The Human Centered Design Handbook was whitepaper that I co-authored while working on a project to integrate robotics ' into K-12 curriculum. We stumbled upon this opportunity upon discovering that schools were making a big shift towards enabling students to learn by doing more 'hands on' projects. We decided to create a Human Centered Design process for K12 where students could practice techniques from design thinking, systems engineering and robotics.
TEAM: Radhika Sawhney (Design Strategist), Alec Wise (Design Strategist), Dr. Dimi Apostolopoulos (PI)
As a part of our Informed Personalized Learning (IPL) Project, we conducted research with students from K12, studying their learning tendencies and enviornment. One thing that was prevalent through the research was the advent of FAB Labs, or Fabrication Labs within schools. Inspired by the Maker Movement, schools in Pittsburgh were gravitating towards investing in tools that enable students to do more hands on projects.
We saw this as an opportunity to integrate principles of Human Centered Engineering & Design within the FAB Labs, teaching students to Design, Create and Build. We strongly believed that children would benefit greatly from learning 21st century skills such as creativity, innovation, problem solving, adaptation among others.
We developed a ‘Handbook of Design Thinking for Students’ with the purpose of teaching human centered design & systems engineering methods to middle school students as a part of the curriculum for FAB labs in local schools. Children are given problem areas, and they practice various design & systems thinking methods detailed in the handbook to solve the problem for stakeholders and build prototypes using resources available in their FAB labs.