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Create Authentic Learning Experiences With Design Thinking

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Saturday, December 5, 8:30–9:20 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Cheryl Chauncey  
Brian Whitson  

Explore how teachers can apply design thinking to connect their curriculum into authentic learning experiences with real world connections. Examples of student work will be shared. Participants will have the opportunity to experience a modified design-thinking activity and generate ideas with feedback to apply in classrooms.

Audience: Teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Access to Google Docs, camera on mobile device, and Flipgrid.
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will apply the tool of Design Thinking for students to identify a problem to be solved for a childrens' book character (due to the online nature of the presentation and lack of break out rooms). They will use empathy to develop a better understanding of the identified character, determine the character's needs, and generate a problem to be solved. They will ideate several solutions and create feedback from their character. Once they receive feedback, they will build a prototype that addresses the problem previously identified. Throughout the process, they will consider how their creation solves the identified problem/need. Additionally, they will be challenged to use different technology tools. Those tools may include but not limited to Adobe Spark, Pic Collage, Canva, Google Drawings, and other tools. Evidence of success will be demonstrated by their partner's response and a Flipgrid reflection where they address how well they solve the identified problem and met the needs of their partner.


A hyperdoc will be provided to participants that will direct the overall presentation. An introduction to Design Thinking will be provided as well as an introduction to the importance of empathy (10 mins). Participants will select a character in a story and conduct a needs assessment of the character using an empathy map (5 mins). A brief discussion of the insights obtained will follow (5 mins) with the selection of a need (5 mins) and "dig deeper." Participants will then identify a problem/challenge for their character and create possible solutions through ideation with theoretical feedback from their character (10 mins). Participants will then create a prototype for their character (10 mins). We will conclude with participants posting their creation and explanations along with final reflections to Flipgrid. Resources for additional Design Thinking activities and connections will be shared.

Supporting research

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Cheryl Chauncey, Ben L Smith High School
Brian Whitson, NC Dept of Public Instruction

After teaching 15 years as a science and STEM educator at Salisbury High School, I transitioned to being an instructional technology facilitator for China Grove Middle School. Recently I returned to the classroom to serve as a Design Thinking / Challenge Based Learning instructor at North Rowan High School This past year, I returned back to China Grove Middle to serve as an Design & Learning Innovations Instructional Coach where I work with teachers implementing Design Thinking and Challenge Based Learning.

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