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Les commented on Open Exhibition for Student Voice

Hi David! Great idea, I like how you're thinking about making student's work relevant. For getting students engaged in civic issues, could you start by doing an investigation? Check out The Center for Urban Pedagogy and their "Urban Investigations" model - http://welcometocup.org/Projects/UrbanInvestigations

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Les commented on Urban Hiking Mystery Adventure

Great idea! Encouraging place-based education is a wonderful way for students to shift their perspective on where they live and I find it sparks curiosity naturally. I'd love to hear more about how the course is set up. I teach a course in Urban Planning and Design and this would be a great interdisciplinary approach to the course. Thanks for sharing!

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Les commented on Inquiry & Design Lab

Thanks for the video, Garth. I like the idea of connecting the students to real world problems and I'm interested in exploring the curricular/pedagogical aspects of your design lab further.

If I were using this model in my classroom (which I do!), I would have students start with the real world experience, and create their own (or modify/personalize already existing) essential questions based on what they experience in the real world. For example, start with the visit to the farm and place students in the role of "detectives" or "researchers" and allow them to experience the "problems" first, rather than starting with essential questions and then visiting the farm to gather evidence. Here's an example from my own experience...

In the past, I had students complete a very similar project. in which they were looking at the sustainability of our farming system, using a design thinking approach. The first few years that I ran this propject, I always defined the problem for them -- I provided the essential question and then they had to find a solution. However, after refining my understanding of the Design Thinking process, I realized that by defining the problem for them, I was limiting their ability to be innovative, and skipping two important steps in the design process. Last year, I started with the experience in the real world and allowed the students to create the profile of their "user" and then define the problem based on their experience. This emphasized the human centered design approach to problem solving (they were solving a problem for a specific person or group of people) and resulted in more innovative and varied solutions to the problem. They defined problems that I hadn't even thought of and came up with much more interesting essential questions than I would have.

Any thoughts on how this approach could fit into the physical space of the design lab? It would definitely be useful in the prototyping phase, but perhaps the lab could also be useful at other points along the way....