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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.

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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.


The topic of Makerspaces was a fairly new concept for many attending this chat although the idea has been gathering ‘STEAM’ for several years. A big thank you to all those who contributed links. Hopefully, you will find what you’re looking for below. A full transcript of the chat can be found here.

Makerspaces are known by a variety of names including Hackerspaces, Fab Labs, and Maker Faire. Although the definition of a makerspace is generally a technology-based extension of DIY culture which can include such things as 3D printers, robotics, microprocessors, “smart” materials, and programming languages; it was also acknowledged that practically any space used for making things could qualify as one. It was agreed that they are here to stay and definitely of interest to gifted children who are creative.

STEAMmaker logoSTEAMmaker Camp from ESSDACK


Makerspaces – The Future of Education TEDx Luxembourg (YouTube 4:34)

What is a Makerspace? Creativity in the Library

Hackerspace (Wikipedia)

A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources

From Stacks to Hacks: Makerspaces & Librarybox

The Makings of Maker Spaces, Part 1: Space for Creation, Not Just Consumption

Library as Makerspace: Creating and Nurturing Communities of Teen Writers

Making Things in Academic Libraries

Makerspace Directory 

Maker Community Groups 

Hacker Spaces Directory 

7 Things You Should Know about Makerspaces

Is It a Hackerspace, Makerspace, Techshop or FabLab?

Designing a School Makerspace from @edutopia

Make Space: The Book (Website)

There’s a Maker Faire in That iPad! 10 Ways to Create Student Makers with Apps

The Maker Movement Believes In ‘Kid Power’

The Maker Movement Can Give Students ‘A Story to Tell’

6th Graders Planning a Model of the London Eye w/ K’nex (via Vine)

A Movement in the Making

Makeathon @ University of Michigan

Harvard Wants to Know: How Does the Act of Making Shape Kids’ Brains?

Makerspaces – #MakerEd Page from @cybraryman1

What Is the Maker Movement and Why Should You Care?

You Can Make What You Imagine: Hsing Wei for TEDx (YouTube 7:42)

How the Maker Movement is Transforming Education

24 Unique Maker Education Resources For Teaching & Learning

Making a Makerspace: The Physical Space is (Relatively) Finished!

Want to Start a Makerspace at School? Tips to Get Started

Commentary: How to Get a Job at Google

B.O.S.S. HQ Is Now Open for Business

Three Column Network

World Maker Faire New York 2013

STEAMmaker Camp from ESSDACK

Make (Pinterest Board) from Terri Eichholtz

Makerspace Playbook (pdf)

Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families (book – Amazon)

Sometimes We Just Need to Throw Out The Instructions

How to Make a Mini Maker Space for Mini Makers

21 Incredible Maker Ed Kits for Learning

Invent to Learn (book)

Design Squad Nation from PBS Kids

Built by Kids

DIY Earn Skills Become a Maker

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