Arabic version of Design Thinking for Educators

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Launched in January 2019, Activating EdTech Jordan is a project that aims to introduce agile development practices to educational technology policymaking. This project is led by the Jordanian Ministry of Education in partnership with the Queen Rania Foundation and Open Development & Education with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). This post introduces the Activating EdTech project and our translation of Design Thinking for Educators.

The project’s Theory of Change draws on ideas from Systems Leadership for Learning (DOI), agile/adaptive management and design thinking, in an approach that is similar to elements of PDIA, applied to education and technology use in education. The project utilises continuous professional development (’on-the-job training’), coupled with the development and adaptation of various supporting material. One of the key documents we have been using is IDEO’s Design Thinking for Educators toolkit and workbook. 

Activating EdTech has translated the documents into Arabic for the use of the team, and we have provided both the Arabic version as well as the Arabic-English version here.

Our experience using such tools has provided some interesting insight into the use and provision of translated documents in development contexts. One of our key insights is that it’s not just about the output but also the process of translation. 

Translating material is necessary for inclusion and impact in development work. While many of the team do speak at least basic English, reading technical documents in English is a different matter. Moreover, as can be expected, many things are lost in translation. We often found that more recent and evolving concepts that are difficult to explain in the original language (e.g. ‘design thinking’) are equally difficult to translate adequately. For example, “التفكير التصميمي” (“altafkir altasmimi”, literally design + thinking’) does not carry the same implications as “design thinking”. Including users in the translation process can therefore greatly increase the utility of the product itself, as well as prove beneficial to their professional development (see, 

One of the successes in this process was the idea to produce parallel text in Arabic and English: Having such Arabic-English versions was instrumental in facilitating these discussions. It made it easier to follow discussions — for Arabic and English speakers — and allowed us to immediately pinpoint translational issues and mark them for editing.

Just as we’re not done using this resource, we’re not done with the translation either. We will expect a more refined version(s) in the months to come. We wanted to share the resource in the spirit of openness, as well as to see if anyone else would like to partake in this process. 

The following resources are available under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0:

  1. Activating EdTech Jordan (2020a). Design Thinking for Educators — Toolkit (Arabic).
  2. Activating EdTech Jordan (2020d). Design Thinking for Educators — Toolkit (English/Arabic).
  3. Activating EdTech Jordan (2020b). Design Thinking for Educators — Designers Workbook (Arabic).
  4. Activating EdTech Jordan (2020c). Design Thinking for Educators — Designers Workbook (English/Arabic).

The InDesign files are also available. The books are a translation of 

  1. Schurr, M. (2013a). Design Thinking for Educators — Toolkit.
  2. Schurr, M. (2013b). Design Thinking for Educators—Designers Workbook

Which are also available at under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 (in English and Portuguese). Thank you, Ideo for publishing under Creative Commons!

Björn Haßler
Björn Haßler