The Design Thinking School

Design Thinking can be a powerful vehicle for deeper learning of content, more divergent thinking and building the thinking skills capacity of learners. Key to the process’s success in learning, is that it provides the platform for learners to become problem finders. At a time when design thinking tends to come across as “shop” class and post-it notes, NoTosh have spent four years developing medium- and long-term professional development programmes with schools around the world, which marry design and education research with classroom practices that work in any part of curriculum. We’ve seen schools increase student engagement, content coverage and attainment thanks to the challenging way we frame design thinking and formative assessment, together, as a vehicle for creative and robust learning.


2017 will bring new challenges with changes to curriculum.  Ideally I would like to see us get to a place where we can challenge our children with an appropriate level of academic rigour but also provide them an opportunity to explore  their creative and technological skills.

Notosh is a company that works with schools and other organisations to promote learning and design thinking.

This might be a dream at this stage but as they say… “Aim ever higher”


4 Great Augmented Reality Apps for teaching Science


Augmented Reality is the term used by apps which overlay content on top of real world objects. Imagine viewing a textbook page through your iPad and the pictures come to life with sound and animations.

This can have some great educational uses. From bringing spacecraft or animals into the classroom, to bringing worksheets to life with interactive 3D models.

The tech is still in its infancy. At the moment you still need to view things through some kind of device – a tablet, phone or webcam. Can you imagine what this would be like when viewed through something like Google Glass? But that’s something for the future.

There’s many different apps out there, but here are a few of my favourites that could be used to teach Science.

Elements 4D

Elements 4D is an AR chemistry app for iOS and Android devices which provides a fun way to look at various different chemical reactions.

The app uses blocks that are inscribed with the symbols of 36 elements from the periodic table. The site will eventually sell ready-made cubes, but you can download paper templates for free here.

When viewed through the app, these blocks instantly transform a simple, inanimate object into dynamic, dimensional, 4D representations of each element. Place them close together and they’ll react!

You can read more on Elements 4D here


ZooKazam is a fun app for IOS that allows you to bring wild animals into the classroom without all the mess and inevitable legal action. When the targets are viewed through the app, an animal will magically appear. You could get a whale on your desk, or a hippo in your school hall!

If you are teaching about animals with your class then this is an app well worth getting. Children could create images of different habitats, and then use the target to bring the correct animal into the scene. They could create images of different animals and then label them to show their main features – use them for classification. It could even be used as a prompt for creative writing.

You can read more about ZooKazam here

Nasa Spacecraft 3D

NASA’s Spacecraft 3D is a free app for iOS devices that lets you learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used by NASA to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe.

The app includes Curiosity, Hubble, Cassini and more!  Hold your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch up and point it at the marker and the spacecraft will appear. Choose from different animations to show how different parts of the craft work – such as Curiosity’s robot arm or antenna unfurl.

You can read more about Spacecraft 3D here

Anatomy 4D

Anatomy 4D is a very cool free app which allows you to explore an augmented reality 3D body. The app provides models of the human body as well as an interactive heart. You can peel back the layers on the body to see the different systems, such as the skeleton.

You can read more on Anatomy 4D here.

The LAUNCH Cycle : A Design Thinking Framework


Sometimes we don’t have all the answers and providing students with an opportunity to solve problems or design solutions is a powerful part of the learning process.

Design thinking is generally defined as an analytic and creative process that engages a person in opportunities to experiment, create and prototype models, gather feedback, and redesign


Other resources:

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Cheat Sheet for Teachers


Here is a handy cheat sheet we have been working on during the last few days. This is basically a collection of  some of the best apps and web tools to use for each of the six thinking levels in Bloom’s digital taxonomy. This work is based on resources we have previously reviewed and shared in Bloom’s Taxonomy section here in EdTech and mLearning. We invite you to check it out and share with us your feedback.


STEM hub for schools


Innovations and technological advancements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) play a key role in our lives. Not only do they fuel gains in economic productivity, but they also drive improvements to our lives through new inventions and discoveries. The value of STEM to our future is now widely recognised across the globe.

One of the Department of Education and Training’s priorities is to support schools in delivering a world-class STEM education to every young Queenslander. We are committed to preparing Queensland students to take advantage of the opportunities provided by our changing world.

To achieve this, we are focusing on creating a culture of high achievement in STEM education by building teacher capability, lifting student achievement and increasing student participation in STEM. For further information on this, read more on the following pages.

Design Thinking & the Future of Education


Curiosity is the jet fuel for your creativity

Empathy = Design Thinking =Creativity & Curiosity

“Design thinking,” I learned quickly, is difficult to pin down into a single definition. The’s online fact sheet boasts design thinking as providing “a glue that brings teammates together around a common goal: make the lives of the people they’re designing for better.” Design thinking classes are focused on “creating innovators rather than any particular innovation,” and the art of design thinking is best learned by doing.





Critical and Creative Thinking Pedagogies

critical-thinking-humanities Leigh and I had an opportunity to attend this workshop at UQ today…day 1 of 2 days…I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and had really signed up believing there might be a link to some ideas I had been having about making our teaching and learning more creative and engaging.  I had signed up just after I had read the work about curiosity and presented the session on student free days…with that in mind it turned out to be different than what I thought but still interesting and worth considering when we look at what is important for our students.  It’s focus today was more about critical thinking and the importance of the values of inquiry in our classes.  We covered a lot of things today and I won’t go into them at this point but it warrants further research.  We were presented with 3 Imperatives at the end of the day:

  1. Shift the focus from knowledge to inquiry
  2. Speak and plan in the language of student cognition
  3. Work collaboratively when thinking can be shared

Some other resources:

And just for fun: