Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition.

Global Day of Design was this Tuesday, April 26. (Holler out to John Spencer and A.J. Juliani for pushing our thinking about innovation in education.)  This was a great opportunity to build school-wide understanding of and appreciation for the design process.

At the start of an assembly students were asked how many considered themselves to be designers.  Maybe half raised their hands.  We then viewed a PBS Design Squad Challenge video which shared the steps involved in the design process and how they were applied by a group of kids building a bike trailer out of recycled materials (worth a watch!)  Following the video, the students were asked:

How many of you have ever identified a problem?

How many of you have ever brainstormed?

How many of you have ever built or created something?

How many of you have tested something you built or created?

How many of you have changed something you built or created to make it better?

How many of you have shared something that you built or created?

Hands were shooting up throughout the room with affirmative responses.  “See how many designers we have in the room!” we noted.

The concept of the design process is universally applicable to all that is meaningful that takes place in schools.  We must teach students that generating quality work is a process of design.  This process is often more significant to learning than the final product and usually benefits from collaboration.  The process of design needs not be linear and different learners will enter it at different stages for different purposes.  The design process commits us to continual improvement, and that is what schools are all about.




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