An elementary student was empowered to help engineer a new joystick using our school’s 3D printer. She worked with Mr. Hinnenkamp to create a tiny joystick sleeve that fit over the broken drone remote controls using a design program called Tinkercad. Everything works as good as new now, and our students had the opportunity to experience authentic innovation and learner empowerment.
This is precisely why we feel it is critical to put students in the center of their learning (even if it means things get messy or broken every once in a while). Kids have the capacity to innovate, engineer, think critically, and solve a myriad of real problems; they don’t require worksheets to do so! All students deserve the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology in a safe and supportive learning environment. If the first time students have the opportunity to innovate and invent using real-world tools is high school or college, then we will have failed them.
When kids are at the center, they can be empowered to fix their mistakes and learn from them.