As an educator with fifteen years of experience, I have been designing learning experiences since the beginning of my career. However, it was when I discovered design thinking that I finally learned a language to describe my process of design and was able to isolate and articulate the designable elements of learning experiences.
I am a constructivist. I believe that learners of any age create their own understanding of the world. I believe that it is the role of educators to design learning experiences that set the stage for students to transform the way they view themselves and the world. From my years of experience, I know that setting the stage looks more like getting out of the way than playing the role of leader. Educators can design the most productive learning for their students by carefully crafting learning experiences around interesting, challenging questions to explore and problems to solve. Thoughtful instruction can remove difficult roadblocks while leaving opportunities for productive struggle intact.
In order to put this philosophy into action, I utilize design thinking approaches to create learning experiences that empower students to dive in, work on a problem, generate lots of possibilities and prototype one possible solution to learn about what to do next. Through an empathetic approach, an emphasis on tools and artifacts, thorough organization, and a deft use of surprise, I not only plan lessons but create experiences that support and amplify students' engagement and ability to learn.
I also support this personal mission through creating learning experiences for adults to help them learn a new way of teaching and learning by experiencing it as a student first. Through facilitating these learning experiences, creating curriculum and through coaching educators on incorporating both making and design thinking into their pedagogical approaches, I am supporting the shift to student-driven instruction that develops not only content knowledge and technical skills but also students’ ability to collaborate, give and receive feedback and creatively solve challenging problems.
Click on the buttons below to see examples of learning experiences I have designed or co-designed during my time at Stanford's d.school working with the K12 Lab and SparkTruck teams, at the Deason Innovation Gym at SMU and with the SMU Maker Education Project.