Lecture    ED4350
Design Thinking: A Pathway to Innovation in Education
Brian Donnelly
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Key to the successful implementation of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning is the development and implementation of innovative strategies that will support students in thinking across disciplines. This class highlights how the “design thinking” process, a methodology that has been successfully applied in business and multiple fields of design, can serve as a powerful tool for operationalizing STEAM learning in secondary education by promoting 21st-century skills related to creativity, critical analysis, collaboration, communication, and content mastery. The class will draw connections between design thinking and new research in the area of cognition and learning that challenge traditional educational policies and practices. Examples from the Digital STEAM workshop will be used to illustrate the potential of technology enhanced design thinking to support the successful integration of STEAM learning in secondary education.

Key Learnings

  • Describe the role that design thinking plays in shaping the projects and curricular resources
  • Explain the significance of the arts (the "A" in STEAM) in relationship to STEM learning
  • List the principles of design thinking and explain the relationship of these “cognitive” practices to educational reform
  • Describe the research that validates the importance of design thinking as an educational methodology


 Brian Donnelly
Brian Donnelly
Brian Donnelly received a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of California, Davis where his research focused on the impact of technology on educational reform. He has 15 years of experience in higher education where he has served as a faculty member at UCLA and San Francisco State University in the discipline of industrial design. In recent years his interest in youth and learning has led him to work at the middle school level in the area of engineering design. Brian has worked for 8 years as a full time industrial designer with several Silicon Valley product development firms. He holds 7 U.S. patents and served as president of a joint U.S./ Taiwanese design and manufacturing corporation. He was recently awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship with the UC Davis School of Engineering’s C-STEM Center (Computing in STEM education).

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