The Hour of Code, organized by Code.Org, is a global movement that has inspired tens of millions of students to learn to code in 180+ countries. In today’s technology-driven world, there is a growing demand for computer programming jobs, but, not enough skilled individuals to fill these positions. Educating children, starting very early, in computer science and technology, helps develop essential skills that will prepare them for 21st century jobs. How do we engage young children in learning to code and especially creating code that matters in today’s world? Here we discuss using Design Thinking methods in the context of meaningful computer science education.
What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is a creative design-based thinking process that helps you first define a problem and then develops solutions with the end user in mind. The main premise of design thinking is to create and test ideas in order to learn and improve on these ideas.
Empathize identify and immerse yourself with the user’s needs and experiences.
Define synthesize the findings from your empathy work to specify the problem to be solved
Ideate brainstorm and identify the solutions and motivations of the end user
Prototype Transform the idea into a prototype for the end user
Test Try out and learn about the user experience with the prototype and refine your original thinking of the problem and experience.
Using Design Thinking for Meaningful Computer Science Education.
MIT D-Lab’s Jessica Artiles recently presented in Boston, USA, about using design thinking to achieve meaningful computing for children. Some of the points that came up were:
- Coding skills that can be used to “do good” and creating code that matters to make a difference in the world.
- Problem: anyone can program, but they key is to understand that you can program computers to do useful things for you. The current educational system does not prepare most kids to create programs that matters.
- As parents and educators, we can empower kids to create things that matter with computer science and technology.
How do you use Design Thinking to Create Code that Matters?
Empathize. Understand the need for creating computer technology that matters.
Define. Synthesize the specific problem of the lack of current education in creating technology that matters.
Ideate. Brainstorm solutions and motivations for kids to create code.
Prototype. Identify and create opportunities for kids to learn and create technology that can be used at home, their community, the world.
Test. Try out the learning opportunities for kids and use what drives them to create things such as looking for real-world problems or applications that are personally meaningful and relevant to them.
Have you used Design Thinking for any educational activities?
What do you find motivates kids to participate in creating technologies for today and the future?