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Students engaged in solving real-world problems through the design thinking process using new and innovative technologies.

Design Thinking Through STEAM

Hawally, Kuwait
Students in the Middle School are engaged in a STEAM program once per week that focuses them on solving real-world problems affecting them or those around them using design thinking. In small groups, students identify a problem of need in their community. They then work through the design thinking process; empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test.

Solving problems, without having all the answers

Kevin Fullbrook - Middle School Principal
“It is amazing what children can come up with when you give them the framework, the time and the space to be creative.”

Kevin Fullbrook - Middle School Principal

The program was created out of an extensive consultation and reflective process that identified a need for opportunities for students to be creative, have choice and voice, be able to engage with new technologies and to engage in learning that is authentic.

At the beginning of the semester, students and teachers are assembled together in the MakerSpace - all 90 students and 12 staff.  Students are introduced to the design thinking process, and told that they won't be working on projects, but rather solving problems.

They then form into groups based on areas that they are interested in (i.e. sustainability, inclusion and access, technology, etc), and start examing problems that affect them or their communities.

Students are then guided through the design thinking process as they empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.  As they are all in the MakerSpace together, they can see a range of different teachers as the need arises; Science, Math, Art, Technology, etc.

Each of the groups keep a learning journal in which they document and reflect on their learning at the end of each session.  At the end of the semester, students present their work and the process they went through, to their peers.  Students are assessed in a variety of ways, including self-assessment, peer-grading, and teacher feedback. 

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Innovation Overview
10 - 14
Age Group
Tips for implementation
Resources depend heavily on the problems that students try to solve. One key aspect of the design process is considering the cost and availability of resources.
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See this innovation in action

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

Define your objectives
What do you want the students to achieve?
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Set your parameters
Define the scope of the work that students will be engaged in.
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Identify resources and training needs
Identify the resources (stuff, people, physical space) that you will need.
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Don't spend too much time on planning and thinking things to death. Remember, the learning is going to be led by the students, and they just want to get started!
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Reflect, and be flexible
Don't be afraid to change course if needed.
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