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Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  676 ratings  ·  76 reviews
We Need More Creative Schools

Something happens in students when they define themselves as makers and inventors and creators. They discover powerful skills—problem-solving, critical thinking, and imagination—that will help them shape the world’s future … our future.

If that’s true, why isn’t creativity a priority in more schools today?

Educators John Spencer and A.J. Juliani
Kindle Edition, 298 pages
Published May 26th 2016 by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.
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Kris Patrick
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the second and probably last book I've read from Dave Burgess consulting. Both labeled Reading as a consumptive activity. I fiercely disagree.

I believe reading is an act of creativity.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Flew through this just this morning; I have four pages of crazy color-coded notes in my Moleskine, and tons of ideas/questions/connections about authentic audiences, problem-solving, and experimenting in EVERY core subject. Two take-aways: 1) RESEARCH is NOT READING, and 2) there are numerous reasons why marketing should be taught in schools (I clapped, cheered, did a cartwheel for that section!)... looking forward to discussing this book with colleagues.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
solid read; treat it like the handbook on design thinking for the classroom. lesson plans, scaffolds, and more. very practical and strong reference material to spark ideas and provide appropriate structure for your next LAUNCH cycle!
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
I wish I could get more excited over this book. I really had high hopes but it didn't inspire me. Passed it on to a colleague who is just starting to learn about this type of teaching. Hopefully he'll get some new ideas. ...more
Annie Ryan
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This professional book club book ended up being pretty good. It gives teachers a cycle to use with their students to encourage design thinking to be more creative in your classroom. I definitely have a lot of take aways to use with my students to make our problem-based learning better and to use in other creative ways in my classroom like with the writing process. “We want students to be independent thinkers. We want them to be lifelong learners. We want them to be makers.” And the way we do tha ...more
Nick Wethington
Apr 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I was recommended this book by a school librarian I work with. I've read a lot of books around the pedagogy of making and tinkering, but this is the most useful and practical one when it comes to integrating this into the classroom. We read this book among a cohort of teachers that I lead as to how to best use making, tinkering and the design thinking process in their classrooms and schools. It was a hit. I think my favorite aspect of it is that it's written by actual classroom teachers, with pr ...more
Aug 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This is great book with very practical, helpful ideas on how to increase creativity and drive in students and how to make learning fun again. I especially found the “challenges” section in Chapter 8 helpful.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thinking about leading a group of K-12 teachers through an optional book study to expand our understanding of design thinking. Definitely a good option with actionable items.
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jims-reviews
What a great book for teachers! Everyone can be creative. And this book has some fantastic ways to overcome challenges to getting kids to be creative in the classroom (from the focus on standardized tests and the limit of time to the frustration of getting stuck in the creative process).

And it helps give a bit of structure to creativity. The LAUNCH process is excellent for planning creative projects and guiding people through creating and putting your creation out into the world.

Because someti
Laura Howell
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal reading. This book has become an invaluable resource as I prepare to move my teaching staff from a traditional mindset to a culture of practicing design thinkers. It was especially important to me to have a better understanding of what the design process entails and Launch has thoroughly answered all of my current questions and more.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved the design learning process all rolled up into a book, definitely will use this next year, just wish there wasn't 1 paragraph about design learning and math. ...more
Ashley Couture
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I believe it is worth mentioning that I purchased this book as a part of a deal dbc_inc was running. I did not necessarily want it. One morning while I was out for a walk, I listed to a podcast about PBL and the podcast's host stated that it doesn't matter which method you use, whether it was design thinking, the steps to publishing, launch . . etc and I thought "Hey! I have this book." Since I am looking to incorporate more pbl and inquiry into my classroom I thought I had lucked out in getting ...more
Kate Laird
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good concept but could have been half the length and still as helpful. The first couple chapters are basically “cheerleading” to get you to understand anyone can be creative. The remainder are spent discussing the LAUNCH steps. The first “L” step is in my opinion the best to parse ideas and conceptualize how you could implement this.

The main issue I have is that the book keeps stating that saying “but I have a curriculum I need to address” or “but I have standards I need to address” is essential
David Stephens
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
It must be hard to write a book that provides a framework for implementing major classroom changes. While it may not seem like it to those who aren't inside the classroom everyday, teachers use a variety of techniques and classrooms are run in a myriad of different ways. What works for one may not work for another, so as far as describing plans for full-scale design projects with a maximum amount of flexibility goes, this book does a pretty decent job.

I wasn't looking to revamp an entire class,
Douglass Gaking
Jul 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I teach a variety of business and music courses, including an Intro to Entrepreneurship class that does a 20time project every year. Launch provides a framework for design thinking in the classroom. The framework and the various tools within it work well with 20time and with almost any creative project teachers might facilitate in their classrooms.

I got some great ideas from this book about how to better guide my students through their projects. A big takeaway for me was how to start a project w
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, how-to
We are all creative, but not all of us are makers. Why do we find it so devastating to fail, when that is the path to understanding and improving? Why do we push children away from creativity and into conformity that leads to groupthink?

This book isn't a philosophy book, although there is a lot of background into the authors' thinking. This book is designed to teach middle-school children design thinking. I find it useful to read books written by teachers for middle-school kids. It's a way for
Lisa Kraus
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book had great information about how to lead students through the creative process and all of the risks that are part of it. The authors emphasized that students need authentic experiences and research doesn't need to be something that occurs just once a year. Major takeaways - even when using a process like the Launch Cycle one has to be realistic, we don't live in a 'utopia' and it won't always be perfect. We also have to be patient, the cycle uses a series of skills that take time to dev ...more
Melody Riggs
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This took me a while to get through as I was digesting the information. I found the idea of taking students fully through the design thinking process (the LAUNCH cycle) to be intriguing. There are definitely elements I want to incorporate in my classroom. However, I think the authors had some pretty ideal situations and students. I teach in an urban school and only see my students for 45 minute chunks-- those two factors right there make a lot of what they propose seem out of reach. However, I'm ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Design Thinking is an industrial model that has been adapted to fit all manner of applications including education. Some would argue that an off-the-shelf application of Design Thinking to teaching is entirely ineffective. I looked to Launch! for a more thoughtful approach, and for the most part, found it. Filled with many sound educational principles, Launch! provides some great fodder for thinking and great ideas for application directly in the classroom.
Really great book for educators who desire to using design thinking as a framework for Maker and unleash creativity and innovation in each students. Launch cycle: Look, listen, learn; Ask lots of questions, Understand the problem or process, Navigate ideas, Create, Highlight what's working and failing. ...more
Holly Mueller
I enjoyed this book we did for a Hamilton County ESC Instructional Center book study. I love the innovation, creativity, and design thinking Spencer and Juliani teach us about - taking risks in the classroom keeps passion alive for teachers and students! Students need choice, opportunities to create, and support from a passionate educator.
Tara Schuhmacher
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The awesome detailed lesson plans at the end really put this book (which I already had learned so much from) over the top. They not only give me a great blueprint for creating my own LAUNCH projects, this project in and of itself is great!
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I used to hate teaching research. This book shows teachers how to go about tapping into students' passions to complete authentic inquiry and discovery with an authentic audience. I have about 57 sticky notes in it now marking awesome ideas. If you teach, you need to read this book. ...more
Darren Dennstedt
Oct 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Simplistic ideas presented in the book rehashing what others have already done.

The authors attempt to create a new Engineering Design Process and call in LAUNCH. Simplistic ideas presented about innovating in the classroom.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read for the 2019-2020 school year. It was pretty interesting, but got a little over-explanatory. After a while I got the point, but it just kept going. Will be interesting to see what conversations we have this year in our PLCs.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
This was a practical guide to guiding students through the creative/maker process. If you have PBL or Genius Hour, it has great ideas on giving that time structure and a format that students and teachers can follow. A worthwhile read.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this as one of my first books in learning about design thinking. In education it worked nicely to provide ways for a teacher to include design thinking in lessons and build student understanding. An easy read with easy to apply ideas.
Jenny Leitsch
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great read to get me thinking about instructional design. Reminded me of things I know about how people learn best. Loved the discussions of creativity and how it manifests itself differently in different people.
A. Somers
This was a worthwhile read for anyone involved in creating maker spaces, or implementing design challenges for students.
Kathy Gorski
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nothing new to me, really, but practical thoughts for immediate implementation.
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Region 10 Prof Reads: Resources for Launch 2 9 Mar 08, 2017 04:23PM  

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My goal is simple. I want to make something new everyday. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

I'm currently working as an assistant professor of instructional technology in a small private college just outside of Portland, Oregon. Before that, I spent twelve years as a middle school teacher, where I used design thinking and creative processes for

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