Design Thinking Comes To Independent Schools – Independent Schools, Common Perspectives – Education Week

March 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/independent_schools/2013/03/design_thinking_the_next_big_thing_in_independent_schools.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW

NuVu turned out to be riding the crest of the zeitgeist. “Design thinking”–a more common way to describe the meta process behind NuVu’s studio method (and a term resisted by the architects of NuVu)–has been sweeping through the independent school community, fostered by the evangelism of professional designers like Harry West of Continuum, Tim Brown of IDEO, andDavid Kelley of IDEO and the “d.school” at Stanford. In the fall of 2011 I began researching an article on the trend for the independent school press (the piece has hotlinked references); at the National Association of Independent Schools 2012 and 2013 annual conferences there were a total of eleven S.R.O. sessions with about design thinking. Also filled up have been the last few summer institutes at the Nueva School in the heart of Silicon Valley, a prime spawning ground for other schools’ design thinking initiatives. Last August teachers from all sectors signed up for a MOOC offered by Edutopia, IDEO, and Riverdale Country School in New York.

Design thinking is essentially problem- and project-based. Although you could pretty easily embed most of the Common Core in a design-thinking-intensive curriculum, you might have to squint to see the details. But the way of thinking that the method promotes (and I’ve seen it: more appreciative of multiple perspectives, more free to challenge and ask “what if?”, more comfortable with failure and the need to go back to the drawing board) is something beyond “standards.” Kids still need to know facts, skills, and concepts to apply it well, but they need also to develop a different–some say more empathetic, but I’m not sure that covers it–approach to the world.

Design thinking’s appeal, I think, is that it promises to combine an innovative approach to every aspect of curriculum and pedagogy with authenticity of challenge and opportunities for students to engage with their communities. Design thinking dovetails neatly with STEM goals and unites the various precepts of “21st-century learning” with relevance and the fostering of creativity; it’s also a perfect fit with the “maker” movement. (Gather some colleagues and learn more through this 90-minute “crash course” from Stanford’s d.school. NuVu also offers summer professional development.)

Text courtesy of @pgow and @educationweek

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