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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Design Thinking May Not Only Change Education, It May Change the World


Kathleen Fritz has been working to teach K-12 teachers how to teach design thinking skills to their students. Along the way, she’s helped them learn skills that improve their teaching in all areas.

Interview with KATHLEEN FRITZ, the Founder/CEO/Instructional Coach of CREATOMbuilder, INC.

The following is the pre-interview with KATHLEEN  FRITZ. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?

I started this project five years ago to address the challenge, ” How do you make design thinking accessible to kids?”  I realized that you have to start with teachers first: without them there is no rigor. But this raised a bigger question, “How do you help teachers to make the shift from direct instruction to innovators and facilitators of learning?”

While coaching the teachers of Centennial Academy, Atlanta, GA during a National Science Foundation iCS (integrative computer science) grant (2015-2018) we were exploring ways to combine the design thinking process promoted by organizations like Stanford d.School, and the K12 project-based learning best practices from the Buck Institute.  One day, a 5th grade teacher asked me to create a graphic organizer to help her students follow the design thinking in project based learning process.

The Project Design Canvas was created.  It provides a project workflow, similar to project management, and a method for creating authentic challenges which address learning outcomes.  The project menus and cards help teachers discover opportunities from the curriculum (standards and learning outcomes) and activities so students can engage real end-users in their community.  This aids teachers and students to develop and manage their own authentic projects, and creates an environment to take the intellectual and emotional risks for innovative learning.

Kathleen’s Website:  www.kfritzdesign.com

More about CREATOMbuilder, INC:

Twitter: @creatombuilder

Facebook: facebook.com/CREATOMbuilder

Website: creatomsetgo.com

CREATOMbuilder, Inc. provides design thinking in project-based learning products and professional learning services to the k12 education space.  Our premier product is CREATOMsetgo: a hands-on human-centered design thinking tool which assists teachers in planning rich project based learning (PBL) experiences for and with students.  Its game-based design (project design canvas, menus and card deck) was developed with the input from over 150 Title 1 school teachers throughout the Southern United States. Our goal is to make design thinking accessible to everyone. CREATOMbuilder, Inc. is a for profit corporation registered in the state of Delaware.  Our website is www.creatomsetgo.com

For-profit/Nonprofit: For-profit

Revenue model: We provide products and services through B2B and B2C .  Our products include the CREATOMsetgo project planning toolkit and a project planning guide which will be released in Fall of 2018.  Our services included professional learning in design thinking for project-based learning, teacher and coach-the-coach services, and strategic planning for school/district level administration, and educational organizations.  We also provide curriculum design and coaching to edtech companies and consultants.

Scale: We are a very small company of 1 full time employee (me), and a number of part-time contracting consultants. Since the release of the CREATOMsetgo toolkit on June 24th at ISTE 2017 , we have sold over 800 units to educators in 17 states.  We have coached approximately 350 educators (district and school-wide administration, instructional coaches, and teachers) in five states as contracted professional learning consultants, and have presented to another 300 educators as a conference speaker at ISTE and FETC.

Kathleen Fritz
Photo Credit: Imke Lass Photography

KATHLEEN  FRITZ’s bio:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathyfritzcreatombuilder/

Kathleen Fritz is the CEO and founder of CREATOMbuilder, Inc.: a coaching, project design, and strategic planning company for design thinking in project-based learning, and the creator of CREATOMsetgo: The project planning toolkit. She is a designer, educator and entrepreneur. The idea for CREATOMbuilder started when she was a 2011-2012 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar to India  There she worked with the students of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology to develop art and design integrated toolkit for teaching English, math, and computer literacy for rural Indian after-school programs.

Prior to starting CREATOMbuilder, Inc., she was a professor of Interior Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design 2007-2011, and was a lead designer and project manager of architectural interiors for tech, biotech, and life sciences companies, and k12 and higher education in the Boston and greater New England area (1998-2007). Her first career was as a Case Manager and Train-the-Trainer for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (1988-1998).

She holds a BA in Psychology from Gordon College, and a Master of Interior Design (MID) from the Boston Architectural College. She coaches educators and leadership teams throughout the country in design thinking and innovative practices for K12 education.


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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!

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