How could you take a concrete idea through the process of design thinking? How would I be able to follow a creative experience, with an idea so fundamental as teaching? When first presented with the idea of creating a teaching experience I was at a loss of words. How would I create an experience that is engaging and encourages students to interact outside of the normal lecture? As these thoughts whirled through my head, I started thinking about past experiences I had facilitated. One particular experience I thought about was mind-mapping a team building experience. There are concrete details that go into this, but team building automatically sets the idea of engagement into the mind. I began by starting with the problem in the middle of the window. Then, expanded on how we could approach this problem with solutions that engage the mind beyond to the unexpected. As you see below here is a picture of me doing it on a window. Eventually, I took these ideas and started creating a linear timeline that could incorporate the best ideas resolving the problem in the middle.
After this reflection, Josh and I started in on the design thinking process for a classroom experience. As we began this process, we started with the theme in the middle: communication and prototyping. The ideation phase was great as we had many ways we could take these topics.The hardest part was focusing our ideas on a few themes. We were hesitant to prototype our ideas, and find the best way to convey them in a way that would stick with the students. The hesitation came from the fear of failure. What if our great ideas couldn’t be combined? What if this flopped right on its face? The hesitation was overcome by putting something on the page, and just going with the ideas. I started by creating blank slides on a piece of paper and got messy with it.
As you can see above, we began to prototype, what co-teaching about communication and prototyping might look like. This is how we started to see our ideas come together under an overarching theme of communicating. It was easier to understand how prototyping fit in, when we framed as a way to communicate our ideas to the clients. During this prototyping we were able to see a clear linear progression of the solution.
The opportunity to facilitate class discussion was amazing. I enjoy facilitating activities and creating ways to connect back to a bigger theme. During our class we were able to engage in a few different activities that would connect the reading materials that we had assigned to their DAT projects. The common feedback we received from our teaching is that it provided groups with tangible tools they can use. It also helped groups understand the importance of engaging the client throughout the process to provide the best and most useful deliverable. One thing I learned from co-teaching is to check the assumptions you have regarding the material you are teaching. Reading the feedback I realized I should have provided more concrete examples on what a minimum viable product is. I will take this feedback, and use it for the next iteration as the design thinking process is a constant cycle of testing.
The teaching experience provided me with a new perspective. I realize that any message I want to convey to a large group, I need the message to be simple enough that an 8th grader would understand. If the message passses this test, then it is simple and concrete enough for any customer to understand. This experience of teaching was great as it provided me the opportunity to further engage with the design thinking process and test my strengths in the classroom. All at the same time engaging with the students in a unique way.