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Design Thinking with Guest, Krissy Venosdale

gtchat 06142016 Design Thinking


Our guest today was Krissy Venosdale, Innovation Coordinator at The Kinkaid School in Houston, TX. You can learn more about Krissy at her website.

For this week’s chat, the second chat in our #gtchat Professional Development Summer Series, we wanted to look at design thinking, makerspaces and deep learning as they relate to gifted education. Design Thinking can be thought of as a process; a ‘way of thinking’. It enables you to face and answer challenges. The steps to be followed are Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. As Krissy explained, Design Thinking “originated from the idea that we must know our users when we create for them – an excellent way to get kids thinking about others!” Michael Buist, a 5th grade teacher at the Knox Gifted Academy reminded us, “many GT/2E kids see the world in more intricate ways than most of us ever will.” A great reason why Design Thinking resonates with many of them.

When it come to resources, Krissy told us that, “You can find them free online. Think of the steps as a structure and make it work for your classroom.” When considering professional development, Krissy said, “form a group of teachers to try it with; share ideas; support each other. Read a guide together.” Although resources are important, design thinking is more a mindset to re-imagine how we view education.

The discussion then turned to Design Thinking challenges which are an open-ended format that works well for events and  competitions. Krissy explained, “Design Challenges can be as quick as, design a boat with a piece of paper that will hold as many paperclip passengers as possible or as complex as, design and build an invention to improve the campus recycling issue. [And] the beauty? No limits in Design Thinking; it’s open ended and INVITES kids to imagine, create, and explore. Things deep-thinkers LOVE!”

“Just don’t think of Design Thinking as “one more thing to do. It’s an oven to bake the learning in. Tastes better than a microwave!” ~ Krissy Venosdale

Can Design Thinking be integrated with gifted education models? As a pedagogy directed at creating innovation, it can be integrated into pull-outs, stand-alones as well as independent studies. Design Thinking gives gifted students the opportunity to explore passions and decide on priorities. DT challenges speak to the academic mindset and can be initiated in multi-age, cross curricular environments. According to Krissy, “Design Thinking is a totally natural fit in gifted education. Process is emphasized, along with creativity; and thinking outside the box. It breaks down the walls of perfectionism. You aren’t worried about being right if iteration is encouraged.”

At this point in the chat, many participants were already hinting at the synergy between Design Thinking and ‘making’. Design Thinking serves as a catalyst to making; a framework to understanding the process of making. Krissy excitedly pointed out, “Design Thinking is all about the process, iterating, prototyping… maker mindset galore! Joy and play belong, too! Maker mindset BELONGS in gifted programs. GT programs need to be the MOST INNOVATIVE places on campus.”

“Too many kids are starving for creativity like little birds with their mouths open.. waiting. It’s time to FEED them. All of these new ideas, can give gifted education a much needed refresh and update! “ ~ Krissy Venosdale

How does design thinking affect deeper learning; a much desired requisite for gifted education?Deeper Learning is a mix of knowledge; critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. It facilitates learning how to learn; an intricate part of deeper learning. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity & Bring Out the Maker in Every Student (Amazon)

Design Thinking in Education: Empathy, Challenge, Discovery & Sharing

An Educator’s Guide to Design Thinking (pdf)

Design Thinking in Schools

Designers: Think Big! (TED Talk 16:50)

45 Design Thinking Resources for Educators

How the Maker Movement Is Moving Into Classrooms

The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators (Email req’d for download)

Design Thinking in the Primary & Elementary Grades via @krissyvenosdale

5-Minute Film Festival: Design Thinking in Schools 

Design Thinking in Schools: An Emerging Movement Building Creative Confidence in our Youth

Design Thinking Projects and Challenges

Culture by Design

Embracing Failure as a Necessary Part of Deeper Learning

The Deeper Learning Network (pdf)

Teaching Kids Design Thinking, So They Can Solve the World’s Biggest Problems

How to Apply Design Thinking, HCD, UX or Any Creative Process from Scratch

Krissy Venosdale’s Blog

Makerology at

Stanford Webinar – Design Thinking = Method, Not Magic (YouTube 49:31)

Design Challenge Learning

Design Thinking in Action

What Kind of Challenges Can be Addressed Using Design Thinking?

How is Design Thinking Being Implemented in the Business World?

The Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking

Cybraryman’s Design Thinking Page

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Bootcamp Bootleg (pdf)

Montclair State University Gifted and Talented

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Special Guest: Krissy Venosdale of Venspired


Our special guest for this chat was Krissy Venosdale, aka @venspired. Known throughout the online educational community for her inspirational posters, Krissy is also the administrator at a Texas school for gifted children, past gifted education teacher, mother and future teacher in space. Krissy @venspired will be presenting at this year. Her topic will be Global Connections for Gifted Learners. 

In her own words, “I was a gifted kid that grew up to teach gifted kids. I’ve taught cluster grouping with elementary kids. I’ve also taught a pull out gifted program for several years. But now? I am a director at a gifted school @Rainard_School. I love I have a job where I get to spend days living out true passions… providing challenge & creative learning experiences.There have been many days, when I was the only gifted ed teacher in my school, got me through!” A full transcript may be found here.


Google Hangouts Guide for Teachers


Venspired’s Facebook Page


Today’s Meet


What’s the Hype with Skype?” from @venspired

Open the Door to the World” from @venspired

The Kids that Launched a Project

Cybraryman’s Ed Hashtags Page

Cybraryman’s Google Hangouts Page

Cybraryman’s Skype Page

Cybraryman’s Edmodo Page

Skype Classroom

Cybraryman’s Blogs Page

Great Day to Learn Kidvote

Mystery Skype from Venspired

Cybraryman’s Mystery Location Call Page for Skype or Google Hangouts

Should Behavior be Used to Deny Entrance to Gifted Programs?

Many behaviors were discussed during this chat which might be used by                                       school personnel to deny entrance to gifted programs. Among these                                         behaviors were immaturity, underachievement/poor grades, disruptive                               behavior in the classroom, hyperactivity, daydreaming, and not getting easy                               work done.

An important point was made by Stacia Taylor of Texas Parenting PG that too often gifted programs are seen as a reward for good grades rather than for fulfilling the needs of the gifted child. In this instance, it is easy for schools to justify who gets into the gifted program and who does not. Krissy Venosdale, former gifted teacher and new school director at a GT school, added that gifted students who don’t handle the traditional classroom setting well can be denied access to the very programs that they really need.


It was announced at the end of chat that the chat for September 13th will be moved to Thursday, September 12th  @5PM ET/4PM CT/ 22.00 UK/ 7.00 Friday AUS (ET).

A full transcript of the chat may be found here.


A Creative and Gifted Young Man Finally Gets a Chance to Succeed in School

What We Have Learned About Gifted Children” by Linda Silverman

Finally, Some Good News for Gifted and Disabled!

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?”  from Jen Merrill

They Said He Would Never Learn

Smarte Barn from Jan Bakler

The Value of Twitter Chats

This chat celebrated the 1 year anniversary of #gtchat being powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. The moderator and participants expressed their thanks to Executive Director, JJ Colburn; Past-President, Dr. Lynette Breedlove; Mrs. Deborah Mersino, Founder and First Moderator of gtchat; Assistant Executive Director, Tracy Weinberg and the fabulous staff at TAGT. Nearly 60 active participants tweeted more than 500 tweets during the hour and came from 4 countries and 20 states. The week leading up to chat included over 1,000 tweets from over 200 contributors reaching over 220,000 follows with 1.86 million timeline deliveries!

The occasion was marked by the introduction of TAGT’s #gtchat Advisory Board who provide support and advice to the moderator on a weekly basis. They are Mrs. Angie French (@teachagiftedkid), GT specialist at Tomball ISD near Houston, TX; Mrs. Stacia Taylor (@TXProfoundlyPG), founder of Texas Parents for the Profoundly Gifted, member of the Board of Directors at Rainard School, and member of the NAGC’s Parent Committee; Mrs. Nicole Shannon (@LonghornNic), coordinator of Gifted & Advanced Academic Services at Round Rock ISD; Mr. Ian Byrd (@ByrdseedGifted), gifted education writer and founder of Byrdseed Gifted; and Dr. Brian Housand (@brianbousand), Assistant Professor at East Carolina University and member of the Board of Directors at the NAGC. Special thanks also to past advisors, Mrs. Tracy Fisher, Mrs. Michelle Swain and Dr. Jan Fall.

Questions during the chat revolved around the importance of Twitter chats and how they can make a difference in the lives of both parents and educators of the gifted. Near the end, participants offered suggestions about the format and future of the chat which provided much needed insight to the moderator. A full transcript of the chat may be found here.

It was announced that #gtchat will be having a LIVE chat from the 2013 Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education’s Annual Conference on Friday, April 19th at a special time 3PM EDT. Moderator, Lisa Conrad, will be available during Thursday night sessions and during the day on Friday to assist attendees in signing up for Twitter. Lisa will also be tweeting live from the conference.


#gtchat Page on #TAGT Website 

#gtchat’s Facebook Page 

Cybraryman’s Educational Chats on Twitter

Using TweetChat to Follow Educational Twitter Chats

Twitter Chats for Personal PD 

Twitter Chats: How to Survive & Thrive in a Twitter Chat… Hockey Style Eh? 

Twitter for Educators: A Tutorial for Beginners 

How Does a Twitter Chat Work?

4 Simple Ways to Get Started Teaching With Twitter

What You Should Know About Twitter Chats

6 Best Twitter Tips Every Teacher Should Know About

Social Networking – Impacting the World of Gifted Education 

A Parent’s Guide to Twitter and Education

Should I Participate in Twitter Chats?

Hoagies’ Gifted Website

Hoagies’ Facebook Page   

Teach a Gifted Kid Blog from Angie French

The Power of Twitter Chats (YouTube 31:44)

Venspired from Krissy Venosdale 

Cybraryman’s Livebinders page

Twitter Resources, Apps & Tools (Pinterest)

Texas Parents of the Profoundly Gifted

Brian Housand, PhD (website)

Byrdseed Gifted

2013 PAGE Annual Conference (Facebook)

2013 PAGE Annual Conference (website)

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