We often forget, as adults, how infrequently young people get the chance in school to pursue their idea, to build their thing. So it was inspiring to have the chance recently to return to Beavercreek and visit the new design labs and feel the excitement of students brainstorming and prototyping ideas and owning it. Catch the short video from our visit here.
In the 8th grade course, students were looking at how they could create a more welcoming school environment. One group showed us the relaxation lounge that would be next to the cafeteria, a more comfortable and cozy work environment than the rows of desks in study hall. A different group showed us how the app they brainstormed would help new students find their classes during the hectic first week of school.
In another class, students were thinking about how to re-design classrooms to improve learning. Stationary bikes with desks to raise heart rates and increase mental focus? What about more engaging, hands-on activities that got students up and out of their seats?
One of the teachers, talking about her first month as a design thinking facilitator, laughed about how difficult it is to let go - to allow the students to make mistakes, or follow an idea that doesn’t seem promising. How it’s so tempting to jump in and steer them to a “better” idea. But it makes such a big difference to students. I was talking with one of the students in that class. “Design Thinking is a different kind of thinking. Usually there’s a right and a wrong.” I asked him what it felt like to be in a class where there wasn’t a right and a wrong. “It feels like there’s a lot of paths you could go down, like this thing you’re making is yours.”