Monday, January 16, 2017

Designing Workshops Using Design Thinking

This past week has been incredibly busy in the Doucette Library with loads of teaching.

The workshop in high demand is Introduction to Design Thinking.

The workshop, as the title suggests, is an introduction for undergraduate students, giving them the  opportunity to learn the process and vocabulary associated with design thinking by working through two examples. One example we show is the IDEO group designing a new shopping cart (click here to see the video we’re using)  and the other is the work that my colleague, Paula and I did to construct this very workshop using the design thinking process.

It’s very interesting to see what the uptake is with students and the differences between those students looking to become elementary school teachers and those headed towards junior high and senior high schools.

If you’re keen to learn more about what’s happening in these workshop then you MUST go to Paula’s blog, Doucette Ed Tech where we are documenting our work on a daily basis.  Because one of the premises of the workshop is using it as a PROTOTYPE and having students go through the last step of this process – TESTING and FEEDBACK – giving us feedback about the workshop, we often make modifications as we go along. So, if the students seem to consistently struggle with one of the activities, we try to improve our instructions or tinker with the format. Time has been a big issue for us since the earliest stages of planning as 80 minutes isn’t really enough time to have students work through all five steps:


in a meaningful way while they’re still coming to understand the very basics of the process. This means we’re very conscious about the length of each section and activity and have moved away from barking out how long they have to do something to let the activities unfold and deciding as we go how long something should be. We do have to keep an eye on the clock but this is working for us much better.

If you’re looking for a great introductory resource for yourself or to use with kids, I strongly recommend Design Thinking by Kiristin Frontichiaro. This very short book walks you through the steps using a scenario of helping a girl confined to a wheelchair use her school elevator more easily. She has difficulties reaching the buttons. This book is easily accessible and the concrete example works well.

Remember to stop by Paula’s blog, Doucette Ed Tech to follow along with us.


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