20 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
philosophical approach to include not only place as ecology, but place as
economy, cultures, and other social constructs. In 2012, Journeys School,
became an International Baccalaureate World School, and thus began our
foray into Design Thinking. First projects focused on grades 6 to 10 and
technology: creating websites, programming, robotics, etc. We received
a grant to create a small maker-space and added 3-D printing, drill press,
and soldering irons to our laboratory. A closet was converted into a
robust set of shelves with inexpensive materials to prototype solutions.
Students spent time designing new types of clocks, calendars, and
creating websites using readily available online software like Weebly and
Google Sites. This technology approach, while exciting, felt limiting in that
only some parts of the schools found it mission appropriate. We began to
expand the concept of Design Thinking happening only in a specific place
with specific tools to a broader way of thinking and learning to help give
students agency and relevancy in their learning.
Along with the introduction of
Design Thinking at Journeys
School, TSS began constructing
a framework to guide all
educational programs. While
this project is not quite
finalized, the incorporation of
both inquiry and design have
become the core of our place-based educational philosophy.
Students are asked to inquire
into the world with a scientific
lens using the scientific method.
Using the data collected, the
Design Thinking process guides
students to create innovative solutions to discovered challenges. This
alignment of inquiry and design connects clearly to the Next Generation
Science Standards. It gives students a strong grounding in both
understanding communities and making changes for the better. Over the
Students engage with ecological communities
as part of "community-centered design".