How might we use e-tools to amplify the learning in Design Thinking?

In teaching, if an e-tool will amplify the learning we are aiming for then it is worth using that tool. Today I started musing on the learning occurring when I use Design Thinking in my classes and where e-tools may have an amplification effect.

Late last year I wrote about why I feel Design Thinking is a powerful pedagogical approach and recently I wrote about what this looks like for one of my modules.

Within this module students used e-tools to:

  • collaborate on Google Docs when generating and refining questions
  • a variety of tools for prototyping – Minecraft, house design sites, Google sites
  • a couple had website products they developed

Now these are all good uses of e-tools but I don’t feel they are unlocking an extra level of learning that other tools wouldn’t. I’m sure there is an opportunity here, I just can’t see it yet.

So, how might we use e-tools to amplify the already awesome learning that occurs during the Design Thinking process?


This post was Day 9 of My Questioning Quest.


8 thoughts on “How might we use e-tools to amplify the learning in Design Thinking?

  1. A suite of e-tools can make gathering, pooling, and analyzing observation journals, bug lists, etc fun and effective (and efficient). Linking to other “issues matchmakers” is another interesting e-tactic for DT.

    Thanks so much for these posts, Steve!

  2. I too have been pondering this. I’m also thinking about the interplay between physical environment as well as the e-tools to amplify (great verb – stealing that) design thinking. I feel as though this is a bit of an in-depth inquiry coming in for me…

    • Have had some good ideas via twitter for this from #dtk12chat people in the US. These are going to form start of an inquiry for me as well. Will curate the ideas as a starting point and share it over the next week

  3. Pingback: Design Thinking | Pearltrees

  4. Using tech to provide more frequent feedback. Yet to find the tool that I love. I’ve heard good things about Dragon Dictation, but I haven’t used it. Prototyping video presentations, perhaps using iMovie.

  5. If you were looking to find a way to maximise learning in the design thinking process, why choose E-tools? What assumptions are already at play by the time you ask the question? What’s to say you wouldn’t have deeper, richer outcomes if you asked a question that put students to work too, like “How might we use our extended whanau to amplify the learning in design thinking?”

    Swap out whanau with any other thing. See what happens. Do e-tools still come out on top for you?

    • Design Thinking is an inherently human centred approach with empathy as a critical element at play. I chose E-tools as a tight, provocative constraint to see if it threw up anything interesting worth pursuing to improve my practice. So much use of e-learning is not thought of deeply enough and does not add anything. For an e-tool to actually add to the learning in design thinking it would have to be quite a game changer (IMHO). Hence, why this question on this day. Chances are there will be plenty more questions about Design Thinking during this quest due to the large role it takes for me as a teacher.

      • Mint reasoning Steve, and I agree with your ‘game changer’ expectations of e-tools before adding them in. I wonder if we sometimes give those tools a free pass, and then expect ourselves to integrate them at the expense of using an alternative superpower that we can wield confidently and accurately. Using them as a constraint is brilliant. I wonder how many people would never think of them as such. I tend to think that group might be made up of people at each end of the IT literate spectrum.

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