What’s in it for school teachers to work with the FUTE material

Are you tired of teaching unmotivated pupils and students?

Would you like to try teaching in a new way, but do not know how to start changing?

The FUTE method could be the solution.

All kinds of innovation and change take time – this is a fact! If you want to innovative your teaching – for example by creating variation or engage the pupils more, the FUTE material can help you to keep you on the track, obtain success with your effort and save time in your innovation process

Using design thinking in your teaching will help you as a teacher to work with the 21st century skills. The FUTE material can help you to create teaching and engage your pupils in a way where you have the role as facilitator and guide your pupils through a process where they learn. Using the cards will help you to keep the process on track and limit the feeling of “loosing control” when you change a bit your role from being a traditional teacher to becoming a facilitator of learning.

If you are a school manager, you can use the FUTE material to facilitate processes, where you want to engage your staff in order to find solutions on dilemmas or challenges where everybody as an interest and a say.

Top 10 Recommendations

Based on the input from all partners, the pilot projects and the evaluation results from the FUTE project, a list of Top 10 recommendations have been formulated as well as three basic rules for starting to work with design approaches in schools, and the FUTE material in particular.

  • The FUTE material is a perfect tool to apply when dealing with 21st century skills and cross curricular learning, where knowledge and skills are combined
  • The FUTE material is especially relevant to teachers who have a personal wish and motivation to develop their way of teaching into a more problem based teaching
  • Print the cards in A5 format and laminate then, which is easier to work with so that they can be used as “playing cards” and so that you can write on them with a white board pen
  • Important to deal with the traditional reluctance to change
  • It works best if it becomes a strategic decision within the school, that design thinking is a recognized approach to educational innovation and school development
  • Policy development should be user centered and the FUTE material can be used as a tool to involve actively in the policy development process
  • Provide sufficient room in national strategies for competence development
  • The best way to use the FUTE material is through teachers taking the role as facilitators. It is not developed as a direct teaching tool that pupils use directly, at least not in smaller classes. Secondary level students might be able to use the FUTE cards by themselves.
  • The best way to use the material and experience success is by using the FUTE material in multidisciplinary, open ended learning projects.
  • Give time and resources to learn and experiment

Three basic rules

Teachers wishing to start experimenting with design thinking and especially the FUTE material would do well in recognising the three basic rules of getting started with design thinking:

  • Start slowly, with only a few FUTE method cards; make sure that the pupils are familiar whit the methods, before they start working;
  • Start working with challenges/problems, that are easy to work with and leave the more complex challenges to a later phase, when the pupils are familiar with the methods and the approach​
  • Insist on being critical; a good design solution is not just a good idea, but something tangible that can be shown – explained and eventually be used.​

FUTE and the 21st century skills

The term 21st Century skills has been widely adopted internationally by business leaders, governmental agencies, academies and most importantly in the context of FUTE, educators. Broadly speaking ´, it refers to the skills and attributes that have been identified as being essential for success in the 21st century, characterised by a rapidly evolving digital society. Skills such as problem solving, team-working, analytical and critical thinking skills are increasingly seen as more important than the traditional academic skills which are primarily content-based, and which are often measured by memory recall in Forman examinations.

Literature on the topic of 21st century skills is plentiful and provides compelling arguments to educationalists that cannot easily be ignored.  

Schools and teachers will need to a) focus on more project, problem- and phenomena based learning, b) support the development of transversal skills in their teaching, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, co-operation and creativity, and c) propose more multidisciplinary assignments for the pupils. Design approaches in general, and the FUTE material in particular, has shown to be to very useful means to support these needs.

The 21st century skills have started to influence the attainment goals and outcome objectives for the educational sector, hence the FUTE material could be a very useful tool for teachers to adapt their teaching to reach these new goals. The challenge though is that these kind of attainment goals and outcome objectives often are very top down oriented, which is not very motivating for the teachers, and adapting to a new way of teaching, just becomes another obligation instead of being an opportunity for teachers to develop and learn.

The paradigm shift has to be an accepted reality in the educational sector, both on policy, management and teacher level, and it is important that solutions and goals are set and developed in a collaborative process in order to meet full acceptance on all levels. We can warmly recommend the FUTE material to carry through this collaborative process.

Examples of how to use the FUTE material​

Within the FUTE project, the material has been tested in pilot project. The material has shown to be used in 4 main areas. 

By clicking through the tabs below you can read more about the experiences made around Europe.

In Denmark, France, Finland and Belgium, the FUTE material has been used to develop a new course within the teacher student programmes and teacher competence development programmes, focusing on how to apply design thinking methods and approaches in schools. The courses give between 4 and 10 ECTS points to the student.

The course uses the training material that has been developed in the FUTE project and gives an overall introduction to the design thinking and the specific use of the FUTE approach, and the FUTE method cards. The students and teachers get an understanding of how to create a design challenge and how the FUTE cards can be used to involve colleagues or pupils in a collaborative dialogue and process to elaborate the challenge and discover possible solutionsWithin.

In France, Finland and Belgium, the FUTE material has been used to create development and collaborative processes around concrete challenges and dilemmas that were facing the schools. The specific challenges that were dealt with in the FUTE testing phase were design challenges like these;

  • How might we create motivation for students to continue coming to high school?
  • How might we create innovation in the school?
  • How might we improve the sustainability of our school?
  • How might we create more interesting and active school breaks?

The FUTE approach and the FUTE method cards can be used to create collaborative processes and dialogues within many different subjects and themes.

Common for all processes is that the school has applied the FUTE process, going from setting up the rules for the process, analysing the challenge from different angles, being creative and thinking about new ideas, finding out together what is possible and then decide which way to go.  

In the national reports, you can read more about the concrete process – e.g. which FUTE cards were used and how – and also which concrete ideas the process led to in close collaboration and dialogue with teachers and pupils

In Finland the FUTE material was used to redevelop a concrete course for master students, and the concrete design challenge, which was put forward was this;

“How might we improve the craft, design and technology learning in secondary school?”

In a collaborative process between teachers and students, the traditional course was taken up to consideration and in a design process using 11 of the FUTE method cards, new ways of providing the teaching within craft, design and technology were elaborated.

In basic education, learning is still strongly individual-centred: Pupils  work a lot on their own, doing assignments, exercises and exams. The world outside the school is however demanding skills for teamwork and collaboration. The FUTE method is based on co-operation and collaboration so it offers great tools in the school world to practise these skills.

Pupil and student teamwork are often demanding for the teacher, because of the unequal share of responsibility and the uncertainty about the progress of the process. Our test school`s teachers find that FUTE methods increased pupil participation in learning and encouraged every pupil to participate and take responsibility in teamwork. The progress of the learning project also feels safer for the teacher, because you know that in every stage, there are several different ways to continue the teamwork; options to choose a suitable method for every teams or situation.

In Denmark the FUTE material has been used in concrete teaching situations in history classes, in order for the pupils to reflect and work together in groups.

The FUTE method cards were used to elaborate on a societal challenge in the present society (immigration), seen in a historical perspective (Danes’ immigration to America in the end of the 19th century). The students compared the two situations and found similarities and differences, and on this background made a historical presentation about the societal reasons, now and back then, that pushes people to immigrate. The students used between 5 and 10 FUTE method cards, which helped them to structure their group work in relation to the analysis, describing the situations and the personal stories for the immigrants, and the concrete presentation in front of their teachers and fellow students. 

In another History class the FUTE cards were used to make the pupils reflect on, how to treat poor and homeless people. The session included two parts. First the “the poor peoples’ home” (Fattiggården) from the end of 19th century was studied, using pictures and card 18 “Tell a story”. In the second part the pupils used “prototyping’ (card no. 40) to design their own versions of updated version of the home for poor and homeless peoples. The two activities (story-telling and prototyping) allowed the pupils to become active and to reflect on the differences and similarities between now and then.

Good Examples and Recommendations Report

You can read about the good examples in details and also get a more comprehensive understanding of the barriers and limitations that have led to the formulation of the Top 10 Recommendations in the Good Examples and Recommendations Report. 

The report gives a more detailed introduction to how the FUTE method can be used in very concrete ways within a school. You can use this as inspiration to develop your own design challenges in your teaching.

You can find the report here.

© 2020 FUTE/South Denmark European Office