Design Thinking in Schools

Design Thinking in Schools A Leader’s Guide to Collaborating for Improvement

John B. Nash
paper, 192 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-419-9
Price: $31.00

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School innovation expert John B. Nash demonstrates how design thinking can be adapted successfully by busy school leaders seeking student-centered solutions to a range of challenges. Based on a decade of work teaching school leaders nationally and internationally, Design Thinking in Schools shows how leaders can adopt a design thinking mindset to uncover problems and harness the ideas and energy of students and other stakeholders to create unique, effective solutions within a single semester or school year.


Schools were not built for the adults who work there. They were built for the students and the communities they serve. John Nash provides a ‘how-to’ guide for using design thinking principles in our schools. When we understand and empathize with our end users, we are able to create and test possible solutions to any problem we face. If you follow the blueprint laid out by Nash, you will be able to meet the changing needs of the next generation of students. — Nick Polyak, superintendent, Leyden School District 212, Illinois

As the education sector continues to careen into a period of change of historical proportions, Design Thinking in Schools is perfectly timed for school leaders navigating turbulent waters. This accessible guide for school change keeps students and teachers at the center of the work to ensure deep, meaningful, sustainable, and long overdue shifts in traditional schooling. — Chad S. Ratliff, lab schools principal, Albemarle County Public Schools, Virginia

...[despite] growing interest in connecting design to education, it is not always clear what this should look like in practice. Design Thinking in Schools: A Leader’s Guide to Collaborating for Improvement seeks to address this gap with a set of clear processes, resources, and tools aimed at supporting design thinking in systemic ways in schools, districts, and the broader educational community. — Teachers College Record

Design Thinking in Schools provides educators with a process by which they can look inside their own community as a resource for ideas, experience and creativity. Nash introduces a framework and process eas­ily adaptable by users to meet the specific needs of a school. — School Administrator

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About the Author

John B. Nash is an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Kentucky, where he specializes in the design and prototyping of innovations in education and teaches a range of courses on design thinking, school technology leadership, and school reform. He is also the founding director of the Laboratory on Design Thinking in Education (dLab), an initiative within the University of Kentucky’s College of Education. Nash is a former associate director for evaluation at the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning and former associate director of assessment and research at the Stanford Learning Laboratory.

Table of Contents



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