Thoughtful Thinkers: Secondary Schoolers’ Learning about Design Thinking

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Aflatoony, Leila; Wakkary, Ron. Thoughtful Thinkers: Secondary Schoolers’ Learning about Design Thinking. Proceedings of 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers: LearnxDesign 2015, 10 pages. In press.

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Design education
interaction design thinking
Design process
K-12 curriculum

Design thinking is a specific design practice that aims to foster innovation by elevating participants’ creative thinking abilities. It usually involves a problem-­‐ solving approach to solve complex problems, and can be best achieved through collaborative and human-­‐cantered activities. In post-­‐secondary education, design-­‐ thinking techniques and practices have been implemented into different curricula as particular skills that need to be learned in the 21st century. However, little work has been conducted to investigate design thinking in secondary education. This paper presents our findings on the successful implementation of an interaction design-­‐ thinking curriculum in secondary school education. We have performed qualitative research activities to find out about the success of the curriculum by investigating the abilities of students in transferring knowledge gained from a familiar situation (the course) to an unfamiliar situation (outside the course). Our findings suggested that teaching design thinking to secondary school students was beneficial, enabled students to make thoughtful decisions in solving simple to complex problems in their everyday life situations.

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