Design thinking isn’t something you imagine 11-14 year olds doing.
But when the pandemic set in during early 2020, Technology teacher Tracy Asplen of The Bush School, Seattle, thought it could be a great way to bring children together to get creative from home.
Teachers in the school’s art department, which comprises Visual Arts, Music, Drama, and Technology, decided that students would focus on one subject per week.
Tracy spent two non-consecutive weeks with all 180 students, and wanted to run a unifying project, where they could practise their technology skills and learn something new.
Having tried out design thinking with a small group of students earlier in the year, Tracy decided to use Sprintbase to run a sprint with the group to tackle real life middle school appropriate scenarios.
Before kicking off the project, Tracy created a survey listing a series of challenges relating to life in lockdown that the children might be interested in tackling. These were:
As the children had not used Sprintbase before, Tracy took the time to warn them that communications would come from the platform. She also made a video explaining what she had planned, and shared it via Sprintbase, on their school portal, and email to make sure everybody could see the instructions.
Tracy also created a test sprint before the project kicked off, walked students through the platform, and was then available during class times to answer questions.
Students worked in 18 teams of 10-11 students. One of the benefits of working through Sprintbase, was that the children could participate at different times. Tracy set deadlines for them to meet each day, but they could do the work when it suited them.
Teams were given the option to make prototypes for their ideas in a number of different formats, including creating an infographic, building an app, developing a public service announcement, and creating video games.
The student teams came up with loads of great ideas – from cookbooks to help people create meals at home that meet everybody’s dietary requirements, to jingles to encourage people to check in on residents in their neighbourhoods. One group made a video game to help people identify hobbies they could enjoy during lockdown.
As well as the positives of going through the design thinking process, generating ideas and creating tech prototypes, there were other benefits to going through this process.
It allowed Tracey to get to know students better and see different sides to them. For example, more introverted children had the chance to be creative in their own way and time. Some students really threw themselves into their challenge and gave a lot of thought to how their idea could help people during this difficult time.
Enable your people to solve important problems and embed new ways of working along the way.Find out more