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Wednesday, January 31 • 10:30am - 11:30am
Don’t build a Maker Space, Found a Design Firm

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Is your goal to train the next furnace assembly person, the next furnace maintenance person, or the creator of Nest? In our new “Economy of Ideas”, we need to train students how to develop creative solutions to real-world problems, not just a baseline level of competency with soon-to-be-replaced technology. To accomplish this goal, we propose using the analogy of a Design Firm, rather than that of a Maker Space. In our scenario, students choose (or are assigned) an area to work in, have outside adult stakeholders they are responsible to, identify real problems that exist in the area, learn to use the tools they need to accomplish their goal, and must present their solutions to the stakeholders. This approach values a diverse skill set - interviewing and observing people, analysis in teams, creativity and sketching, persuasive presentation of solutions - in addition to engineering/”making”. Additionally, students who might not think of themselves as looking like “traditional” engineers are now invested in a problem they care about and are motivated to learn whatever tools they need to complete the project, despite any stigmas. This approach has grown significantly at the university level and we believe it can be adopted at the K-12 level. This interactive session will describe an implementation of this model, demand creative work from the audience, and offer lessons to be shared for those interested.


Wednesday January 31, 2018 10:30am - 11:30am
Primrose Ballroom C