Every Wednesday evening (9 PM Eastern; 6 PM Pacific) a group of creative, energetic, risk-taking educators gathers for #DTK12chat, a virtual meeting on Twitter about the role and use of design thinking (DT) in K12 education. The pace and quality of the discussion is outstanding, including many links to resources to help others use the valuable skills of design thinking in their teaching.
Last week a comment held my attention during, and well after the chat. Eric Juli, principal of the Cleveland inner city Innovation Design School said something to the effect that “it is really hard to employ empathy (a key step in design thinking) when your students may not understand what empathy is.” It occurred to me that we need to widen the circle “beyond the choir” and think about how we encourage a creative design approach to thinking for those, both teachers and students, to whom it is inaccessible for a range of reasons.
Our thought colleague Dr. Lee-Anne Gray was asked by chat host Mary Cantwell to help moderate this week’s chat. Over the weekend Lee-Anne and I exchanged ideas for the theme for this weeks’ chat. Here is part of the email Lee-Anne sent to Mary:
…the group is fairly homogenous and could benefit from widening membership. Using my clinician skills, I thought we might take a step back to examine ourselves as DT’ers, in order to identify the DT profile and promote it in others. This is also about thinking of those for whom DT is not immediately accessible. Why is that? How can we recognize it? What can we do to increase the use of DT and overcome obstacles where it is not taking root?
Topic: Preparing the Design Thinker (DT’r) for Design Thinking (DT)
Q1: How do you stimulate your own creativity in service of DT?
Q2: How do you stimulate creativity in Ss?
Q3: If you could DT anything, what would it be?
Q3: Can anyone use DT? Why/Why not?
Q4: Are their certain precursors or experiences needed to use DT effectively?
Q4: What qualities does a good DT’er possess, and how do you enhance those in your students and yourself?
Q5: Do you have to see yourself as creative to be an effective DT-er?
Q6: What authors/resources from outside mainstream DT world do you find particularly relevant to pursuing DT?
I recommend participating in this chat and sharing your ideas. Think about these questions in advance. How do we, as educators, widen the circle of application for design thinking? Join the chat and share your thoughts! You will connect with some very energetic, creative colleagues who will be a true addition to your PLN.
The bummer? I will be on an airplane tomorrow evening at chat time and won’t be able to participate, but will look forward to reading all the tweets, and possibly helping to summarize this meta-thinking.