Comments (12)

Comment RSS
Assoc. Director of Curric. and Instruction at Henry Ford Learning Institute

Thanks for another great

Was this helpful?

Thanks for another great article, Suzie!

There are a number of organizations now leading Design Thinking workshops for teachers, and I wanted chime in to say that the Henry Ford Learning Institute is again offering our Design Thinking workshops for educators this summer (like the one Suzie refers to in the article she links to above). The 3-day workshop provides an in-depth, experiential introduction to Design Thinking and how it can be used to engage students in challenging projects that foster innovation and creative confidence. Facilitated by staff from HFLI and teachers from our network of Henry Ford Academies, the workshops provide access to curriculum materials and supported planning time to usnre educators can implement what they've learned when they return to their own schools in the fall.

More info can be found at:

Here are some of the things participants in last year's workshops had to say about their experience:

"I would highly recommend this event to anyone serious about Design Thinking."
"I feel like I can truly teach the design process to my students and help them apply it to life."
"I now see through a Design Thinking eye and it leaves me in awe."

Educator, Atlanta, GA

Mount Vernon Center for Design Thinking Coordinator

Was this helpful?

Mount Vernon, an innovative independent school in Atlanta, Georgia launched the Center for Design Thinking in 2010. Inspired and modeled after the Stanford approach, our students identify real world issues, collaborate through research, test their results and produce prototypes to impact the world. Our students' first design thinking challenge focused on how might we create a classroom to better support 21st century learning. Today it is called the lab and it has become our innovation hub within the Lower School. Here a link to our i.Design Lab picture blog to see more DEEP design thinking demonstrations. Gradually we have implemented design thinking within the middle and upper schools, and last summer several of our teachers participated in Stanford's d school summer bootcamp experience.
In the spring of 2012, we hosted our inaugural Design Thinking Summit. Sponsored by Turner Entertainment Networks, teachers from Atlanta's public and private school communities participated in this sold out event. Many notable experts in the field of design thinking shared their experiences. Some of the headliners were Kim Saxe, The Director of the Innovation Lab at the Nueva School, Chris Kasabach the Chair of K*lab, conceived and started at Harvard Kennedy School, and Leonard Medlock, an associate editor with EdSurge and co-founder of Inner City Educational technologies.

This summer in June we're hosting //fuse, a 2-day conference orchestrated by our School and Leading is Learning, a laboratory for adaptive leadership based in Seattle, Washington--led by none other than Greg Bamford, the very one Susie Boss features in her article above. At //fuse participants will participate in a design thinking process over two days-- gaining firsthand experience with the core processes at the heart of creative collaboration.

//fuse if for anyone interested in the future of education. Teachers, students, and members of the educational community are welcome to participate and experience //fuse. For more information and details:

Journalist and PBL advocate

Great Examples

Was this helpful?

Eric, John, and Matthew,
Thanks so much for sharing examples of how you're using design thinking in diverse settings and content areas. Once students and teachers learn this process, they can apply it to an almost infinite range of problems.

Middle School Technology/Design Facilitator (Teacher)

Was this helpful?

I wrote my thesis paper last summer about design thinking and design education in k-12 last year, inpired by the work of David Kelly, Sam Mockbee, Emily Pilloton and many others. I have been developing a human centered design build curriculum for my middle school students over the past few years. Last year I had my students’ practice design thinking and humanitarian architecture to re-imagine the derelict New York State Pavilion from the 1964-65 worlds fair
This year we are designing and building parklets to expand pedestrian spaces for the front of our building.
It is an authentic and engaging educational experience.

Academic Dean, Science Teacher, Concord Academy

What a wonderful experience

Was this helpful?

What a wonderful experience for students! This is exactly what our schools should be doing more.

A colleague and I taught an interdisciplinary class last spring on the environmental history of Boston. We had the students design a walking tour, and used the Freedom Trail and the Public Garden audio tour as models. Authors of historical monographs worked with the class, as did a former Boston Redevelopment Authority Director. The students created a ten-stop walking tour based on the city's history of land use and land creation. Great fun involving close collaboration with a colleague, excellent student teamwork, and authentic engagement with a great city.

Director, Leading is Learning

Awesome building this course.

Was this helpful?

I've been blown away by the response to this article - thanks, Suzie, for visiting! It was fun to help create and lead this course along w/ Chad and Catlin Gabel School.

For me, part of this story is how we build capacity in our schools around new practices like design thinking. This story started when Chad attended our five-day training, Leadership+Design Summer. After he got that hands-on experience, we helped him design this course at his school - training another four teachers along the way. As you can tell from the article, now he's good to go and continue momentum independently.

Our 2013 Leadership+Design Summer is still accepting educators to participate - it's a 9-day hands-on training, and we work with you during the following year to implement in your school. (Just like we did with Chad.)

I'm hoping this article will inspire others to follow Chad's lead and participate in professional development that's different: hands-on and long-term.

Program Coordinator

Studio H, a design/build

Was this helpful?

Studio H, a design/build program which got its start in North Carolina, and now calls Berkeley, California home, celebrated its premiere this weekend of the documentary film, "If You Build It", at the Full Frame Film Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina.

From the Full Frame film festival website:

If You Build It: "Designers Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller bring their radical and innovative educational program to Bertie County, North Carolina, transforming people and place over the course of a turbulent and inspiring year. Each season brings a new set of challenges, both prescribed and unexpected, and the resourceful instructors (and their industrious students) must apply the principles of their curriculum—design, build, transform—to their lives as well as to their projects. Earnest, determined, and rousing, the film and its subjects, raise questions of self-reliance, citizenship, and community-building in its most literal interpretation."

Read more about how by empowering students with design thinking can impact a community:

Technolgy and Engineering Educator and Dept. Chair from West Chester, PA

Technology and Engineering

Was this helpful?

Technology and Engineering Educators have been using this approach to teaching for decades. We teach the "T & E" in STEM via the engineering design process. Check out this site for more information:
The unfortunate thing is that in most school districts, technology and engineering education is not a core course, but rather an extra subject that students generally only have for a very brief period of time, if at all. Our society needs to make it a core subject in all schools so that all students become technologically literate!

Lead Teacher of Project-Based Learning and Design Thinking in Columbia, SC

Thanks Suzie for highlighting

Was this helpful?

Thanks Suzie for highlighting this unique experience. Greg does top notch work in the area of design thinking. We have been devoted to using design thinking as our fuel to drive PBL for a number of years now. We'd love to share our most recent endevour, which challenged students to repurpose discarded materials for community impact:

You can also find out more about our work with design thinking by visiting

Thanks again Suzie.

Student Experience Lab Director

How about students design for school?!

Was this helpful?

Great story. We've been using design-thinking and participatory design to give students the opportunity to re-think their own educational experiences. Much at the higher-ed level, but last year we applied it to the younger set.

We even put together a Student Designer How-To Kit so anyone can do it. PDF here:

I truly believe we need to do more to develop the capabilities of students to become innovators. And I know design can improve the quality of experience for students. More important though, students themselves should play an active role in education innovation. If we do that, we democratize our educational system.

see more see less