From July 29th through August 2nd, Morristown-Beard School hosted EXPLO’s Critical Design Making Camp for Educators, a hands-on training program that helps teachers integrate design thinking into the classroom.
Fourteen MBS faculty members — as well as teachers from Montclair-Kimberley Academy, Pingry, and Rumson Country Day School — participated in the week-long program that was designed to jump-start critical making and innovation.
In a collaborative environment, the participants practiced solving open-ended challenges, critical thinking, observing and questioning, and shared successful practices. While maker projects often emphasize the final creation, the EXPLO camp prioritized process over product.
As part of the workshop, faculty members were trained on maker equipment including laser cutters and 3D printers, although the emphasis of the program was on mindset over machines. The camp was designed to encourage complex and creative problem-solving, clarity of communication, and collaboration.
“I think the biggest take away I got from camp was seeing how using fewer resources really gets the creativity flowing,” said Learning Systems Specialist and Digital & Visual Arts teacher Deanna Whelan. “It was the first time I saw how adding more constraints actually sparked more creative solutions to a problem.”
“I’ve been considering recently how to investigate the relationship between the visual and the verbal a bit more deliberately in my classroom, and the EXPLO camp gave me plenty of ideas to try out in the fall,” said MBS Upper School English teacher Darren Lovelock. “The instructors also walked us through plenty of exercises that illustrated the differences between observation and interpretation. These will be very useful for my sophomores as they sharpen their tools of literary analysis.”
“EXPLO was awesome,” agreed MBS Upper School English teacher Andrew Holbrook. “What I took away from all of it is that we can help students become more observant, more questioning, and more disciplined and at the same time, more creative in their thinking.”
The workshop was especially timely for Morristown-Beard School since the School will open its new Center for Innovation & Design (CID) this fall. The CID, a cutting-edge facility designed to inspire self-directed design thinking for the 21st century, will serve as an “idea incubator” where students will analyze challenges, deconstruct them, think creatively, tinker, forward new and unconventional ideas, and vet them with their peers in a sort of “Shark Tank” mentality. Throughout the year, MBS faculty, students and parents have been participating in a series of workshops to become more familiar with the principles of design thinking and the “maker movement.”
Morristown-Beard School participants in the EXPLO Critical Design Making Camp included: Katie Cannito, Audra Fannon, David Gold, Andrew Holbrook, Cathy Kellstrom, Ben Krauss, Aime Lonsdorf, Darren Lovelock, Matt Martino, Kate Muttick, Jordan Reed, Sam Tuttle, Deanna Whelan, and Carolann Zavorskas.