What does it take to inspire
There’s a certain level of pride that comes from designing your own home. The satisfaction you can obtain from observing the concept take shape from the ground up is incomparable. Add imagination and innovation to spruce up your idea, though, and then you’ve really got something special.
That’s exactly what the Grade 7 Innovate students of GEMS Dubai American Academy got to do with a recent project called “Future Homes” under the guidance of Paul Myer Hopkins, a digital video and innovation instructor at DAA.
“The project has a multi-faceted approach that incorporates all 6 of DAA’s Future Fluencies,” explains Paul. The Fluencies allowed the creative Grade 7 Innovators to use structured processes to achieve their creative design goals in ways that foster truly meaningful learning.
Where do we
begin to transform?
As with any authentic learning journey, it all begins with defining the challenge. “Their first phase involved gathering information to identify the most urgent problems facing the world today,” Paul says. From there, the research focused on advancements in science and technology and how those ideas could be applied to designing more efficient homes. “The design cycle was applied as they developed prototypes, and then applied recently-acquired Tinkercad skills to build virtual 3D models,” he continues.
A creative design tool like Tinkercad lent itself well to this kind of work as it provides a multidimensional experience for both designer and observer. In using it, the student innovators were able to bring their ideas to life in intriguing interactive ways. Another major focus throughout the entire Future Homes project was on students collaborating effectively. This was made all the easier through the document sharing capabilities of both Tinkercad and Googles Docs, which the Grade 7 Innovators used exclusively.
How do we plot a
path to success?
As the work progressed, the Grade 7 Innovators produced some amazing proposals that showcased their imagination, ingenuity, and problem-solving abilities. Some of the notable concepts they generated were things like a city-wide power conservation solution that involves placing sensors on recycling bins that relay vital information to their main plant. Another idea involved washroom facilities containing biotechnology that warns occupants about the symptoms of possible impending illness.
In addition to other groundbreaking ideas like various eco-friendly green home features that cut down on air pollution, and portable in-home power outlets that have a lifetime power supply, the students also produced videos using green screen technology that let them take viewers on virtual tours of the homes they designed.
All in all, the Grade 7 Innovators brought together teams that truly envisioned the future, and found ways to bring their dreams into a reality that could one day be more real than we may think.
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
As Paul reflects on both present and future learning journeys with his Grade 7 Innovators, he can’t help but marvel at the positive changes that the Fluencies have made at DAA, both for teachers and students.
“I have always understood the ‘teacher as facilitator’ concept but it has not come naturally to me,” he admits. “The Fluencies provide a framework for this to happen, and I am much more comfortable now standing on the sidelines and seeing students try, fail, try again, and then succeed. This is so important for the innovative and creative mindset. There are no mistakes, only discoveries!”
So what’s on the horizon for Paul and his intrepid learners as they continue with the Future Fluencies? “We are in the relatively early stages, but I can only hope that we are able to run with this program for many years,” says Paul. “I look forward to more training and continued implementation.”