On December 6th nearly 50 Innovation Cohort 2.0 members from seven schools gathered to continue exploring how the new innovative spaces in their buildings are shifting instructional practices. Kiffany Lychock, Director of Educational Innovation, and Kelly Sain, Director of Education Technology, modeled ways to encourage collaboration, creativity, and empathy, characteristics of a growth mindset. The overarching theme for our time together was how to gather data on the impact the new spaces are having on teaching and learning and how to interpret and communicate this data for stakeholders.
We began the day at the CU Boulder’s Idea Forge, which is a flexible space for engineering students to work and produce a wide variety of projects and products. Innovation Cohort members toured this student-centered space, saw first-hand students who were actively engaged in essential 21st Century Skills, and made authentic connections to BVSD’s Innovative Guiding Principles (IGPs). While at Idea Forge, attendees participated in a fun, collaborative design challenge activity named The Extraordinaires. Through team discussions, iteration, and critical thinking, participants identified the unique needs of different characters/personas and designed solutions for them. Connections were made to the book The Innovator’s Mindset, and discussions were held around making instructional shifts in our schools. Understanding how empathy for a diverse group of students informs how we utilize spaces is a powerful element of this work.
Moving forward, the cohort will continue to reflect on how to implement professional learning at their schools that harnesses the potential of student-centered instruction. Cohort members will further investigate how the innovative environments in their schools are positively impacting student-centered learning experiences.