Design Thinking Process

Design Thinking for Educators


Here is an introduction to the Design Thinking process as a platform for innovation for teachers and students. Design Thinking is a proven, five-step rapid iteration process that will help you quickly develop and test innovative ideas for your classroom. The extensive resources will provide a comprehensive understanding of how to use the Design Thinking process to create human centered solutions, which will help foster 21st Century Learning Skills in your classroom. This is a summary of a graduate education elective (EDU 650) and professional development course I created for educators with all the same resources.

The Five Stages of the Design Thinking Process:

Recommended Reading:

Brown, T. (2019). Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN: 978-0062856623

Kelly, T. (2013). Creative Confidence Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Currency. ISBN: 978-0385349369

Recommended Websites:

Recommended Videos:

Stanford Design Thinking Webinar:

What is Design Thinking?:

Empathize step of the Design Thinking Process

Building empathy is the crucial first step of the process. Without a true understanding of the person’s experience and needs, a solution cannot be efficiently or effectively created. Following are some excellent resources and tools for learning to build empathy:

Downloadable Empathy Toolkit for Schools

Define step of the Design Thinking Process

Sources of Inspiration: A Language of Design:

Ideate step of the Design Thinking Process

IDEO The Rules of Brainstorming:

Downloadable Poster

Brainstorming and other Ideation techniques videos:

What is Brainstorming?

The “How Might We” Method:

10 Brainstorming warm up activities:

Prototype step of the Design Thinking Process

Some amazing designs and prototypes created by young students all over the world! I highly recommend hosting a Designathon:

Excellent Ted Talk for students on rapid prototyping:

A guide to prototyping:

Test step of the Design Thinking Process

User testing guides:

Education Specific Resources:

Timm Krohn, Christoph Meinel, (2022) Design Thinking in Education Innovation Can Be Learned 978-3-030-89112-1

Thinking and Acting Like A Designer: How design thinking supports innovation in K-12 education.

Downloadable PDF

Design Thinking for Educators:

Downloadable PDF

Co-Designing Schools Toolkit:

Designathon Works:

Design Thinking Rubric:

Downloadable PDF