With design thinking, students have agency in the classroom. Students identify problems, brainstorm creative ideas, and build authentic and meaningful solutions.
When implemented with proper support, technology is a tool that can be used to amplify learning during the design thinking process.
For today’s blog post, I am sharing my favorite edtech tools that support design thinking.
For more posts on design thinking, you can check out some other posts here:
- Design Thinking in the Elementary Classroom
- Design Thinking Project Ideas for Elementary Classrooms and Back to School
- Teaching Empathy Through Design Thinking in the Elementary Classroom
Please Note: I recommend trying out just one of these tools in a lesson with students, rather than incorporating all five into a single project.
For Empathizing and Defining
Newsela is a literacy-focused, online news platform for the classroom. Newsela offers standards-aligned reading materials and news for every subject area.
Students can practice their nonfiction reading skills with high-interest articles that meet students where they are at.
In design thinking, students are often tasked with developing a solution to real-world problem. Newsela brings real-world events into the classroom, in age-appropriate ways.
Teachers can use Newsela to help students empathize with stories and identify a challenging problem for their design thinking projects.
#2: Google Jamboard
As part of the Google Suite, Jamboard is a digital whiteboard that allows for real-time collaboration and brainstorming anytime, anywhere.
With Jamboard, students can map out their ideas from start to finish, using a variety of creative tools including the pen and sticky note tools.
In design thinking, I have found that Jamboard works well for sticky-note style brainstorming sessions, called “ideating.”
In this video, I walk you through some of the basic features of the tool, including the ways it can be used for brainstorming, sharing ideas, and checking for understanding.
Popplet is a simple tool for capturing and organizing ideas. Popplet allows students to jot down their ideas and sort them visually.
While Google Jamboard offers more flexibility as a blank digital whiteboard, Popplet provides students with more structure, encouraging them to mind-map their ideas.
Students can use Popplet to brainstorm and organize ideas in order to make sense of the information they are learning. For this reason, Popplet is a great tool for ideating.
Tinkercad is a free, kid-friendly, online 3D modeling program that is used in many STEM classrooms, but can be used in any subject area. Students can use Tinkercad to design, modify, and print 3D objects.
With Tinkercad, students can create 3D prototypes of their ideas, bringing the design thinking process to life.
Students can actually build a solution to an authentic problem, and later test out their designs as part of the Testing Stage of design thinking.
#5: Explain Everything
Explain Everything is an online digital whiteboard, but unlike Google Jamboard, it can be used to create videos and screenrecordings where students and teachers explain a concept.
Explain Everything is a presentation tool.
Once students have completed the design thinking process, they can explain their designs and learning using Explain Everything. Students can create a visual, whiteboard-style presentation to present their work with the class or community.
Explain Everything is a great way for students to test their ideas and get feedback from others.
What other edtech tools would you add to this list? What apps or websites do you like to use for teaching design thinking? You can let me know by writing a comment below or sending me a DM on Instagram @edtechclass – I’d love to hear from you!