Engagement and Impact: Design Thinking and the Arts

That computer mouse that fits so nicely in your hand, the way your iPhone reacts to your creative way of spelling, the “so simple why didn’t I think of that?” processes you encounter every day — these are the result of design thinking, a sequential process embraced by innovative companies and entrepreneurs. Design thinking, or human-centered design, is an empowering way to solve problems and design products and solutions by starting with discovery, moving on to ideation and rapid prototyping, then testing, and finally execution.

How can this high-level, innovative style of problem solving work in a classroom or after-school program? Quite well, actually. The West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) engages urban high school students in a best-practice after-school program that is grounded in design thinking. I’ll share our journey so that you can find ways to enhance your own learning environment through design thinking.

6 Steps to a Student-Created Mobile App
WMCAT teen students are working in teams to explore and tackle a pressing community issue using arts and technology as a basis for inquiry, critical thinking and practical application. Each team has 12 students, is guided by a professional teaching artist, and meets two days a week for the entire school year. Here’s the story of how one of these teams is using the design thinking process.

Our Interactive design team went all out with new technology to address how teens can better engage with their city’s downtown core. They partnered with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and local software development firm Mutually Human to create a mobile app.

Step 1: Discover
Our teens toured downtown Grand Rapids with staff from DGRI, visited the offices of Mutually Human, interviewed teens about their perceptions of downtown, and researched other apps on the market.

Step 2: Ideate
Through intense brainstorming, the teens began to coalesce around two themes: zombies and spies!

Step 3: Experiment
The teens began prototyping by creating storyboards for their app. The basic premise was that users would follow a sequential adventure through which visiting key locations downtown would advance the action. Their storyboard was presented to DGRI.

Step 4: Create
All details of the app were developed, including color schemes, transitions, flow of screens, graphics and writing.

Step 5: Refine
The final storyboard and prototype will be presented to DGRI and at a public art exhibit to gain feedback. Feedback is used to refine the project and fine-tune details.

Step 6: Share
This summer, Mutually Human staff will help complete the back-end work on the app so that it can be available on mobile device platforms.

Why design thinking? WMCAT wanted to increase retention and high school graduation rates for our students. We learned through research and evaluation that we could have a greater impact by increasing engagement with a smaller group of students, rather than increasing the number of students coming through our doors. We also wanted to empower students to raise their voices and effect social change. After all, WMCAT is their space to find their voice and change the world in which they live.

Human-Centered Design
Design thinking and project-based learning surfaced as an essential model in innovative school redesign that improves students’ attitudes toward learning. One of the stars in project-based learning was High Tech High (HTH) in San Diego. The WMCAT Teen Arts team traveled to HTH to complete a residency with their staff on the merits, metrics and ins-and-outs of project-based learning. Back in Grand Rapids, we also selected a team to complete a course in Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation from IDEO and Acumen. And then, last summer I was lucky enough to study at the famed d.school at Stanford, where I began to learn just how we could transform our program for teens.

After piloting design thinking as our pedagogy this past school year, we have learned a few things:

The best projects are student-driven and student-led. The more we engaged our teens in choosing their issues, selecting their partners and driving the conversation, the stronger the projects were.
Give students plenty of opportunities to complete mini design challenges along the way. This helped us teach art and tech skills, kept ideas fresh and retained student interest.
Keep giving staff the opportunity to learn and practice design thinking. This spring, our entire team is completing a Mixtape course designed by the d.school at Stanford and refreshing our skills through the IDEO and Acumen course again.
There are great resources out there. To learn more about our design teams and our plans for fall 2014 visit our website. And in the comments section below, please share how you use design thinking in the classroom or in after-school programs.

Engagement and Impact: Design and style Thinking and also Arts

That computer mouse that fits and so nicely within your hand, the way your iPhone reacts for your creative method of spelling, the main “so straightforward why couldn’t I think of that? ” operations you skills every day — these are the end result of design considering, a continuous process appreciated by modern companies and even entrepreneurs. Structure thinking, or human-centered layout, is an strengthening way to resolve problems as well as design components by beginning with discovery, shifting to ideation and super fast prototyping, and then testing, last but not least execution.

How can this high-level, innovative style of problem solving perform in a educational setting or after-school program? Rather effectively, actually. The exact West Mich Center with regard to Arts plus Technology (WMCAT) engages metropolitan high school students within a best-practice after-school program that is definitely grounded around design thinking. I’ll promote our outing so that you can get ways to enhance your own discovering environment by way of design planning.

6 Steps to a Student-Created Mobile App
WMCAT teen students are working in teams to learn and talk about a troubling community situation using martial arts styles and solutions as a basis for analysis, critical planning and practical application. Each workforce has 16 students, is normally guided by someone that installs systems for a living teaching designer, and http://domyhomework.pro meets two days per week for the entire institution year. This the story of how one of these leagues is using the form thinking procedure.

Our Active design workforce went outright with new-technology to address ways teens can certainly better engage with their city’s downtown primary. They combined with Down-town Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) and local software package development company Mutually Our to create a mobile phone app.

Action 1: Discover
Our teenage years toured in town Grand Rapids with office staff from DGRI, visited the actual offices about Mutually Real human, interviewed teenage years about their perceptions of the town center, and checked out other apps on the market.

2: Ideate
Through powerful brainstorming, the particular teens began to coalesce approximately two topics: zombies along with spies!

Step 3: Experiment
The adolescence began prototyping by designing storyboards for his or her app. Principle premise was basically that users would abide by sequential voyage through which eating out in key regions downtown would likely advance the particular action. Their whole storyboard seemed to be presented to DGRI.

Step four: Create
All details of the software package were produced, including color schemes, transitions, circulation of watches, graphics in addition to writing.

Step five: Refine
The final storyboard and standard will be exposed to DGRI and at any public art exhibit to achieve feedback. Opinions is used that will refine the actual project in addition to fine-tune details.

Step 6: Show
Come early july, Mutually Our staff helps complete the very back-end operate on the application so that it are usually available on mobile or portable device advertising networks.

Why style thinking? WMCAT wanted to enhance retention and also high school college rates for the students. Many of us learned as a result of research as well as evaluation which we could have an increased impact through increasing bridal with a reduced group of scholars, rather than increasing the number of students coming by means of our entrance doors. We at the same time wanted to establish students to lift their voice overs and effect social modify. After all, WMCAT is all their space to discover their voice and affect the world by which they live life.

Human-Centered Model
Model thinking and even project-based knowing surfaced as a possible essential model in modern school modernize that revamps students’ conduct toward understanding. One of the personalities in project-based learning ended up being High Tech Huge (HTH) within San Diego. Often the WMCAT Teenager Arts crew traveled to HTH to complete a new residency using staff for the merits, metrics and ins-and-outs of project-based learning. To incorporate financing Grand Rapids, we furthermore selected a team to undertake a course inside Human-Centered Design for Social Development from IDEO and Farsightedness. And then, survive summer Being lucky enough to learn at the renowned d. university at Stanford, where I actually began to understand just how we were able to transform our program intended for teens.

Just after piloting pattern thinking since our pedagogy this past university year, we still have learned one or two things:

The very best projects are usually student-driven and student-led. The more we active our adolescents in picking out their matters, selecting their valuable partners together with driving the very conversation, the main stronger the very projects have been.
Provide students enough opportunities to carry out mini style challenges throughout the game. This assisted us show art together with tech techniques, kept thoughts fresh as well as retained university student interest.
Keep providing staff possibilities to learn plus practice design and style thinking. That spring, the entire team is completing a Mixtape course developed by the n. school within Stanford plus refreshing the skills with the IDEO along with Acumen course again.
There are fantastic resources to choose from. To learn more about this design organizations and our own plans for fall 2014 visit our website. And in the section down the page, please discuss how you employ design planning in the classroom or even in after-school programs.