GCAA Makerspace – Frequently Asked Questions (pt. 2)

Please continue to send in your makerspace questions!  Here are 4 questions from a parent today:

-What is the decision-making model students will use as part of their discovery?

My goal is that students will internalize “design thinking” such that they begin to treat everything in their lives as a design challenge.  In fact, this year at GCAA, teachers are learning to develop curriculum using a design thinking framework known as “Understanding by Design.”

It’s important not to think of design thinking as a set of prescribed/recipe steps.  However, it can be useful to share a common language when reflecting upon the design process.  This is a poster in the Makerspace that illustrates the design process in a student-friendly manner.  Think -> Make -> Improve -> Fix -> Make Better.

-Are they recording these steps?

Yes, reflection will be embedded in Makerspace activities via journaling, photo, and video.  Students will be expected to communicate and defend original ideas and inventions.  Look for student artifacts to be posted on this blog soon!

-What are the long term benefits for students/society?

With design thinking, students are no longer consumers of academic information, but rather active participants in creating their own knowledge.  Design and innovation consulting firm IDEO describes design thinking this way:  “Design Thinking is the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and a process to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education.”

-How is this not just tinkering and goofing off?

In a society where employers are demanding interdisciplinary experience, students must be empowered as STEAM-literate agents of change.  Check out, Learning by Making: American kids should be building rockets and robots, not taking standardized tests.


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