and have to interview them via GHO. You could then go through the design cycle with prompts and share your 'pitch' via a video that you upload getting feedback through comments and even having people vote for their favorites. 

Then you could go through a whole design cycle with your own curriculum. What if there were a board where you posted what lesson or unit you were working on--integrating DT? You could search through the posts with tags that could narrow the lessons posted by subject, grade level, etc. What if, say, history teachers from across the country could share their ideas on a WWI lesson or unit and work together to incorporate DT? And then teachers could go back to their own classrooms with their prototype and teach the lesson, then reflect online about what worked and what didn't. What if teachers could use the course to reflect on their own practice as they begin to integrate DT? What if, you tried something and it didn't quite work, but you could put it out there as a question for the collective and get others' feedback and ideas they had tried? It could become an amazing place to collaborate on curriculum and support each other as teachers begin to use DT in their classrooms. What if the course became a collaborative repository for lessons that use DT? And what if there was also a piece about student reflection and engagement so that teachers/administrators could begin to gather proof that this approach works? What if part of the course was designing effective assessments for the projects? Again, it could become a collaborative venue and repository. 

I feel like this might have a pretty big impact. 

When I first began teaching AP Art History, there was an online list serve where teachers could post questions and ask other AP teachers for help and suggestions. This really helped me and I have always thought that there should be an online platform that could support all of us as we do this authentic work and integrate DT into our classrooms. It could allow all of us to connect and share across distance, disciplinary silos, time differences and schools. It could be a powerful platform and make real change. 

January 6, 2016!

From thinking and dreaming and talking to others, the following thoughts have emerged:

Top down work doesn't "take"--true change in thinking/teaching comes when teachers get inspired and have TIME to work together

The idea that we are all in this together and that teachers want to help their students and better equip them for the world is at the center of it all. If you start there, then it's hard for teachers to not get on board...

Inspiration works! Teachers (and students) get excited when they see the possibilities of DT in the classroom. Then add time and others ideas to the mix and you get some pretty great lessons!

Ultimately, I want to change education, one educator at a time. I think this is one way to get the movement started.... Open to all ideas and iterations! Please help!

December 22, 2015

Overview: (What’s this idea about):

Instead of top down PD, teachers want to identify their own needs to improve their practice. Reinventing their curriculum and teaching real skills to students through using DT is a concrete place to start. By practicing DT and then using it to redesign curriculum, teachers leave PD with a real lesson or unit to prototype in their classroom immediately! 

Potential Impact: (Why is this an idea that promotes continued growth?): 

You go through the DT process and use it to design curriculum. You leave with something real to try. You do the lesson in your classroom and see how well it works and how engaged your students are. Design Thinking then takes over your life and you redesign everything!

Value/Prop Pitch: (How would you pitch this to other teachers in your school? Your principal? Etc)

Learn DT in a hands on challenge based project and then use the methodology to work on your own curriculum. You will leave with concrete tools to teach 21st century skills.

How Do I Get This Idea Off The Ground:

Identify a place to prototype this PD, like a teachers' institute. Teach it once, then reiterate. I have led this course a number of times and it has led to DT taking off in our district K-12 with teachers adapting it to their level and subject area. 

How You Can Get Started:

Find a group of interested and open teachers. Pick a day to get together and rework curriculum. Have them come in with a lesson or unit that they want to tweak or redo. Then use the group to bounce ideas around. Start with 'This is what I'm thinking and this is what I am trying to do.' Work for a couple of hours. Then share again with the prompt: 'This is where I'm stuck. This is what I don't know.' Having people share out what they are thinking and where they are stuck allows for the collective to respond. You can use all the brain power in the room to help move others forward. Once you have a group of believers, the power of DT helps it spread! Students talk about their experiences. Parents get excited. Other teachers want to know what it's about!

Original Post:

December 8, 2015

I'd love to collaborate! Comment and add to our google doc.

Please contribute... the idea is evolving!

What if PD began with a Design Thinking exercise like 'redesign the airplane seat experience?' Then teachers heard from other teachers about how Design Thinking had been used in their classrooms to facilitate learning experiences for students-in other words examples that served as inspiration. Then teachers could use Design Thinking to reimagine their own curriculum in a collaborative environment. What if the How Might We's became how might we facilitate learning experiences for our students through which they would understand _______________? Teachers would identify the content or concepts that they want students to master and then work backwards to create a question or challenge through which students will experience this information in a hands-on, challenge based manner. What good is PD if it's not inspiring? What good is PD if nothing concrete emerges from it? What good is PD if you can't take what you learned back into your classroom and create better experiences for students? 

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Do you love this idea?

Yes! I love this idea. - 100%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lynnette Wilson

Hello Lisa and fellow like minds,
I have been involved in learning about DT and I love the potential it brings to changing a schools focus. However this was posted 2015 and I'm 2 years behind. The curriculum focus is of interest for PD to teachers whose mindset is fixed on achieving credits. Have you achieved your purpose in creating a collaborative DT online community?

View all comments