Solving Problems by Design (Years 5-6)
Technology is intervention by design. How do you get your ākonga using a good design process? What is the design process anyway? Explore the relationship between design and digital technology with this resource.
Solving Problems by Design
Joanne Roberts: Kia ora koutou, I’m Joanne Roberts.
Karl Summerfield: And I’m Karl Summerfield.
Joanne: In this presentation, Solving Problems by Design, we are going to cover what a design process can look like and how you’d use that with your students.
This diagram is really good at showing how students can take something that is ‘not mine’, perhaps an app they are using, that they are just a user of, and, with a little bit of modifying, taking account of what they want it to actually do for themselves or the end user. They can refine it, and change it, and make it into something that really is theirs and they have created themselves.
Karl: In the technology learning area the design process is to be found in the Technology Practice strand. The diagram that we have on the left there is the Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko design process we use when we are talking about it.
Design processes have many different parts. There are many different design processes but mainly they come down to the eight steps. Most design processes have them in some form.
The first step of a design process is having a meaningful problem to solve. All our progress outcomes talk about working in an authentic context. That means trying to find a problem that’s meaningful and relevant to your learners.
Empathy is an important step - getting to understand who are the end-users of your outcomes will be. It’s a really good idea to get kids focusing on working for somebody else. If you can find somebody that is not their classmate, that’s even better. It’s very important to put yourself into somebody else’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.
Brainstorming’s a really important process. Many ideas is the goal here. The more ideas you have the more likely you have something that’s going to work. Pushing them to come up with many different ideas is important.
Once you’ve done your brainstorm, you take an idea and you work out if it is something you can actually make. You develop it into a thing that you can do.
Then you have to have a go at building it, making part of it, testing it, maybe going back, maybe making some changes.
You might loop back to various stages in the process. You might need to go and find out more about your users, or find out more about the problem and then make some changes to your design.
Eventually, hopefully, you end up with a finished solution that you can hand over that solves the problem for somebody else.
Karl: There are many different design processes. There’s no such thing as ‘the’ design process. Each design process has different aspects, different facets, different features. Here’s four different versions. They all tend to have some form of those steps and some way of showing that you go back around to visit different steps.
This design process is a New Zealand one. We like the idea of untangling and ending up with a, taking your ideas through to a nice, straight string.
Another thing it is good to emphasise is that the design process isn’t new. Any design process is similar to a lot of other processes that happen, for example the writing process shown here.
If you are wanting to learn more about incorporating design processes, we can heartily recommend Pīkau 22 on the Kia Takatū ā-Matihiko website, along with Pīkau 21 which talks about incorporating authentic contexts.
As part of Pīkau 22, there’s this A3 design canvas or sheet. This can be put in front of kids or groups of kids. It steps them through the process of asking the right questions and generating the right output so that they can take their design through to the point where they can start to build it.
Joanne: Hopefully this has helped you to see that the idea of a design process is not scary. You can find one that will work with your students and it helps them to get those awesome final products out there.
Ka kite anō. Good luck with your work.
Karl: See you later, and happy designing.
How to use this resource
Technology is intervention by design. This resource gives examples to support your students to use a design process and explores the relationship between design and digital technology. Watch the video first then check out the slide deck for more information.
To find out how other teachers have experienced the design process with their students join the Ngā Kiriahi discussion.