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Design Thinking and Hybrid Education during COVID: Leapfrogging into 21st Century Learning

Fall 2020 interdisciplinary education for maximum engagement: If not now, when?

A justification for interdisciplinary learning during Covid

Interdisciplinary, hybrid, and synchronized education calendar – 7 week interdisciplinary unit, 2 week gap between each unit

Interdisciplinary hybrid cohort structure

  • 60 students per interdisciplinary cohort/unit
  • 15 students per classroom group
  • 4 classroom groups per interdisciplinary unit
  • 4 Teachers per interdisciplinary unit
  • Students stay in one group for 7 weeks interdisciplinary unit
  • Each classroom group stays in separate classrooms when F2F
  • Two weeks between units ensure that entire school is healthy for next unit
  • Evaluation in interdisciplinary is continuous and characterized by ongoing feedback
  • Two weeks provides time for teacher evaluation and preparation
  • 4 days for evaluation of unit and administrative issues
  • 4 days break
  • 4 days for unit prep
  • Arts requirements can be fulfilled flexibly throughout unit
  • Consider hiring local artists to teach community-based art education

Interdisciplinary daily and weekly classroom timeline – F2F, Hybrid, or fully online

Interdisciplinary Design Thinking/Ubd/PBL team, and possible themes

What does the classroom look like?



Arguments against it?

  • Teachers haven’t been trained to engage in project-based learning and delivery
  • Things will go wrong because it’s a new model
  • Assessment structure will have to be adapted
  • Not enough time to prepare

Final thoughts

Whatever happens in the Fall of 2020 is going to be a trial run at best. Change is upon us, and I suggest we embrace every aspect of it. Design Thinking/PBL/UbD is the most engaging learning structure available to humans because it reflects our lived experiences. Research has shown that our current educational models do not reflect the real world of work, nor the skills that are needed in the 21st century. There is arguably nothing good about Covid19, and how it has ripped through the global community at every level. But, it would be a shame not to reach for the opportunities for change that Covid presents. It is time to think out-of-the-box, even if we’re stuck inside them for the foreseeable future.


The only way to get to the best right solution is to hammer it out. This piece was meant to begin a conversation.


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