Design Thinking in Education ISTE Creative Constructor Lab
March 8, 2021

Design Thinking in Education at ISTE Creative Constructor Lab

On October 6, 2020, one of our very own students and our executive director presented at the ISTE Creative Constructor Lab. Dr. Michelle Zimmerman and student Brooklyn Jones joined together to share their experience utilizing design thinking in education at Renton Prep.

What is ISTE and the Creative Constructor Lab?

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) hosts conferences aimed at helping educators use technology to transform teaching. The conferences include lightning talks, design challenges, and workshops to innovate the minds of teachers and consequently their students.

In short, the ISTE Creative Constructor Lab is a virtual interactive seminar series that inspires new teaching methods that engage students. In addition, each session includes guidance from professionals on how educators can experiment and incorporates digital storytelling, design thinking, coding, and other tools.


Design Thinking at ISTE Creative Constructor Lab

Dr. Michelle Zimmerman and Tim Needles presented their tools and experience in encouraging design thinking and creativity within the classroom. Dr. Zimmerman shared the results of a project she assigned for her students. Specifically, the task was intended to practice teamwork skills, analytical thinking, and digital creativity.

She incorporated the current COVID-19 pandemic into her teaching method by highlighting how students can connect it to the UN Sustainability Goals. Additionally, she challenged the students to utilize the Design Thinking Process and consider the fashion industry, smart textiles, and wearable tech for inspiration.

“This process taught me how businesses operate and what people and procedures are needed to release a product,” said Ryan, who is on the fashion design team.

Incorporating STEAM in Design Thinking

The assignment required students to incorporate STEAM, which breaks down into five categories.

  • Science: Understanding how masks filter
  • Technology: Researching and communicating with group members
  • Engineering: Building the model for the mask and website
  • Arts: Designing the website and mask
  • Mathematics: Using statistics and marketing tactics to calculate the cost of the supplies

Brooklyn Jones attended the virtual seminar alongside Dr. Zimmerman and provided the viewpoint of the students within the Social Reintegration Project. Together, the groups were tasked with considering new clothing design that protected from COVID-19.

To emphasize collaborative learning, each group had to partner with the other groups to create the finished product. To illustrate this, the classes divided into different groups to form their company. Namely, the students broke into: Project Management, Fashion Design, Materials, Marketing, Manufacturing, IT, Risk, HR, and Law.

“One thing I learned is how dependent groups are on each other, and when one group doesn’t do their work in time it impacts all other groups,” said Sharice, who was on the marketing team.

The project encourages students to apply critical thinking, design, and technology to solve real-world problems. Ultimately, the team worked through the design and business process to illustrate design thinking in education.

“I learned that people need incentives, if people work without incentives, they won’t work at their best, or at all,” said David, who was on the project management team. “You need to make sure that people believe in your mission, and make sure that everyone has the same amount of energy as you do for your project.”

Emphasis on Technology in the Classroom

Here at Renton Prep, our passion is the development of our students; and we recognize that technology is instrumental in expanding the way students learn. As shown above, that’s why we believe in using emerging technology for design thinking in education. The collaboration of technology and education is vital now more than ever.

After all, technology enhances learning through the use of personalized learning materials, encouragement of creativity, and supporting critical thinking.

Whether it’s from a distance or in the classroom, we are dedicated to helping our students thrive. Contact us today to learn more about our academic approach and how you and your family can be a part of our community.