This month's discussion, led by Michael Darfler, the Makerspace Director at Friends' Central School, focused on bringing making out of the Makerspace and into the community as a whole. We also had the opportunity to see their new MakerNook, a mini-makerspace designed specifically for the FCS Middle School.
This month's round table was hosted at Agnes Irwin School by Janet Fry, an Agnes Irwin Innovation Fellow. Janet was designing an end-of-year research project for her 11th grade Honors US History class and led a discussion about how to incorporate design thinking skills into traditional humanities work and how to make these learning experiences most meaningful to students.
This month's round table was hosted at Mercy Career and Technical High School in Philadelphia. We chatted with two students who shared their experience with the IMPACT Philly program, which was developed by teachers Lori Aument and Mary Ruskey.
The IMPACT Philly program has students design projects that drive social change in their communities using design thinking. Their mission is to connect the classroom to the community to promote career and college readiness skills.
May's Design Round Table was held at The Shipley School and hosted by Lower School Science Teacher Dan Del Duca and Upper School Science Teacher and Elizabeth Zodda.
We began with a discussion on how maker-ed skills can be incorporated into other disciplines, and shared stories of how making has facilitated cross-disciplinary projects. Afterwards, we visited the school's beautiful maker facilities and looked at some student work.
We had a fantastic turnout this month, with educators from The Shipley School, Agnes Irwin, Friends' Central, Westtown, The Haverford School, and others.
April's Design Round Table brought together an exciting mix of K-12 and university educators at the Industrial Design department at The University of the Arts.
Industrial Design Program Director Alexandra Schmidt-Ullrich took us on a tour of the undergraduate studios, where we met students diligently working on their final projects. She also walked us through the department's shop, where we met Shop Supervisor Justin Bernard, who was working with students to set up new 3D printers.
Following the tour, PlusUs founder and UArts Lecturer Phil Holcombe facilitated a conversation about makerspaces and distributed making with Friend Central's Michael Darfler, who directs the school's makerspace.
Thanks to the students and faculty at UArts who shared their time, expertise, and insight into what a design education looks like!
This month Ryan Barnes, DREAM Lab coordinator at Baldwin School led and hosted at Baldwin's DREAM Lab makerspaces in the lower, middle, and upper schools.
Ryan showed us the different spaces, projects, and tools used to ignite inquiry and facilitate hands-on learning at Baldwin. Their fantastic projects ranged from 3D printed bubble wands, to laser cut tessellations to Rube Goldberg machines. After we explored these spaces, we had some thought provoking conversations about the role of technology in makerspaces, including the pros and cons of 3D printers, and the relationship between maker classes and free project time.
Thanks to Ryan Barnes and the Baldwin School for hosting an enjoyable evening!
February's round table brought together a great group of educators, designers, and makers. Brie Daley, Light Lab Director at Friends' Central School (FCS), led and hosted the round table at the new Ulmer Family Light Lab, a lower school making facility equipped with four themed Maker Studios.
After a welcome from the FCS lower school principal Kelly Bird Pierre and introductions, we kicked off the evening with an empathy role playing exercise. Pairs took turns attempting the difficult task of tracing a star using only a reflection from a mirror, with one partner instructing the other through the task. The activity helped remind us how difficult trying new ways of thinking and doing can be for students, and the importance of understanding their frustrations, so that we can provide appropriate support.
Brie and Michael Darfler, the FCS upper school makerspace director, led the group on a tour of the Light Lab facility exploring the four themed maker studios, Natural Science, Media/Computing, Fabrication, and Design and the type of projects going on in each space. In the Natural Science studio, FCS students were growing lettuce and herbs, testing and tracking soil pH, caring for the plants, and observing growth patterns. In the Design studio, students were working on a Science/Spanish project drawing and naming the skeletal and muscular systems. In the Fabrication and Media/Computing studios Kindergarteners were building cardboard cars with working LittleBits headlights and horns which they will use with the green screen to create videos.
Throughout the tour and discussion we explored the value of mixed-grade projects and authentic learning opportunities, how to fit making into teacher and student schedules, how to run meaningful professional development to get teachers excited, where to source materials, and various tools and tricks to enhance your maker culture.
Thank you to Brie, Michael, and the entire Friends' Central Maker community for hosting a great evening.
Margaret Powers kicked off January's meeting by leading us through Draw Toast, a drawing exercise that explores systems thinking. Dan Slack of Agnes Irwin School then led the meeting by sharing his vision for his "Design and Build" class, a two week special study program for students who want to learn what it's like to be a member of a design team by designing a desk to serve a client need. He used the Round Table to test out ideas and pose questions to the group. We worked through a Visible Thinking Question Starts Routine he hopes to use to kick off the class, and led by his questions, brainstormed ideas and strategies to help make Dan's class more successful.
Margaret hosted the meeting in the new STEAM Studio at Agnes Irwin School, a flexible and creative space where students and faculty come to design and work on interdisciplinary projects.
Gary Heidt, a design minded learner and educator, led November's round table. Gary began the meeting by leading an empathy building activity based on the children's book, The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. Each participant reflected on the people, objects, places, and actions that are important to them, diagramed their reflections, and shared with a partner. Each participant was then tasked with designing the most magnificent thing for their partner inspired by their diagrams and the conversation it facilitated. Designs ranged from a solar powered radio to a classroom with wings.
Gary also shared his experience teaching a high school design class and led a short brainstorm exploring how his new "The Extraordinaires Design Thinking" club could utilize and hack The Exraordinaires Design Studio game.
Mary Ruskey and Lori Aument hosted the meeting at Mercy Career and Technical High School, a project-based, four-year co-educational Catholic vocational high school in East Falls. Vice Principal Catherine Glatts gave a short tour of the building and career lab classrooms.
Mary Ruskey and Lori Aument, business teachers at Mercy Career and Technical High School, led October's round table by sharing their experience creating, organizing, and facilitating Student Impact Projects. They transformed their high school business class into a community partnership project where students worked to tackle a social issue in their community.
Margaret Powers hosted the meeting in the new STEAM Studio at Agnes Irwin School, a flexible and creative space where students and faculty come to design and work on interdisciplinary projects.