On Friday, May 1, the Network for Educator Effectiveness hosted a webinar presented by Dr. Leigh Neier titled “Teach by design: Rethinking default settings to achieve student-centered classroom culture.” Dr. Neier is an associate professor in the Department of Learning, Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Missouri College of Education.

In the session, Dr. Neier discusses Design Thinking principles and processes that can help educators make small but intentional innovative changes to the “business as usual” mentality in our schools and classrooms.

You can watch the full webinar and access Design Thinking resources below.


Examples of Design Thinking in K-12 Education and Beyond

Design Challenge Tools

Empathy Map (to accompany Step One: Empathize)

Design Thinking Empathy Map grid - Say, think, do, feel.

Sample POV Statement (to accompany Step Two: Define)

________________ (name) is a ________________ (describe for whom you are solving) who needs (describe the problem you’re solving) in a world that is ________________ (insight into user’s unique context and challenges).

3×3 Brainstorming Grid: Aim for a mix of “blue sky” and “grounded” ideas (to accompany Step Three: Ideate)

Design Thinking 3x3 Brainstorming Grid

Presentation References

  • Brown, T. (2019). Change by design, revised and updated: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. United States: HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Gallagher, A. & Thordarson, K. (2018). Design Thinking for School Leaders: Five Roles and Mindsets That Ignite Positive Change. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
  • Lang, J.M. (2016). Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Lang, J.M. (2019, January 4). How to Teach a Good First Day of Class. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/advice-firstday
  • Stachowiak (B). (Host). (2019, October 10). Design Thinking in Teaching and Research (No. 278) [Audio podcast episode]. In Teaching in Higher Ed.

Download PDF: Teach By Design Webinar Links, Resources, and References