Henry Ford Learning Institute Offers Educators Seven Key Questions to Consider When Choosing a Design Thinking Workshop Provider

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Interest in the application of design thinking in education is growing. HFLI, an early and experienced implementer, has released a resource for educators to help them make a more informed decision when selecting design thinking workshops and ongoing support.

HFLI Executive Director Deborah Parizek

Over the past 10 years, we’ve come to identify several components educators should look for to find an effective learning experience. With limited time and resources, it’s important to choose opportunities that have the greatest potential to meet your particular needs.

Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI) has released a resource for educators who are selecting a professional development provider. HFLI’s list of seven questions reflects key components of high-quality design thinking workshops and ongoing support.

A 2017 report by WISE and IDEO, “Thinking & Acting Like a Designer: How design thinking supports innovation in K-12 education,” highlights three key conclusions about the application of this human-centered design process in education:

1. Design thinking can be used to fundamentally reimagine school models and systems.
2. Design thinking supports change in school culture by transforming how educators work together.
3. Design thinking encourages student development of twenty-first century skills.

“As interest in design thinking continues to grow, there are increasing numbers of professional development providers from which to choose,” said Deborah Parizek, Executive Director of Henry Ford Learning Institute. “But, not all opportunities bring the same value to educators. Over the past 10 years, we’ve come to identify several components educators should look for to find an effective learning experience. With limited time and resources, it’s important to choose opportunities that have the greatest potential to meet your particular needs. Whether you select to work with HFLI or another provider, we want to help you choose wisely.”

HFLI suggests that educators consider the following list of seven questions when choosing a design thinking professional learning opportunity:

1.     Does the provider have the education and instructional expertise to develop and deliver an engaging and effective learning experience that is attuned to its participants?
2.     Does the provider use strong design skills to develop high-quality design thinking content, methods, and tools and provide thoughtful guidance on their application?
3.     What is the ratio of coaches to participants in the session(s)?
4.     Does the provider understand current challenges in education and daily demands on educators?
5.     Does the provider demonstrate capacity to support ongoing educator development?
6.     Has the provider worked with a broad range of schools and learners?
7.     What do others share about their experience with the provider?

HFLI is an early implementer of design thinking in education. This list of questions is backed by a decade of experience with design thinking workshops envisioned, designed and delivered by HFLI, and the feedback from past participants that has helped to refine them. Today, HFLI pairs education and instructional expertise with knowledge and skills from design professionals to provide open-enrollment design thinking workshops and on-site coaching for interested schools, districts, and colleges/universities. These immersive learning experiences have a maximum of eight participants to every coach. In addition, participants take away a range of design thinking tools and curricula to implement in their own setting. 97 percent of participants in HFLI’s 2017 summer workshops would recommend the experience to a colleague.

HFLI’s 2018 summer professional development workshops will again be held in Detroit, Mich. and San Antonio, Texas. The series includes Introduction to Design Thinking for Educators, which is for those new to this human-centered process, and Innovation Collaborative for Design Thinking, for educators who want to expand their current knowledge and deeper learning opportunities for students. To make Intro to Design Thinking more accessible, HFLI is offering educators from Title I schools a considerable scholarship; to learn more contact design thinking [at] hfli.org.

The third workshop in the series, Innovation Leadership, is an immersive experience created for educators and administrators who want to work together to identify opportunities for change in their schools and design small-scale prototypes that have the potential to lead to big-scale change. No previous design thinking experience is required.

About Henry Ford Learning Institute
Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI) is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 by The Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company Fund to model new ways of teaching and learning. HFLI serves nearly 2,100 students and 175 staff members at four K-12 urban Henry Ford Academies. Dedicated to redesigning how we learn, HFLI envisions, designs, and delivers workshops and site coaching for K-20 education, workplace learning initiatives, and youth programs. Together with its partners, HFLI is empowering learners to think creatively, work collaboratively with others, and implement innovations. Learn more at http://www.hfli.org, on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/hfli.

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