In December 2015, four Avondale High School (MI) teachers attended Engage(ED) Exchange: Detroit – Reimagining Learning Through Design Thinking, an event hosted by Teacher2Teacher and HFLI.
Teachers delved into how they can use design thinking principles in their learning environments. They learned from experts and community members, participated in a rapid cycle design thinking challenge, gained tools and shared their own ideas for meaningful solutions that leverage design principles.
Inspired by the Engag(ED) Exchange experience and equipped with HFLI tools, Avondale math teacher Dawn Schupbach had her math students work with the school’s academic departments to prototype logos for the school’s academic departments. Using a process guided by design thinking principles, students conducted staff interviews to gain empathy and used conics (shapes that represent the intersection of a plane and a cone) in their prototypes, which were presented to the departments for feedback. Ultimately, the winning logos will be adopted a symbol of the department and featured on spirit wear, in district-wide presentations and more.
“Everything that’s great about the project—collaboration, Design Thinking, cross-disciplinary work—these things happened because a good teacher had the chance (and the drive—she attended the workshop on her own time) to learn from other teachers. She not only took what she’d learned about Design Thinking back to her class. She took the way she learned it—collaboratively, interactively, cross disciplinarily—and created a rich experience for her students and, I’d argue, the whole school. That’s what happens when you put teachers together and give them time and space to learn,” wrote Avondale ELA teacher Rick Kreinbring in his Oakland Schools blog.
HFLI captured Engage(ED) Exchange participants’ voices in this story: