Professional Learning

Week One: A Design Thinking Mini-Challenge

Learn the basics and get warmed up with a couple of simple design challenges.

June 12, 2012

What Is Design?

As educators, we are designing every single day -- whether it's finding new ways to teach content more effectively, using our classroom space differently, developing new approaches to connecting with parents, or creating new solutions for our schools. Outside of the classroom, schools across the world are facing countless challenges, from integrating technology to increasing parent involvement to managing daily schedules.

Week One Overview

  • Read the overview & watch the videos on this page.

  • Note: The Design Thinking for Educators collaboration space is no longer active, but please feel free to use the resources available here.

  • Download: The Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit -- a great resource we'll consult throughout the workshop.

  • Keep: An open mind

  • Have: FUN!

Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale -- the challenges facing educators today are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches.

Design Thinking is one of them. These method address complex challenges by encouraging practitioners to deeply consider the people they are designing for as the inspiration for developing new solutions.

Design Thinking is a Mindset

Thinking like a designer can transform the way you approach the world when imagining and creating new solutions for the future:
- being more aware of the world around you,
- believing that you play a role in shaping that world,
- and taking action toward a more desirable future.

Design Thinking gives you faith in your creative abilities and a process through which to take action when faced with a difficult challenge.

Truth is, you are already a designer. This workshop is about helping you see that, and gaining new methods and processes that can help you be more intentional about what you are designing.

IDEO Voices: What does design mean to you?

Week 01 IDEO from Design Thinking for Educators on Vimeo.

Teacher Voices: What does design mean to you?

Week 01 Teacher from Design Thinking for Educators on Vimeo.

Designer's Agreements

1. Everybody is a designer.

We think of you that way. We'd like for you to believe it too.

2. Believe it's possible.

Have an abundance mentality. Be optimistic. Believe the future will be better. Start with, "What if?" instead of "What's wrong?"

3. Be open to trying and learning.

Consider an experience from beginning to end and then challenge yourself to help others feel what something new might really be like.

4. We're all in this together.

Design is a team sport. Be inspired by your classmates and challenge yourself to contribute to and comment on each other's projects and brainstorms. Be a contributing community member.

Join the Design Thinking Project Room on Ning to complete your for Week One projects

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will need to set up an account on to participate. This can be done at the link above.


You can ask questions of experienced designers/educators via live chat in the Main Room 10-11 am Pacific (1-2 pm Eastern), Monday through Thursday. The Main Room is a chat window that will show at the bottom of your screen when you join the DT for ED Project Room. Those of us from Riverdale, IDEO, and Edutopia are happy to help!

You can also post questions in the Support Q&A group on the Ning.

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  • Curriculum Planning
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