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Making it easy for teachers to incorporate Design Thinking/Sprint activities in the classroom

Robert Skrobe has seen the future and it's Global Virtual Design Sprints (GVDS). Building on the growing trends of remote/co-located teams and online meeting technology, he's organized people from around the world to do Lightning Decision Jams, Problem-Framing Workshops, and Design Sprints—all online.

It's a huge undertaking, with a lot of logistics to coordinate, time zones to navigate, prep work and homework. I participated in the third GVDS event, including five Problem-Framing Workshops/LDJs and two Sprints.

gvds global virtual design sprint HMWs sprint questions
gvds global virtual design sprint affinity diagram
gvds global virtual design sprint storyboard map
gvds global virtual design sprint user journey
gvds global virtual design sprint sketch
gvds global virtual design sprint outline

One of my Sprint teams took on this challenge: 'How Might We encourage schools/teachers to use Design Thinking and related activities to help students become future innovators?'

Team 'Fuzzy Bunny' (we had comical team names to keep things light) was comprised of three members from California, two from Australia, two from Chicago, and one from Vancouver.

gvds global virtual design sprint team

PROCESS

Working with an online whiteboard (MURAL), we were able to take notes, upload sketches, vote and prioritize ideas and concepts, working through the process efficiently. We got a lot done including coming up with the idea for a 'Design Box,' a retrofitted shipping container that could go to different schools containing Design Sprint ideas, supplies, and classroom activities. Our goal was to create buzz and interest, while explaining the process (if educators didn't know about it already), and making it easy for them to try the Design Sprint process in their classrooms.

We identified key audience(s), focused primarily on one (school principals), identified obstacles, filled in additional details. We mapped out our user journey, developed a user test flow, storyboard and sketches. Part of the team did research, curated images and content; some worked on the prototype (we decided to do a presentation deck depicting the concept); a few reached out to potential user testers; and others conducted the user tests and took notes.

Some of the artifacts from our whiteboard are above; and here is my take on our team's presentation deck, based on the outline we put together.

gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user test prototype
gvds global virtual design sprint user research
gvds global virtual design sprint user research

FEEDBACK

Our user testers (educators) were overall enthusiastic about the concept and thought the Design Box would generate curiosity and excitement, and encourage teachers to try a Design Sprint activity with their class. Other comments:

  • "…[doing an activity] outside of the classroom would be interesting. You tend to get into a rut just being in the classroom."
  • "Creating teams of students creates a stronger connection" than just from being in the same classroom.

Their concerns were:

  • Showing teachers how Design Sprint projects would save time overall;
  • Encouraging principals to support teachers in integrating these activities;
  • That this shouldn't feel like more professional development, which "teachers mostly get worn out by"; and
  • Thinking through how to continue an innovative and collaborative approach in classrooms after the Design Box left the school.

I learned so much and got a chance to meet and work with some talented colleagues. It was a great (and productive) experience!

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