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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Identifying secondary school teachers’ understandings and implementations of design thinking within a design-based research Approach Naghshbandi, Serveh


Drawing from a Design-Based Research (DBR) approach this qualitative study examines the impact of a Maker Day Professional Development event on secondary school participant teachers’ understandings of design thinking. It also explores participants’ envisioning strategies to implement the introduced concepts. Findings generate contextual design principles for more improvement in the next iterations. Design thinking, as a human-centered approach which considers empathy supports constructionist learning and encourages students and educators to identify real-world problems and offer solutions through prototyping. By using this approach in educational settings, teachers can design learning environments, and broader sets of 21st century’s required skills can be cultivated in students. In the British Columbia’s Educational Plan teachers are being asked to move towards designing 21st century’s learning environments. To support educators in making changes to their teaching practices, the Maker Days were developed to introduce design thinking and prototyping. Within the framework of DBR, data was collected from a Maker Day through sequential phases including pre- and post-event surveys and interviews concerning to what extent the Maker Day influenced participants’ understandings of design thinking, and whether the participants envision bringing the concepts into their classrooms. Drawing from a DBR approach, data was analyzed through retrospective and cross-iteration comparisons. Findings suggest the Maker Day influenced participants’ understandings of design thinking by reinforcing the values of experiential learning, introducing human-centeredness, and improving participants’ perceptions of problem finding. Notions of iteration and refinement in a design process were identified as missed points; also, design thinking was perceived more as a making-oriented action rather than challenge-oriented process. Findings also suggest participants were not passive recipients of the knowledge. They facilitated a similar process for students, and also designed a cross-curriculum course collaboratively. However, teachers have not found an effective way to integrate design thinking with the content knowledge of specific subjects but, they are interested in moving forward with their rough ideas and trying design thinking. Findings generate contextual design principles to optimize the Maker Days. These principles provide recommendations for the decision makers, researchers, and educators to be tested and validated in other contexts.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada