What is this thing called Design Thinking and why is everyone so excited about it?
Prosthetic Finger Project
Here are the previous prototypes we have designed. We will keep you posted about the next stages in the process.
What are some of key ways that the D. Labs differ from a traditional classroom setting?
The biggest differences between our Design Labs a traditional classroom are in the approach to learning, classroom design and student/teacher relationship. In the D Labs, students are collaborating to solve real-world problems and not just simulating a theoretical solution to a possible real-world issue. Students research real issues and gathering first-hand information from the user or users that they are designing for. They then create, test, and implement the products and/or services they develop. Additionally, the class structure is much more student led than a traditional classroom. The teacher takes on the role of facilitator instead of the traditional role as the main provider of knowledge. They offer guidance and act as a resource when necessary. The classrooms themselves are unique in design by having areas set aside for different tasks such as presentation, brainstorming, researching, and prototyping. The labs have flexible seating and can be arranged per task. All our Design Labs are fully stocked with tools and materials ranging from hammers and glue sticks to 3D printers and precision mills.
How does this type of instruction and technique give students an edge in college and the workforce?
The education our design students experience affords them many advantages over students who come from traditional education programs. Our students develop much higher levels of critical thinking skills and refine these through hands on practice, authentic implementation, and real-life experience. They have greater opportunity to develop collaboration and communication skills at levels that many students would not normally experience until they work in an internship or career-related environment. Beavercreek Design Lab students gain experience in working together to solve specific problems or meet the needs of individuals and/or groups inside their community and the larger world.
One current example of this type of experience is the design and construction of prosthetic limbs to aid injured individuals in performing their daily tasks. Another example is the creation of a product to help improve security at schools. Projects like these teach our design students how to research information that is needed to solve specific problems and attempt to meet the needs of the individuals for whom they are designing. Students learn to find accurate information without having a teacher tell them where to begin or how to proceed. Students also develop a greater sense of responsibility due to the fact that they have been held accountable for the products and services that they help develop. If their product fails or doesn’t meet the need that it was designed for, it has a real effect beyond the grade a student receives. Their users are counting on them. The traits our Design Lab students develop in their studies are valued by educators and employers alike and provide our students a competitive edge in tomorrow’s workforce.