Educational Technology and Design Thinking is an interdisciplinary educational partnership between Parsons and a middle school population to teach design thinking skills to produce interactive and generative experiences with emerging visual, audio technologies such as Augmented, Virtual, and Extended Reality on the web and in interactive experiences.

The students will focus on how learning works by designing and testing educational technologies ranging from service design to emerging computer-based technologies. We will create experiences, environments, and characters for making socially and culturally important projects as they apply to citizen science and community activism.

Throughout this semester we will unpack what Peter Miller, Dean of Graduate Studies at Bard said:

“What is Design Thinking? It’s an approach to problem-solving based on a few easy-to-grasp principles that sound obvious: “Show Don’t Tell,” “Focus on Human Values,” “Craft Clarity,” “Embrace Experimentation,” “Mindful of Process,” “Bias Toward Action,” and “Radical Collaboration.” These seven points reduce to five modes — empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test — and three headings: hear, create, deliver. That may sound corporate and even simplistic, but design thinking has been used to tackle issues like improving access to economic resources in Mongolia, water storage and transportation in India, and elementary and secondary education and community building in low-income neighborhoods in the United States.”

At the same time, we will also collaborate with middle school students and community groups to sharpen our communication skills and our generative thinking abilities about the ill-structured problems of citizen science and community activism. Our topic of study this semester is storm effluent and pollution clean-up efforts of The Hudson River in New York State and New Jersey. We will follow the journey of one piece of trash into the river and, eventually, the Atlantic Ocean where it becomes part of five ocean gyres of plastic and garbage that affect all living beings on our planet.


Learning Community Charter School