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Design methods for instruction and school development

Design Path for Schools

Helsinki, Finland
Design path is a basic method for solving problems creatively, teaching students to use design methods, and developing schools together with students. This method is suited for both smaller projects and larger development projects.
Introduction

What is it all about?

“Our goal was to develop a new kind of tool that will help school communities solve everyday problems and challenges together.”

Design methods refer to the way designers think creatively to solve problems. Design methods can be used to solve many kinds of challenges.

The new Finnish curriculum talks a lot about developing schools together, which means teachers and other personnel need to collaborate with students and their guardians. Design methods give you the tools to develop instruction and school learning environments together with students. You can apply the methods to accomplish something small and quick or large development projects that last the whole school year.

When students are involved in creative problem solving, they learn how to face problems and deal with them flexibly. These are skills they will need in their future careers. By understanding that anyone can fix problems, they learn how to make changes that make things work better.

Design Path For Schools is a tool that enables school communities to solve challenges together. The seven phase tool takes you through the entire design process. Examples of the challenges that may be solved with the tool are the following: keeping students within school bounds during recess, affecting how students use mobile phones, decreasing food waste, or even greater challenges in schools such as recognizing bullying, using flexible learning environments, planning school events, or having teachers work in teams.

The Design Path For Schools is a collaboration between the City of Helsinki and the Helsinki Design Week and has been used in Helsinki schools since 2016.

The steps give instructions for each of the seven phases of the Design Path. The steps also give you practical suggestions and examples of a hypothetical challenge that can be solved with the Design Path.

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Innovation Overview
7 - 18
Age Group
-
Children/Users
1
Country
2016
Established
-
Organisation
547
Views
Tips for implementation
Time for implementation, material for building prototypes.
Connect with innovator
K
HundrED Review
Innovativeness

Ideas originating from service design have been used in schools before, but this method puts students in the role of the designer.

Impact

Solve problems, see immediate results, and improve school spirit.

Scalability

This method can be used to solve almost any problem, so it can be applied to different environments.

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Milestones

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Map

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Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Challenge
The design process starts with defining the problem. What do we want to change? What doesn’t work in the current system?
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02
Observation
Once a challenge is defined, it is time to move on to more detailed analysis.
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03
Brainstorming
During brainstorming students get to freely suggest solutions. All ideas are written down.
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04
Testing
Only testing will tell you which ideas work best in practice.
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05
Planning
Write a plan that describes how the idea will be implemented in practice.
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06
Implementation
Implement the things that you have written down in your plan. You can still change ideas or develop them further as required.
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