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  • 2022macleanphd

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Digital Innovation in Schools: Using tenets of social constructivism through a design thinking approach to engage learners in digital computing and the development of meta-competencies in a Scottish secondary school

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Joanna Maclean
Publication date16/10/2022
Number of pages222
Awarding Institution
Award date17/08/2022
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


As the world undergoes significant digital technological advancements, many believe that traditional education systems are not providing the essential competencies learners require for the future (Istance & Kools, 2013; Joynes et al., 2019). With an ever-increasing critical digital skills gap (Meechan, 2021; S. Wright, 2018), today's learners must be encouraged to develop their digital prowess (Skills Development Scotland, 2018; S. Wright, 2018) and develop the meta-competencies required for the world they are to inhabit (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013; The Scottish Government, 2020; Trilling & Fadel, 2009).
Many feel compulsory education fails to provide learners with the requisite digital computing competencies (Istance & Kools, 2013; Joynes et al., 2019). Therefore, more engaging and effective alternatives to our current curriculum content delivery and high-stake examinations must be examined.
This proposal and research study examine an alternative method of developing digital computing competencies by employing a social constructivist (SC) approach using a design thinking (DT) model, also purported to develop the much-needed meta-competencies (MC) learners need in the future (Fairburn, 2010; Goldman & Kabayadondo, 2016; Koh et al., 2015). Internationally renowned universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford, and Berkeley use DT to develop MC; however, there is little research into DT studios in a compulsory educational setting (Carroll, 2015).
This opportunistic, single-case study details a school's journey to develop outcomes from a digitally focused design thinking studio integrated into its curriculum, examining the perceptions and experiences of outcomes from learners and educators immersed in a two-week digital DT studio.
This study should be of interest to educators, policymakers, and parents.