Fostering Social Emotional Learning through Design Thinking

Design thinking and social emotional learning (SEL) are both approaches that emphasize creativity, empathy, and problem-solving. Here are a few ways that Kodely ties in SEL to our in person design thinking workshops that run after school, during intersession, and with our summer camps:

  1. Help students further develop empathy: Design thinking and SEL both emphasize the importance of empathy.  Kodely workshops encourage students to put themselves in the shoes of others, and think about their perspectives and feelings. For example, with our Prototyping in Play workshop for our young learners in Preschool and Kindergarten, we encourage our students to design models of chairs based on design principles they pull from user profiles.
  2. Foster a growth mindset: Design thinking and SEL both emphasize the importance of a growth mindset – the belief that one’s abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. Encourage kids to approach challenges with a positive attitude, and emphasize the importance of perseverance and resilience. For example, in our MakeCode Arcade workshop, students learn new skills each week to add detail and complexity to their game designs. When learning new skills, some students often feel frustrated at first; however, Kodely Leaders always tell students that our brains become stronger by engaging with challenges and that they will become more confident the more time they engage with the material. 
  3. Emphasize collaboration: Both design thinking and SEL emphasize the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Encourage kids to work together on projects, and emphasize the importance of listening to others, sharing ideas, and giving and receiving feedback. Collaboration is a cornerstone of all Kodely workshops. Students are always encouraged to work with one another and to learn from one another. 
  4. Encourage creativity: Both design thinking and SEL emphasize the importance of creativity and innovation. Encourage kids to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems. Creativity is an essential component of Kodely curriculum. One of the most rewarding parts of working with Kodely is being able to see the unique, wonderful projects that each student brings to life through code and design thinking. 
  5. Provide opportunities for reflection: Both design thinking and SEL emphasize the importance of reflection and self-awareness. Encourage kids to reflect on their experiences, emotions, and thought processes, and provide opportunities for them to share their reflections with others. At Kodely, students are encouraged to reflect on the skills they learn after every session. Students often express how content becomes easier for them to grasp after each session, and they frequently choose to return to past projects to see what they could improve on as they build their knowledge and confidence.

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