This month, our focus is firmly on innovation and how we foster this here at ASH. In Dr. Lowe’s Corner this week he talks about how, as educators we, “help students explore the world through a process of inquiry, taking advantage of the natural curiosity we all have.” This inquiry-led learning permeates across all subjects at both our campuses, in particular across our design and technology fields. Imagination is a skill we all have. We may not think of ourselves as creative or artistic, but imagination is a part of everyone's daily life. Our purpose built spaces for design and technology across our divisions, encourages our students to embrace their imaginations, ask questions and to embrace hands-on learning.
This photo essay is a testament to the hard work of our teachers in both the ECC and main campus, in particular our specialist teachers; Mr. Rynearson, Mr. Spackman and Mr. Coyle.
Let’s begin in the brand new Design Lab over at the ECC, where Mr. Rynearson, the science and technology teacher, envisions this space as a place for our youngest students to explore and create. In this space and in his teaching, Mr. Rynearson heroes the design process based around “TMI” - think, make, improve, and we saw this in action with a kindergarten class busy building house models for their elephant Mabel.
Mr. Spackman is the upper elementary computer science and technology coach. He works with students in the Creation Station, and also works alongside classroom teachers. During their time in the upper elementary, students begin learning about computational thinking and programming, they start with programming animations and games, moving on to working with small robots and micro-bit computers. They then move on to looking at empathetic design, this is centered around “what is this person’s problem and how can I solve it”. The micro pet project in grade 4 is the culmination of this work, where students worked with partners to design the type of pet they need. This included programming a computer program to create a tamagotchi-style virtual pet and designing the physical look of the pet too.
When we were visiting the middle school design technology space, Mr. Coyle drew our attention to the Design Thinking Process that he keeps top of mind with his students in their learning and work. It is based on the Stanford d.School model and begins with the step of empathizing that then leads on to the other steps of defining, ideating, prototyping, testing and sharing. We saw students hard at work, bringing their ideas and designs for pollinator houses to life, as they began to build models and use the various tools in the space.
It’s so incredible to see how students explore their creativity and to have our amazing faculty who facilitate this type of learning!