The College of Education hosted two design thinking workshops. Local K–12 educators, high school students and ECU faculty attended a workshop to confront important challenges in higher education and design innovative solutions on Monday, March 21.
The next day, local K–12 educators were taken through the full cycle of design thinking in a short timeframe. The activity focused on the fundamental values of human-centered design: a bias toward action, a culture of iteration and the importance of rapid prototyping. The latter portion of the session will uncover the results of the activity and tie them back to the day-to-day challenges.
As a new way to problem solve, companies like IDEO and Google are embracing design thinking, according to Militello.
“This workshop may affect our professional students in profound ways because it provides them with a tool set for managing change in schools which is not generally provided in preparation programs,” said Militello. “In making the case for design thinking, we’re asking school leaders to admit that the answers to modern challenges they face don’t yet exist; that off-the-shelf solutions or strategies that neighboring schools employ are not going to meet the unique needs of the communities they serve.”
Dr. John Nash, associate professor of educational leadership studies at the University of Kentucky and the founding director of the Laboratory on Design Thinking in Education, or dLab, will facilitate the sessions on both dates. He’s also a director at the Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, or CASTLE, at the University of Kentucky.
Nash is a specialist in the design and prototyping of innovations in education. He teaches a range of courses on design thinking, school technology leadership, and school reform. His current research agenda focuses on the methods to design and prototype of innovations in education.
The events are sponsored by the Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership, Dr. Matt Militello.
Design thinking is a creative strategy for dealing with old and emerging problems. This approach differs from the traditional scientific method by considering known and unknown parameters to seek alternative solutions in an iterative manner.
“The intent of the Wells Fargo Endowment in Educational Leadership is to build capacity for local school educators,” said Militello. “Design thinking is a way to build capacity for these educators and for those who train them. ECU’s College of Education is well positioned to be at the forefront of technologies and innovations that can best assist our school educators. This series is another example of this type of forward thinking work.”