Students at AISB have a range of opportunities in design and maker education experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom. Maker education and design thinking are two approaches that aim to equip students with skills for the 21st century.
Maker education emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning that involves creating, building, and problem-solving, often using tools and technology. The design thinking process is a human-centric approach to creative problem-solving, focusing on understanding the needs of the user, generating ideas, and creating prototypes to address complex problems.
The Design Thinking model improves children's creativity, problem-solving, cooperation, communication, curiosity, questioning, and empathy. It allows students to express their ideas freely and supports social, emotional, language, and cognitive developmental domains. Central to the process is the ability to empathize with the user of the product being designed. The process is not linear; learners can move fluidly between the elements.
Both approaches are linked to experiential learning tactics and aim to nurture critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills in students.
Early Learning Center
The ELC teachers have access to Tinker Tubs, a maker education initiative designed specifically for our setting at AISB. Find out more about the Tinker Tubs here and here. We also have a modified Design Thinking Process for our younger learners. We are starting to think about ways this might be used with students in the ELC.
ELC Design Thinking Cycle
The Elementary School has its own Makerspace, located in the Secondary Design section of the building. The focus of the space is to encourage the Elementary students to embrace a Maker Mindset. Here is a short video explaining the pedagogy behind our approach to Maker Education. We have also collated a Padlet if you wish to delve further.
The space is used at lunchtimes (one grade per day) for students who wish to spend their recess time tinkering, creating, or collaborating. We have also held ‘Makerspace Magic’, ‘Girls Who Code’ and ‘Digital Storytelling’ CCAs in the space.
Elementary students also use the space for a wide range of activities connected to the Units of Inquiry. For example, at the start of the Grade 4 Design unit, students work through the Design Thinking process to . Our focus is on tinkering, thinking, and creating.
Elementary Design Thinking Cycle
The Secondary School Design Programme is located in its Design Center, which features several classrooms dedicated to the instruction of the MYP Design and the IB Design Technology Programme. The Design Center comprises an industrial arts space, industrial printing space with laser cutter and 3D printers, and digital design studios, providing students with access to a wide range of tools and technologies.
The programme aims to provide an innovative and exciting learning opportunity for students who are passionate about design and technology. The curriculum is designed to be hands-on and interactive, allowing students to collaborate with their peers, work on real-world design challenges whilst adhering to the Design Cycle principles.
All students in grades 6 through 8 participate in a year long product design course focusing on human centered design whereas grade 9 sees students choose from a range of semester based electives including product design, journalism, intro to coding, photography and intro to programming. Grade 10 students choose a year long elective from offerings like product design, journalism, computer science, programming and digital media. Grade 11 and 12 students may continue in design through the DP Design Technology courses.