• Rikke Ransgaard Sørensen
4. semester, It, Læring og Organisatorisk Omstilling, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The purpose of this thesis is to explore how design thinking might be implemented in science education in Danish schools, as well as contribute with insights through an empirically founded study within the field of design thinking in education. The study constitutes of a qualitative case study of an intervention from the research project “Game-based learning in the 21st century” (GBL21). The study focuses on development of students’ science competencies when they design games, and how design thinking as an approach to inquiry-based learning can be better linked to the teaching of science in the Danish primary school system.

The GBL21 project is an ambitious project that implements 24 teaching units at 19 different schools in Denmark in 5th and 7th grade within Danish, mathematics, and science. GBL21 aims to develop students’ competencies, including design competencies, inquiry, collaboration, process management and learning goals, through game-related design thinking activities.
In the teaching units, students work with game-related design activities including 1) design or redesign of analogue and digital games, 2) game tools as means to investigate and find solutions to design challenges, and 3) design around games where students produce texts related to games.
According to GBL21, it is a challenge to link broad game design activities with general education in relation to curricular content and goals, as well as implementing this approach in teachers’ practices.

To answer these challenges, this study is based on a pragmatic case study through observation and interviews of two student groups and three teachers in one of GBL21s’ teaching units in 7th grade. Based on different theories of inquiry-based learning, design thinking in education, and game-models, this thesis investigates students’ design products and design processes. A framework based on different domains of knowledge is presented for understanding student positioning and curricular activities during their design processes.

Key situations are analyzed through identifying patterns of meaning which result in three main themes for the study:

1. The balance between the professional domains
2. Students’ and teachers’ priorities between process and product
3. Teachers’ and students’ experiences of the structure

The study shows potential for a better linking between game design activities and curricular activities in how students select and argue for game elements in their design. Based on students’ reflection-in-action, signs of inquiry and modeling processes related to science competencies where found. Secondly, using a specific model of domains within design, game, and curricular activities, can lead to deeper understanding and reflection of the design process in students, and can be used as a framework for teachers’ scaffolding in the classroom.
The study also showed that the physical game products themselves can take up a lot of time and focus from the design process and curricular aims, and teachers find it difficult to get students to reflect upon their games.
It is a challenge for teachers to design and scaffold GBL21-activities that meet the curricular requirements. GBL21 is not a complete solution that can be used in any classroom with any teacher but can provide inspiration for implementing design thinking into teaching practices.

The study presents three design principles for teachers’ design of teaching units, implementing design thinking with a curricular aim within science education:

Principle 1
The teacher must ask open-ended questions based on the students' domain positions in order to seek understanding, inspire action, and support linking between the game, design, and curricular domains and thus support inquiry and modeling processes.

Principle 2
The teacher must encourage students to make early prototypes that provide feedback, to avoid a major product focus, and to promote academic reflections on the design.

Principle 3
The teacher should use the phase model of design thinking as an analytical tool through reflective questions rather than as a planning tool, thus promoting students' reflections and providing space for flexible design processes.

These results and principles are based on a single study of a GBL21 teaching unit in science education in 7th grade. A modified version of the unit was also implemented in 5th grade and the GBL21 project consist of two additional units in both grades but is not included in this study. This limits the knowledge of the use of this study in different contexts. Furthermore, the study focuses on curricular content and goals, but does not deal with the influence on other goals such as design competencies, collaboration, and motivation.
Udgivelsesdato14 apr. 2020
Antal sider80
Ekstern samarbejdspartnerUkendt
no name vbn@aub.aau.dk
ID: 330865377