• Tech-Ed and Design Thinking Model

    The Technology Education department is anchored by a shared ethos.  A bias towards action is present in each course offering.  Students are viewed by the department as designers and as such, value the ability of learners to construct a process for finding solutions to complex problems or a design challenge.

    Technology Education teachers see the need to mentor students through the problem-solving process.  It is rare for creative solutions to randomly appear. Instead innovative answers result from an iterative process. Technology Education teachers recognize their role in mentoring students through the creative process / problem-solving process.  To assist students tackle design inspired challenges a common process is disseminated throughout the department.  Regardless of content concentration, students are encouraged to employ the design thinking methodology when faced with a challenge.  According to Tim Brown, CEO of the globally recognized consulting firm IDEO, design thinking is, “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”  The process provides designers with a structure to identify a problem and work towards implementing a solution.  For the Technology Education Department design thinking is defined as the following:

     

    • Discovery- understand the challenge

    • Define/Interpret- collect and archive thoughts about the challenge.

    • Ideate- Ideate is the mode during the design process in which students focus on idea generation.

    • Experimentation/Prototype- experimentation brings ideas to life. Building prototypes means making ideas tangible, learning while building them and sharing them with other people.

    • Test- Testing is the chance to refine solutions and make them better.

    • Present- present final products for public viewing and commentary

    In each class students are encouraged to rely on the design thinking methodology to help provide guidance and structure for the creative problem-solving process.  Furthermore, students are reminded to note their various travels through the creative process and reflect upon their growth as designers.  This way students value the process as much as the end product. Without paying attention to, reflecting on and refining process, students will always be hard pressed to present viable solutions or sustaining products.