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2 Minute Summary: Ways Design Can Help Educators Create Change

Welcome to your two minute summary of Ways Design Can Help Educators Create Change published by IDEO, a global design company comprised of designers, engineers, teachers, researchers, and more. This article was inspired by IDEO's Creative Confidence Series chat with Sandy Speicher, Managing Director of IDEO's education practice.

Think design methods are just for designers? Guess again! According to Sandy Speicher from IDEO, using design thinking in education can be quite valuable. In fact, teachers can apply design thinking methods to bring impactful and positive changes to their schools.


If you're not familiar with the term design thinking, know that it's a process for creative problem solving with a focus on the users you're creating solutions for. Learn more about design thinking here.


It takes a village.

For the last decade, Speicher has been focusing on how design can help to improve education. Coming up with solutions for education challenges is a hefty task and teachers shouldn't have to innovate alone. Parents, children, the government, and even businesses also play a role in helping to shape education and should all be included in finding solutions and creating change. To get involved in solving education challenges, Speicher suggests that adults should experience what school is really like for children.


But how?

Speicher goes on to highlight one helpful activity - shadowing a student. Administrators and members of the school community can take time to step into their students' shoes by following kids during their daily activities. Observers should then reflect on their discoveries and use this information to make real changes.


This shadowing activity allows people to view the world from a student's perspective and learn how kids are experiencing school. Observers can also find flaws whether it's with the curriculum, the physical spaces students interact with, or something else. Taking on a student's perspective can help school communities improve how they support kids.

Teachers shouldn't have to innovate alone.

How else can schools benefit from design thinking?

When design thinking principles are applied to education, Speicher claims that this application can help educators to:


1. Empower students to be creative problem solvers.

Teachers can show students how to use design thinking methods to approach their own work. In particular, students can use design thinking to identify real world problems and subsequently come up with original solutions.


2. Address problems in schools.

Design thinking can be used on a larger scale to help entire school systems. Speicher shares a story about a school system in Peru that used design thinking methodologies to integrate digital tools into their curriculum and also create a teacher resource center for sharing lesson plans.


3. Help design work cultures.

Finally, design thinking can also help to build networks so teachers can bring their resources and skills together. Rather than innovating alone, using design thinking principles to problem solve can create a more collaborative culture focused on knowledge sharing, experimenting, and trying new solutions.


Creating change doesn't have to be a major, life-altering disruption for teachers or students. Teachers can start small and still have a big impact. For instance, teachers can make small changes in their classrooms and include students in the problem solving process. The solution doesn't have to be perfect. According to Speicher, the important thing is to try and keep trying.


Check out the full article here. Happy innovating!