Design in Education

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To begin to understand design thinking it may be helpful to at first take a brief look at design. As educators design is something we practise regularly and we most likely have designedly attitudes that we can pass on to our students.

What is Design?

Design like problem solving, is a natural and ubiquitous human activity.

(Razzouk & Shute, 2012).

Let’s explore a perspective on design as discussed by Kuratko, Goldsworthy and Hornsby (2012) who wrap concepts of design up with creativity and innovation. These authors state that creativity is a set of thinking skills that help bring novel ideas into the world. Design is the process of shaping those ideas into an artefact and innovation is the extended process of providing that artefact to a wider audience. These definitions require a subtle shift in thinking for the educator who is well accustomed to using the word innovation as describing something new – whereas the above definition views new ideas as being a process of creative thinking that are brought into the world via design. These authors also tell us that the artefact that has been designed can be anything from a product, a service, a process or even a business model. What types of things do you as an educator design? What about your students? It may help to keep in mind that a designer is anyone who comes up with a new artefact and tweaks it into a desirable form (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Hornsby, 2012). As educators we do this everyday. Our students…ideally!

An important idea for all educators to reflect on is that “design has become too important to be left to designers’ (Brown & Katz, 2011, p. 381) and as stated in some of my earlier posts, we are all designers. Furthermore, thinking like a designer involves different kinds of abilities and competencies that find relevance in 21st century education (Scheer, Noweski & Meinel, 2012). How do designers think? This question leads into discussions on design thinking as well as its application in education.

Perhaps too, education can be rescued by design thinking? : American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist

Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by design. Journal of product innovation management, 28(3), 381-383.

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson

Razzouk, R., & Shute, V. (2012). What is design thinking and why is it important? Review of Educational Research, September, 82 (3), 330–348

Scheer, A., Noweski, C., & Meinel, C. (2012). Transforming constructivist learning into action: Design thinking in education. Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, 17(3).

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