Part of my new role is teaching Design and Innovation to Middle School students. We use the IB curriculum and these students follow the MYP design cycle for their learning. In addition to the design aspects of the classes, students get exposure to “innovation” and have opportunities to explore entrepreneurship and more in the state of the art facilities that are available to them.
The aspect I wanted to explore today was how the design cycle and design challenges encourage students to explore creativity and think outside the box. More importantly, how this impacts learning!
I have been in my current role for a little over 2 months and in that time I have hit the ground running with MYP and the design cycle. I am loving the opportunity to encourage creativity in my students.
One of my favourite outcomes of the process is seeing what the students come up with when given ‘light’ constraints to create a solution to a problem. Essentially it is inquiry learning at its best!
I love running units of learning that give students a choice as to what they create. By not having a pre-determined end product, the focus is on process more than product and it allows creative juices to flow. In the Middle School examples of projects include:
- Grade 6 = Digital Citizenship (model learning in any form)
- Grade 7 = Simple Machines and Systems Thinking
- Grade 8 = Client Management (meeting and working through a process with a client to create a solution based on the clients needs)
- Grade 9 = Innovations that changed the course of human history (model creation)
It is exciting to see creative ideas already coming out in the short time I have been involved in this program.
The innovation component of our design program is focused on students developing a deeper sense of agency through creative exploration. Students engage in group-based design challenges that have multiple pathways, including opportunities to take on different identities and to select from corresponding tools.
The additional component that is being thrown into the mix is the development of tinker stations and maker spaces throughout the school. Providing opportunities for students to make and create at any time in order to create a true sense of design thinking in the real world.
Already we are seeing a greater sense of engagement in the curriculum, not only in Design and Innovation, but in other subject areas too and we are partaking in some research to track the direct impact of our design thinking work on student learning. It is exciting to see genuine engagement in learning and the impact of design thinking across subject areas that have typically not had the scope to ‘think outside the box’ a little more.
It is an exciting time to be an an environment that supports student voice/choice and work through it with plentiful resources. I look forward to sharing the development of our exciting program. If you are ever in Singapore come and visit.