Design Thinking & the LAUNCH Book Review

Updated: Jun 14



If you are a teacher that thinks that you aren't creative or is hesitant to incorporate design thinking into your classroom, this book is for you. The creation process can happen in a structured, cyclical fashion. Don't get me wrong... the actual act of creating can get messy, but, if done well, it's an organized mess. There is a way to plan for an end product that allows students to take control of that design process. Essentially, no two projects will be exactly the same, but the standards are all met along the way.


The book that I'm referencing is LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Master in Every Student by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani.


I'm currently working on designing a LAUNCH book study for The Educator's Book Club. The study begins on June 1, 2020 and will take place Mon-Fri for four weeks (a total of 20 days).

Relating it to teaching, the process of design thinking is very similar to curriculum development. We know what the end goal is, but we have to figure out how to get there. We have to analyze the available tools and resources, determine what our students currently understand, and develop a course of action. We begin organizing the standards into units and then break that down into smaller


chunks or lessons. I mean, I could go on, but you're probably getting the idea. There are so many elements to developing a sound curriculum AND the curriculum will be adjusted again the next year to fit the needs of the new class.


Teachers already incorporate a similar development process to what is taught in LAUNCH!


The development process taught in LAUNCH is called the LAUNCH cycle. In fact "launch" is an acronym to help remember the cycle.


The LAUNCH Cycle

Look, Listen, and Learn
Ask Lots of Questions
Understand the Problem or Process
Navigate Ideas
Create
Highlight What's Working and Failing


This model reminds me a lot of the ADDIE Model, pictured here. In fact, you can probably think of another model this may remind you of as well, such as Agile development.


The "L", "A", and "U" in launch can fall in the Analysis section. "N" fits with Design. "C" is Develop. And "H" fits with Evaluate.


The only element that I wish fit in the acronym was a place for Implementation. Although, in the book, this falls well into the chapter for "Highlight What's Working and Failing," so it's definitely not a missing element of the book.


All in all, what makes this book stand out among other books related to STEAM education is it's ability to break down the process. This process is used by software developers and engineers. It naturally teaches the 21st century skills that our students will need as they enter the workforce, and the content in this book is relevant no matter what technologies you use today or in ten years. The only difference between the LAUNCH cycle and what designers use in a corporate setting is that the acronym is designed to specifically be easy for students to understand and follow. But... that's a very small difference when you consider how easily you can translate these acronyms to well-known models in development industries.




I can't wait to start the JUNE book study on LAUNCH and I hope you will join us!


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