What is this?


The K12 Lab is pleased to offer Discover Design Thinking, an introduction to design thinking for teachers and school leaders. The purpose of the workshop is to help educators build creative confidence and equity awareness that can be applied upon return to their local contexts. This three-day intensive workshop offers participants the opportunity to: learn design thinking by tackling a real world problem, connect with like-minded educators from across our network, apply high-quality resources, and develop a plan for how to implement the process and mindsets of design thinking in their local context.

Program Experience

Workshop participants will hit the ground running with a real-world innovation challenge. Using design thinking as an innovative framework, attendees will experiment with new tools through two hands-on challenges. Between lively activities and exercises, facilitators will tie in moments of reflection for participants to collect, process, and share learning with teammates. By the workshop’s close, we expect all attendees to leave with an understanding of the key tenets of design thinking and spend a full day transferring what they learned to their classrooms, schools, and beyond.

The arc of Discover Design Thinking is best suited to K-12 school-based educators with limited-to-no experience with design thinking. We offer this program four times a year.

Through the generosity of the General Motors Foundation and in-kind support from Stanford, we are able to keep the cost of Discover Design Thinking relatively low for educators.  We highly recommend you review the FAQ section below to learn more about the program and make sure it’s the right fit for you.

Please direct any questions you might have to K12@dschool.stanford.edu with the subject Discover Design Thinking.


November 7-9 Discover Design Thinking

Apply here

2020 Winter Discover Design Thinking

Application coming soon!

2020 June Discover Design Thinking

Apply in 2020

2020 August Discover Design Thinking

Apply in 2020

Got Questions?

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Who should apply?

This experience is carefully planned as an introduction to design for educators working in schools. That means we review candidates based on their experience; if you’ve attended 1-2 introductory experiences before, this isn’t the right offering for you. We also review for candidates based on their role. If you work in a school as a classroom teacher, administrator, counselor, or leader, this program is well-suited for you. We occasionally accept applicants who work for nonprofits or other organizations that serve schools, students or teachers.

Which tuition tier should I apply for?

For programs offered at the d.school, we offer all applicants the freedom to opt into a tuition tier they feel is appropriate based on their personal and professional capacity. To make this program as accessible as possible for educators who lack the means to attend, we offer four tiers of tuition:

Tuition $750

Discounted $350

Tuition Waiver $0

Tuition Waiver with Travel Stipend*

*The fourth tier is a tuition stipend of up to $1000 offered to educators who would be unable to attend the program due to the cost of travel, room and board. In evaluating applicants for the tuition stipend, we give preference to educators working in the United States.

The tuition waiver and stipend tiers are aimed to ease the costs of K-12 educators who serve a large population of students on the Free and Reduced Price Lunch program, and have limited access to professional development funds. Requests for scholarship and travel stipends are included in the application itself and are determined on an individual basis. We take into account financial need, potential for impact, and access to opportunity, as well as overall cohort diversity.

You should apply to the tuition tier you can afford without burdening yourself or your organization. In order to keep Discover Design Thinking sustainable, we are able to offer more invitations to applicants who apply under the full tuition tier. If you have any questions about which tier to apply to please write k12@dschool.stanford.edu

For programs offered outside the d.school, tuition information can be found on the linked program page.

Should I apply with colleagues? How big should my group be?

We learn better with others. In researching the experience of alumni, we’ve learned that participants who attend with a colleague are more likely to implement design thinking practices in their classrooms and schools. Thus we encourage applicants to apply with a colleague. However applicants who apply without a colleague will not have their candidacy penalized.

We ask that you limit your overall group to 5 applicants. This allows us to have a sample of educators from a diverse range of organizations and geographies. Each member of your group must submit their own application. If are applying as part of a group, please note this in the application.

What’s your selection criteria?

We currently give priority to individuals, schools, and organizations that:

1. Are relatively new to design thinking (note this is an introductory program)

2. Occupy a role in direct service to K12 students

3. Have a demonstrated commitment to creating opportunities for students who have been historically underserved and/or marginalized within our current educational system.

What are the chances I am accepted?

Due to spaces limitations, we can only accept 45-55 participants per program. The number of applicants ranges from 100-200. If you meet our selection criteria and are not accepted the first time you apply, we will do our best to offer you a spot in a subsequent program.

Can I come and observe the program? Can I come late or leave early?

The learning comes from the doing. Given the highly-experiential nature of this workshop, we do not allow individuals to attend as passive observers. Since you’ll be working with groups and partners for a large part of the experience, we ask participants to attend all three days in full. We recognize that all of our lives are busy; however if you anticipate being unable to fully engage during the three days, we encourage you to apply at time when you can show up at your best.

Will you send me an agenda or other materials?

We plan a number of fun surprises throughout the workshop and prefer to keep those secret until the time is right. Once you’ve been accepted we’ll send a short, high level overview of the program with instructions for when and where to meet us. After the program closes, we will send all of the program materials your way. If you require an agenda or letter of acceptance for administrative purposes, email K12@dschool.stanford.edu