Design Thinking in Elementary Students’ Collaborative Lamp Designing Process

Kaiju Kangas, Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, Kai Hakkarainen
2013, Vol. 18, No. 1,


Design and Technology education is potentially a rich environment for successful learning, if the management of the whole design process is emphasised, and students’ design thinking is promoted. The aim of the present study was to unfold the collaborative design process of one team of elementary students, in order to understand their multimodal ways of design thinking. The videotaped design episodes of the team constitute the data source of the study. CORDTRA diagrams were used for opening up the design process, providing means to analyse the complex and iterative process in a structured manner. The results indicate that the students’ design thinking was collaborative, materially mediated, and embodied in nature. Engaging in various concrete and material, as well as epistemic and conceptual activities provided the students with opportunities to learn the foundational design skills. Further, the multifaceted design process integrated skills needed for learning also something other than design.


design thinking; collaborative designing; embodied thinking; CORDTRA diagrams

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