Empathize: Gather information from users In action: Fourth-graders in Colorado solicited ideas from local residents to help their city redesign a local park.
Define: Frame the problem In action: Administrators in Glenbrook High Schools District 225 considered student experience when redesigning classrooms. They chose furniture that let learners move around.
Ideate: Generate possible solutions that meet users’ needs In action: Students in Colorado’s St. Vrain Valley Schools have created biodegradable drinking straws, habitats for honeybees, and soccer balls for people who are blind.
Link to main story: Design thinking in education
Prototype: Build your solution In action: Students following Northwestern University’s FUSE curriculum in their home districts have designed houses, roller coasters and cars—and become the subject matter experts along the way.
Test: Gather feedback, then refine or look for alternatives In action: The Glenbrook district went through four rounds of testing different classroom designs before choosing a solution.
Source: Stanford’s d.school
Abby Spegman is a freelance writer in Washington.