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First test run: piloting the Alpha version of the D-TIPS toolbox

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

After initial sketching of the first set of D-TIPS tools we reached out to several teachers and had a chance to test them. The feedback we have collected will help us move forward.

This, of course, is just an early check with the teachers. Our plan is to go through two more tests (beta 1 and beta 2) before the Toolbox is completed.

First test

The goal was to determine whether the tools currently suggested are useful for creating a design thinking activity and to learn what improvements we can make by observing how teachers interact with the toolkit.

During this pilot, teachers were invited to choose a design thinking challenge (eg. “How shall we create ways to stimulate student collaboration during homeschooling?”, “How might we redesign the classroom to accommodate the new physical distancing norm?”). These challenges were to be completed with students or other teachers.

three cards with design challenges written on them
Design challenges from the D-TIPS Toolbox Alpha version

The given material guided teachers through all the design thinking phases – Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test & Evaluate. For each phase, a compact set of tools were given. Due to Covid-19, many classrooms had to move to online environments, therefore we adapted our material to support both physical and distance learning.

Project Canvas from the D-TIPS Toolbox Alpha version

Sample of the D-TIPS Toolbox Alpha version.


These early tests allowed us to see if we’re on the right track. From the feedback we gathered, we identified a few things that we need to keep in mind while working on the Toolbox. Some of them are:

  1. There needs to be an easy-to-follow introduction to design thinking and the D-TIPS toolbox.

  2. Assist in setting and managing expectations concerning project timing and scale of activities: present projects that have been completed within different timeframes.

  3. With more material, the toolbox could become too technical when trying to navigate. We need to find ways to make navigation easy and intuitive.

  4. Ready-made challenges can help kick-start the journey.

  5. Making some parts essential, others optional may be helpful.

  6. We need to make sure the language is simple so teachers can clearly communicate the instructions and objectives of different activities to their students.

  7. Help teachers check-in, when they need to know whether they’re on the right track.

  8. Recognize and celebrate teachers' efforts, implement solutions that allow feedback from other teachers or practitioners. And showcase the progress made by teachers.

According to teachers, the toolbox seemed appropriate for activities with students in their 2nd and 3rd grade. Overall the toolbox was encouraging and inviting to try out new things. According to a teacher from Belgium “tips are very useful, they help teachers feel reassured that they are on the right track.” A teacher from Lithuania said that, “the project journey was very helpful. Everything was put in a simple and clear way making the toolbox a user-friendly tool.”

A teacher from the Netherlands shares: “I would say in my own words that Design Thinking will help you to​ collaborate​, to be more creative​, have a ‘​growth’ mindset​ so to persist and to try again. It also has some language competences in the sense that you will learn to ​summarise and explain​ things to others.”

Thank you to all of the teachers who participated! Because of their help, we are able to meaningfully continue our work on the toolbox and training content. If you want to get updates about the progress of our Toolbox subscribe to our mailing list.


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