Innovative by Design
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” ~Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., 1955-2011
At Journeys School we do not just use technology, we create it. To cultivate the spirit of innovation—and develop the leading innovators of their generation—middle and high school students are creating products and solutions in response to needs that arise. The Technology Design Cycle is a tool to help students do this. It consists of four stages: investigate, plan, create, and evaluate. However, this is not a linear process of one stage progressing to the next, but rather it is a web in which any stage can connect to any other. For example, while evaluating a plan students may feel the need to further investigate the problem before creating their solution.
To meet the two-fold objectives of 1) learning how to enact the design cycle and 2) engaging with technology responsibly at home and in school, middle school students’ kicked off technology with a project that addressed the mandate, “How do we use technology well?” As students investigated this problem, with help from Steve Whisenand of Teton County Library, four main topics emerged: presenting yourself well (being thoughtful of what you share online, protecting private information, no cyberbullying, etc.); safe surfing (avoiding malware, clickjacking, etc.); smart research (finding reputable sites, citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, etc.); and technology use at school (computers as a tool not a distraction, etc.). Students then planned, created, and evaluated an educational presentation about these issues using programs of their choice from Prezi to iMovie. This project culminated in students signing a declaration of responsible technology use that they compiled from the presentations.
Future technology design projects will integrate into coursework, including the Culture Fair, a joint science-art-technology project about the human body, and LEGO engineering.
By embracing the process of technological design, Journeys School is fostering innovation—and therefore leadership—in its students. To fully understand the importance of the design cycle, we again turn to the words of Steve Jobs,
“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”
Your comment must be approved before it will be added.