Game Changer teacher information

Find out why your school and students should embrace the opportunity offered by the Game Changer Challenge.

Why is this a good opportunity?

The Game Changer Challenge has been developed by the department’s Communication and Engagement Directorate with extensive consultation and input from Futures Learning, Curriculum and Learning and Wellbeing.

During the challenge teachers will be familiarised with the design-thinking methodology and gain insights and confidence into how it can be incorporated into classroom learning. The three-day program will be facilitated by Tricky Jigsaw, a leading design-thinking and innovation consultancy with experience in delivering training within the education sector.

The challenge has been designed to introduce a culture of change around the way curriculum is taught in the classroom and to encourage the interdisciplinary application of subject content to real-world problems and the development of general capabilities in students.

How will I benefit from the challenge?

  • Teachers will gain exposure to design-thinking principles as a teaching method
  • Students will further develop their general capabilities, in particular: collaboration, critical thinking, communication skills and creativity
  • Students and teachers will engage in questions around curriculum disruption and their solutions will inform possibilities for a curriculum revolution/curriculum innovation
  • Public education stakeholders and the general public will gain insights into the ways in which NSW public education is evolving to keep pace with a changing world.

What is design thinking?

Despite its name, design thinking is not just for designers. Great innovators in disciplines as diverse as education, literature, art, music, science, engineering, community development, architecture and business utilise the design-thinking processes. Some of the world’s leading brands, such as Apple, Google, Samsung and GE have rapidly adopted the design-thinking approach, and design thinking is being taught at leading universities around the world including d.school, Stanford, Harvard and MIT.

Design thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding. It provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It is a way of thinking and working as well as a collection of hands-on methods. Design thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing an understanding of the people for whom we’re designing.

What are the benefits of design thinking in the classroom?

  • It provides a highly engaging way of learning where students learn by doing
  • It is a creative and collaborative process for problem solving that helps to draw out innovative and effective solutions
  • It develops a range of skills that employers are now seeking including creativity, communication, the ability to acquire deep knowledge and a broad understanding of the world.

How does design thinking relate to the curriculum?

Design thinking is a tool teachers can add to their pedagogical toolkit to develop future-focused skills and learning across the curriculum. In particular, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, empathy and the interdisciplinary application of knowledge to solve complex, real-world problems.

Do schools currently use design thinking, and if so, how?

Yes. Schools use different elements of design thinking in the classroom, whether implicitly or explicitly. It’s a creative way to get to the answer to a problem, and to understand how you learn.

Design thinking is also used in the school planning process. It allows schools to empathise with students, teachers and the community to understand their needs, putting the student at the centre of planning at the school level.

Design thinking is a good way to combine quantitative and qualitative data in school plans and profiles. It helps make sense of statistics, giving them a context.

Design thinking may also give schools more confidence to move in the direction of innovation and to “fail fast frequently” through the prototyping and testing phases. It builds resilience in failure, seeing failure as an important part of the innovation process rather than an outcome in itself.

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