Abstract concepts such as peace, war, border disputes, nationalism, heroism and others are difficult for young children to comprehend, for educators to teach and for parents to explain. Innovative approaches like Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics or STEAM, which emphasise experimentation, problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking, provide contemporary tools for facilitating children’s explorations around abstract concepts. One such tool was adopted in this study, the implementation of the IDEO (Fierst, Diefenthaler, & Diefenthaler, 2011) design thinking model. Following the IDEO stages and with the help of eShadow, a digital storytelling platform which converts paper-based drawings into digital moving puppets, children’s understanding around war and peace was enhanced and their sense of belonging with an emphasis on positive values (e.g., peace and collaboration) over negative attitudes (e.g., war, conflict and dispute) was strengthened. Four public kindergartens (children aged four to six years) from the northern part of Greece participated in the project in a period when political tensions around borders were on the rise. This study will provide useful insights into how a design thinking model can be implemented with young children and how a new technology, in combination with the arts, can make abstract concepts more concrete to deepen children’s understanding of political and historical issues and to eliminate stereotypes.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
Bevan, B. (2017). The promise and the promises of making in science education. Studies in Science Education, 53(1), 75–103.
Bower, M., Stevenson, M., Falloon, G., Forbes, A., & Hatzigianni, M. (2018). Makerspaces in primary school settings – Advancing 21st century and STEM capabilities using 3D design and 3D printing. Sydney, Australia: Macquarie University. Available at https://primarymakers.com
Briggs, S. (2013, July 29). 45 Design Thinking Resources for Educators. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/45-design-thinking-resources-for-educators/
Buchanan, R. (1992). Wicked problems in design thinking. Design Issues, 8(2), 5–21.
Burnette, C. (2005). IDESiGN. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from http://www.idesignthinking.com/main.html
Crockett, L. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Exarchate, B., Mazarakis-Ainian, K., Koromilas, L., Demestichas, I., Katechakis, G., Dragoumis, I., & Petkov, A. Macedonian struggle. Retrieved December 9, 2019., from https://infogalactic.com/info/Macedonian_Struggle
Fierst, K., Diefenthaler, A., & Diefenthaler, G. (2011). Design thinking for educators. Riverdale, CA: IDEO.
Filatro, A., Cavalcanti, C. C., & Muckenberger, E. (2017). Design thinking and online education. Retrieved September 20, 2019, from https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/adventist-learn-online/2017/tuesday/12/
Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. (2017). A Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources-collections/a-virtual-crash-course-in-design-thinking
Hatzigianni, M., Miller, M., & Quiñones, G. (2016). Karagiozis in Australia: Exploring principles of social justice in the arts for young children. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(25), 1–20.
Hatzigianni, M., Stevenson, M., Falloon, G., Bower, M., & Forbes, A. (2020). Children’s views on making and designing. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 28(2), 286–300. https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2020.1735747
Hewitt, C. (2011, September 9). Ready, Set, Design! Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.cooperhewitt.org/2011/09/09/ready-set-design/
Honey, M., Pearson, G., & Schweingruber, H. (2014). STEM integration in K-12 education: Status, prospects, and an agenda for research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
IDEO Design thinking for educators. (2013). Retrieved March 21, 2018, from https://www.ideo.com/post/design-thinking-for-educators
Kermani, H., & Aldemir, J. (2015). Preparing children for success: Integrating science, math, and technology in early childhood classroom. Early Child Development and Care, 185(9), 1504–1527.
Koukoudakis, G. (2018). The Macedonian question: An identity-based conflict. Mediterranean Quarterly, 29(4), 3–18.
McIntosh, E. (2018, April 17). Think differently and change the way you choose to work [text/html]. Retrieved May 29, 2018, from https://notosh.com/search/results?q=McIntosh
Moomaw, S., & Davis, J. A. (2010). STEM comes to preschool. YC Young Children, 65(5), 12–18.
Moumoutzis, N., Christoulakis, M., Christodoulakis, S., & Paneva-Marinova, D. (2018). Renovating the cultural heritage of traditional shadow theatre with eShadow. Design, implementation, evaluation and use in formal and informal learning. Digital Presentation and Preservation of Cultural and Scientific Heritage Proceedings, 8, 51–70.
Moumoutzis, N., Christoulakis, M., Pitsiladis, A., Maragoudakis, I., Christodoulakis, S., Menioudakis, M., & Tzoganidis, M. et al. (2017, April). Using new media arts to enable project-based learning in technological education. In 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON) (pp. 287–296). Piraeus, Greece: IEEE.
Shively, K., & Stith, K. (2018). Measuring what matters: Assessing creativity, critical thinking, and the Design Process. Gifted Child Today, 41(3), 149–158. https://doi.org/10.1177/1076217518768361
Sofou, E., & Tsafos, V. (2010). Preschool teachers’ understandings of the national preschool curriculum in Greece. Early Childhood Education Journal, 37(5), 411–420.
State Library of Queensland. (2017). Design Minds | Design Online. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from http://designonline.org.au/education/
Stevenson, M., Bower, M., Falloon, G., Forbes, A., & Hatzigianni, M. (2019). By design: Professional learning ecologies to develop primary school teachers’ makerspaces pedagogical capabilities. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(3), 1260–1274.
Swanson, H., & Collins, A. (2018). How failure is productive in the creative process: Refining student explanations through theory-building discussion. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 30, 54–63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2018.03.005
Zahariadis, N. (1994). Nationalism and small-state foreign policy: The Greek response to the Macedonian issue. Political Science Quarterly, 109(4), 647–667.
We would like to acknowledge the hard work and effort made by all the teachers, children and parents in order for this project to be completed. Without their contribution, this study would not have been possible. Our special thanks to the teachers of the kindergarten who were directly involved: Ioanna Karagiorgou, Despoina Kaladaridou, Alexia Panta, Euthemia Gioti, Aspasia Zeibeki and Vicky Alexiou.
Editors and Affiliations
Design thinking coding—Actions and example dialogue for all children. Available from: https://primarymakers.com
Cooper Hewitt (Hewitt, 2011)
d.School (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, 2017)
Design Minds (State library of Queensland, 2017)
IDEO (Fierst et al., 2011)
IDESiGN (Burnette, 2005)
NoTosh (Mcintosh, 2018)
Open Colleges (Briggs, 2013)
Define the problem
Consider multiple options
Refine selected direction
Execute the best plan of action
© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Hatzigianni, M., Gregoriadis, A., Moumoutzis, N., Christoulakis, M., Alexiou, V. (2021). Integrating Design Thinking, Digital Technologies and the Arts to Explore Peace, War and Social Justice Concepts with Young Children. In: Cohrssen, C., Garvis, S. (eds) Embedding STEAM in Early Childhood Education and Care. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65624-9_2
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-030-65623-2
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-65624-9