Design Thinking For Upper School Students

Design Thinking provides a space for students to innovate and build soft skills essential for success in the future. 

Fran Yang, Makery Facilitator, and Technology Integration Specialist teaches Design Thinking as a part of Burke’s HEART (Health, Emotional, Awareness, Responsibility, and Time management) class. HEART is taught by five faculty members, Ms. Edwards, Ms. Hormovas, Ms. Loomis, Mr. Malek, and Mrs. Yang. 

Design Thinking is centered around experiences: teaching students to think about what they are trying to create, why they are creating something, and to be mindful of their audience. It builds upon the project-based learned skills that students in the Lower School practice in the Makery, and brings students together. For instance, Burke’s annual Big Sister Little Sister Book Project brings together fourth-grade Big Sisters and Little Sister kindergarteners in a fun writing and reading project. Design Thinking teaches students to take creative risks, and challenges them to be more open-minded when seeking solutions to a problem.
Students create a digital portfolio in Seesaw. Seesaw is a relatively new learning management software for students to post their work and document their thinking for teachers and peers. It has been a productive way for students to collaborate together virtually regardless of location. 
Of course, there have been some changes to the way that Design Thinking is taught and delivered in this unusual year. It has been a real challenge to ensure that students engaging in distance learning have the same materials as students engaging in the hybrid in-person experience. Ms. Yang worked with Phil King, Director of Technology, to put together Makery kits for 150 students, which they then distributed to cohort spaces and mailed to distance learners. (Click here for a little peek behind the curtain to see how the kits were put together!) 
Ms. Yang always likes to encourage upcycling, and with distance learning, students get to repurpose what they already have at home. Another way that Ms. Yang bridges the gap for students collaborating in different locations is through Bookcreator, an app where Ms. Yang can provide an accessible online textbook that can be updated for students in real time.  Although this past year has been a challenge, as you can see the Makery has more than risen to meet it. Use this link to have a look at Makery Remote Game/Sport Creations!
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.


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7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
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