Innovation in the Classroom: Design Thinking for 21st Century Learning

This qualitative study seeks to explore how design thinking as a new model of learning is used in classroom learning. The participants for this study are the school leader and teachers from a public middle school. Through lesson observations and interviews, this study aims to develop a fuller understanding of the motivations that drive teachers to adopt this innovative approach and the considerations they have when using it in the teaching and learning of core content. The findings showed that the teachers were not passive recipients of this new pedagogical tool and have “appropriated” it in multiple unique ways – to suit different purposes, different learning contexts and their different subjects. Another key finding is that mastery of academic core content still drives how design thinking is used to intersect with classroom learning. This study thus emphasizes the need to promote 21st century skills and academic content knowledge as similarly important student outcomes. The cultivation of a broader set of skills and dispositions beyond core content knowledge is critical, and they merit the investment of more time in the classroom.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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