It's better to burn out than it is to rust ~ Neil Young

vlog Week 4

(Design) Thinking Our Way Out

Here is a list of the BIG IDEAS covered in my vlog:

  • What are my thoughts on design thinking and our recent discussions?
  • How does/does our new reality promote critical thinking?

Adding to what I have reflected on in this Flip Grid:

I really want to reiterate that point – I think I made a great connection here (self-pat on the back) – critical thinking is design thinking.  It is looking at the problem in a detailed and unique way.  Expanding thought to include never before considered aspects to hypothesize new solutions.

Even in this moment, as teachers scramble to embed technology into their “continuance of education” practices online, there is little design thinking, or even critical thinking – in my opinion going on.

Design thinking requires time to consider the problems and look for integrative solutions or strategies.  Things like Flip Grid and Zoom conferencing may be the simplest way to keep things moving – but are not implemented from the perspective of design thinking. They are a stop gap to what is a deluge of new responsibility and expectations.

And while any new technology COULD promote and encourage critical thinking – in the teachers who assign and use it, or the students who engage with it – “promoting and encouraging” critical thinking is more likely to happen for students if the interactions and usage of new technology has been set up – designed – in a way to do so.

These ideas also connect back to Buchanan and four areas of how design affects life :

1.   Symbolic and visual communication

How are we getting information to students?

 2.  Material objects

How are students using technology?

What do they have access too?

3.  Activities and organized services

How are we structuring their learning, and their day/week/term/year?

What are the connections and consequences of this structure?

4.  Complex systems or environments

What does school end up looking like after this is “over?”

What are the collateral connections that are made from this infrastructure design?

As Buchanan mentions, these areas are interconnected.  And this crisis might be good opportunity to evaluate education from a design thinking perspective, considering these four aspects and the questions I have asked.

This isn’t necessarily possible for every educator right now!



Buchanan, R. (1992). Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. Design Issues: MIT Press, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), pp. 5-21

“Stressed Out Scream” by William Garratt  on Giphy

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