When School Shaped began the process of finding schools to partner with, we assumed that our biggest selling point would be the custom tools that would be produced and used in classrooms. When contacting schools, we talked about the benefits of the user-designed software that would be created in collaboration with the schools. However, it soon became clear that what schools cared about the most was the benefit to the community from the design process itself.
Research from the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland shows that children who are involved in a cooperative-design process experience social and cognitive enhancements. These enhancements include increased collaboration, communication, and confidence, among other things. This research also reflects what other thought-leaders in the education field are discovering: “design thinking” is critical to building a solid foundation for future learning and problem solving.
The benefits of design thinking also extend beyond K-12 students. There are many organizations focused on developing design thinking for adults, promising similar results. Readers may already be aware that the d.school at Stanford has an online crash course that takes learners through the design thinking cycle.
School Shaped’s long term goal is to build great teams who will build great edtech. In the short term however, we will provide more to our partner schools than just quality software: We will empower the community through collaborative design.