Design Thinking for Project Based Learning
Project Planning Tools for K-12 Educators and Students
How do you bring design innovation to classroom projects?
After returning from a teacher training trip to India in November 2012, I began discussing with teachers in the US difficulties integrating new teaching techniques to address STEM/STEAM curriculum. Many schools were moving towards project-based learning and design thinking as a means for teaching 21st century skills such as perseverance, creativity and problem solving, but teachers were ill-equipped to handle the demands of such a paradigm shift.
by the numbers
Teachers trained in 15 states on CREATOMsetgo
Raised in grant funding
In 2017, CREATOMsetgo was released as a project planning toolkit for project based learning in grades K-12. CREATOMsetgo combines the human-centered design process and translates the terminology into a common language and graphic organization for teachers and students to unpack complex challenges, creating authentic solutions while delivering grade level standards.
CREATOMsetgo project planning tools:
- Myself, a developer, two content creators and two technology consultants.
- Twenty educators contributed their expertise in the initial development of the CREATOMbuilder platform.
- CREATOMbuilder V.10 was fully self-funded.
CREATOMsetgo project planning tools:
- 3-year National Science Foundation Integrative Computer Science grant from 2015-2018.
- Continued development of workshops and coaching techniques were greatly supported through work with long time partner, Drew Charter School, Atlanta, GA.
The process highlights main activities in the creation of CREATOMbuilder pbl project planning web application in 2014, use of the application from 2014-2016 and the pivot to CREATOMsetgo manipulative tools in 2017.
- Co-creation session was held with 20 public and private school teachers and administrators, education consultants, non-profit, and government program directors, artists and designers.
- Explored organization of a web-based tool being developed to integrate web content and art and design thinking into lesson planning.
- Defined art integrated learning, design thinking and project-based learning
touch point matrix
Co-creation event determined four main end-users of the product:
- k-12 teachers, students, administrators, and after and out-of-school program directors/coordinators.
CREATOMbuilder web application development
CREATOMbuilder V1.0 Screen Shots
- Version 1.0 of the project planning platform was released in 2014.
- Features: a step-by-step project planning wizard, preloaded project types for easy, moderater and difficult projects, and rubric maker.
nsf iTest grant 2015-2018
Teachers Grades 3-5 Planning Sessions with CREATOMbuilder occured monthly from 2015-2017 along with coaching in PBL project management, integration of computational thinking into PBL and STEM activity skill building. Final workshops with the entire school commenced in the spring of 2018.
PBL Student Work from end of term Showcase events at Centennial Academy, Atlanta, GA.
- Administrators liked that CREATOMbuilder provided documentation of PBL lesson planning and outcomes.
- Working on the document from multiple accounts was not user friendly. Teachers wanted "the same capabilities to edit simultaneously like Google Docs."
- Each teacher has their own method for lesson planning that matched their teaching style and wanted more flexibility of the workflow.
- Teachers also reported that Buck Institute (now PBLworks) training was also difficult to implement-too overwhelming, too much information, hard to break down.
pivot: the project design canvas
In January 2016, a fifth grade teacher in the cohort requested a graphic organizer for the design thinking process and Project-Based Learning workflow.
project design canvas organization
- 3 stages (Ask, Make and Share)
- 3 levels of Bloom's Taxonomy (Operations, Application, and Thinking-image left).
- 9 phases (image right) which represent various skills and competencies to focus on during the project.
project design canvas variations
CREATOMsetgo release 2017
Conducted Coaching and School Workshops for over 8 years including:
Presented at Conferences across the United States including: