Building a Skill Set

During my internship, I learned that many in the industry use the Design Thinking process to develop new products.  As a result, I decided that I wanted to teach my students how to use Design Thinking to complete a challenge.  There are certain skills that will help students to be successful during this process.  My goal is to slowly incorporate each of these skills into various lessons so that when we reach the design challenge, students will be confidant in how to use design thinking.  At this point in the school year, I have been incorporating two skills.  These two skills are building empathy and ideation.  Students need the ability to empathize with those that they are designing a solution for.  To familiarize students with developing empathy I have incorporated short video clips into lessons about problems such as access to clean water and food deserts.  Once students understand empathy, it is easier to define the problem.  Once you know the problem, you can design a solution.  Ideation is the process where students brainstorm solutions, there are no bad ideas.  Students have gotten a lot of practice with ideation.  Over the course of the semester, students have been working in teams to improve the sustainability of an assigned city.  With each unit, the team ideates solutions that are tailored to their city.  Topics such as green spaces, community gardens, biodiversity, and urban agriculture have been covered.

I have greatly enjoyed folding in this new way of thinking into my lessons.  I feel that using the skills that are involved in design thinking have helped make the activities more impactful for the students.