On October 21-25th Silicon Valley Innovation Center organized four workshops on Design Thinking and its application to K12 education for teachers of a network of top innovative schools in Kazakhstan – Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS). The workshops ran simultaneously in four major cities of Kazakhstan – Astana, Shymkent, Aktau and Semey and were led by Silicon Valley experts and instructors on design thinking. Reinhold Steinbeck (Stanford University), Cole Godvin (Nueva High School), Ronen Habib (Gunn High School) and Catherine Kavanaugh (Stanford University) travelled to Kazakhstan and ran a hands-on 5-day design thinking course for over 200 teachers.
During this intensive immersion into one of the most innovative approaches to teaching and learning developed by IDEO and Stanford d.school, the NIS teachers of STEM and humanities created their own learning components, challenges and ideas to be applied inside and outside the classroom. Some of the projects included creating a zero gravity tool that could be useful in space, building an iLab for teachers, incorporating IT into all areas of the curriculum, creating challenges that focus on bringing physics and chemistry together such as an in-depth project on the atom, innovative housing and transportation solutions for teachers, shared recreation for students and teachers, day-care – each with Economics, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics curricular components, and many more.