Of the many reasons that schools are bringing making into their programs, helping students develop empathy and perspective taking skills is one of the most frequently cited. By delving into the techniques and thinking routines of human-centered design, students have to put themselves into the shoes of the user they are designing for – often people they have immediate access to but little in common with.

Global competency education and virtual exchange programs also seek to build empathy in students through cross-cultural interactions. In this case students often connect with other children who seem very different from them on surface, but find that they are remarkably similar. Teachers also often find that exposing students to diverse perspectives can aid creativity and help students generate new ideas they may not have come up with previously – further aiding their design process in making.

Have you tried combining global learning and maker learning in your own classroom? Do you have ideas for how you might? Share your stories and ideas with @global_dp on Twitter or add them to the Digital Promise Global Story Map.

Spotlight on the Digital Promise Global Learning Studios program 

This fall, Digital Promise Global piloted the Learning Studios program, creating a global network of 60 schools working with a shared focus on social entrepreneurship through design thinking and global collaboration. The semester culminated in a challenge for schools to design local solutions to global problems highlighted by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Watch the video about this challenge and visit the Learning Studios page to find out more, including initial research findings from an independent study of the program. Download the Learning Studio Teacher’s Guide for projects and other resources you can use in your own classroom.