By: Sarah Raskin, Design Engineer
There are few times in our lives when we can press the “reset” button with the permission to try something new. The beginning of the school year provides us all with a special opportunity for renewal. As our Innovation and Design Team reflected over the summer on the exciting work happening across campuses to meaningfully connect lessons learned in the classroom with real-world applications, we recognized an opportunity to invigorate the way we think about innovative practices. When focusing time and resources on a process, it is easy to overlook the importance of the mindset it takes to make the process happen in the first place. Imagine the author that spends countless hours practicing literary devices before considering their purpose, or which devices will be used within the context of their novel. This year, it is our goal to prime the mind for Design.
In their research paper on “Changing Mindsets in Design Thinking,” Heidi Weber, Antonio Cruz Rodriguez, and Americo Mateus, explain that successfully utilizing the Design Thinking methodology requires one to draw on different mindsets and thinking processes. Most specifically, they are studying how “priming” or exposure to a stimulus that activates a particular idea, context, or feeling, can positively shift a mindset. This year, the Innovation and Design Team is developing experiences that allow teachers and students to explore the components of the Design Thinking process, while intentionally focusing on practicing the mindsets that will build a culture of thinking within the classroom. The first mindset we are exploring is “connective.”
As the school year begins, teachers and students alike are working to develop connected classroom communities that embrace the strengths, interests, and learning styles of each individual. Below, are some activities that teachers have used throughout the District to empower students with identifying their own strengths, while also developing the connective mindset.
Just as an author “primes” their mind for writing their own book by reading a wide variety of great literature, our educators are exposing students to experiences that provide ideas, context, and feelings to prime their minds for developing a culture of thinking and the Designer’s mindset within the classroom.
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