Design Thinking Keynote and Workshops

Design thinking is a flexible framework for getting the most out of the creative process. It’s used in the arts, engineering, and in social and civic spaces. As educators, we can use design thinking to help our students reach their creative potential as they master the standards and develop the vital lifelong skills of empathy, collaboration, research, ideation, and iteration. Workshops can be done in-person or virtually.

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Although I work full-time as a university professor, I also deliver keynotes and provide workshops on empowering students with voice and choice. My style is hands-on, engaging, practical, and fun. I infuse each learning experience with storytelling, humor, and movement. While I tailor each the learning to the needs of your staff, here is a sampling of what type of workshops I lead.


LAUNCH Into Design Thinking

Educator Expertise: Any level

Description: Despite the myth of “digital natives,” most of my students have very little experience using technology as anything more than a consumer device. It doesn’t have to be this way. By using a design thinking framework, teachers can foster creative thinking in every content area and help students develop a maker mindset.


Getting Started with Design Thinking

Educator Expertise: Novice

Description: Design thinking projects can seem daunting when you have time constraints, standards, and a curriculum map. What does it look like? How do you even get started? In this workshop, we begin with the “why” and move into the “how.” As a group, we will do a hands-on design thinking challenge. We also focus on how the design thinking structure fits into other big ideas like PBL and inquiry-based learning.

Better By Design

Educator Expertise: Emerging

Description: So, you’ve dipped your toes in the water with design thinking but you’re not quite sure what to think. In this workshop, we focus on how to improve student collaboration and interdependency through specific structures. We also explore ways to build additional student ownership into the inquiry, research, ideation, and iteration. Finally, we examine specific assessment processes to improve self-reflection, peer assessment, and metacognition. In the end, participants co-design a specific design thinking unit.

Taking Design Thinking to the Next Level

Educator Expertise: Expert

Description: In this workshop, we focus on how to maximize the design thinking process. We explore specific structures to build interdependency and boost collaboration within student design projects. This includes creating a better launch and helping students own more of the process. We also focus on taking student self-assessment and peer assessment to the next level to maximize metacognition.  The goal here is to share the collective wisdom of the teachers in the room so that we can all learn from one another.

Contact Me About Leading a Workshop:

    Common Questions

    The following are some of the common questions people ask about the Design Thinking Workshops:

    What can we expect from a full-day workshop? 

    You can expect a hands-on, fun, thought-provoking experience. I will focus on “the why” and share relatable stories. However, we will also practice specific structures and ultimately design a design thinking unit.

    What is your expertise in design thinking?

    I used design thinking in my classroom throughout most of my 12 years of classroom teaching. I also coached teachers within my district and faciliated professional development around the country. In 2013, I spoke at the White House about a design thinking project my students did. Currently, I lead workshops all over the world with teachers  who want to implement design thinking. As a professor, I work with preservice teachers and current teachers implement design thinking. But also . . . I’m a project person. I’m always engaged in creative work and this adds a practical element to what I share. As a start-up cofounder, I’ve used design thinking in my own life. In other words, I live design thinking.

    That said, I ultimately believe in the collective wisdom of the people in the room. As a workshop facilitator, I want to help everyone share their expertise so we can grow.

    What do you offer beyond the workshop?

    Often, a school or district will have me do one-on-one coaching or work with teams in their planning after an initial workshop. I also offer affordable self-paced online professional development that I can bundle into the workshop. Furthermore, I will provide sample projects, structures, and handouts that teachers can use the moment they leave a workshop.