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Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation

28 Feb 2019

Why Design Thinking Matters for Our Students

This post was originally published in the January Issue of MVmag.pub (the Mount Vernon Digital Magazine) and is written by guest writer, Alyssa Gallagher who is one of the featured speakers at Fuse19. “How was school today?” I asked my boys, ages seven and nine. Jake, a fourth grader, mumbled something under his breath that I didn’t hear word for word but I heard enough to know he was less than thrilled with his day and he accepted it as […]

14 Feb 2019

Design Thinking in Preschool

A guest post by Erin Carey, Preschool Head of Learning and Innovation, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School So, you’ve heard a lot about Design Thinking, right? Well, have you ever thought about what that looks like with different groups of people? Specifically, what might that look like with young children, and the teachers that work with them every day? Here in the Preschool at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, we utilize the principles and practices of Design Thinking through Project Work done […]

07 Feb 2019

A New Design Thinking Model – The Compass

We are risk takers, tinkerers, hackers, and most of all, design thinkers!  And designers iterate, right?! We are so excited to officially launch Compass, the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation’s new design thinking model.  And it’s all housed in our new Design Thinking Field Guide for you.   For a number of years, the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation have used a design thinking process as one of our pillars for learning and real-world […]

17 Jan 2019

Design Thinking At Darlington School – Interview with Jennifer Sikes

Meg Cureton of MVIFI met-up with Jennifer Sikes of Darlington School at the Innovation in Teaching Conference at UGA in Athens, GA to discuss creating, implementing, and maintaining Design Thinking processes both in the classroom level and within the faculty/administration at Darlington School (Rome, GA).   Meg: Tell me a little about you and what led you to begin exploring design thinking? Jennifer: About three years ago, I sort of had a mid-life career crisis and considered leaving teaching to […]

10 Jan 2019

When Students Are Given Choice, Craftsmanship Follows

Being based out of Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, MVIFI has the privilege of seeing Design Thinking and Student Agency happening all around us. We recently published a story before the winter holidays regarding work being done on the Glenn Campus that involved humanities students being given a large amount of freedom in empathy based PBL (project based learning). Today, we want to turn our focus to the Founders Campus students and a multi-week project being done in the grade 5 […]

13 Dec 2018

A Teacher’s Reflection on Courageous Conversations PBL

Guest post by Kristen Pisacreta: Seventh Grade Literature Project Based Learning A Teacher’s Reflection on a PBL centered on Courageous Conversations This semester students read the novel Monster, by Walter Dean Myers and explored what it feels like to be silenced in our judicial system and what rights are actually allowed by the First Amendment. Students analyzed the First Amendment and evaluated historical court cases that challenged the way we view our First Amendment rights regarding freedom of speech. After analyzing the […]

06 Dec 2018

Diverse Network: How To Create One in Your School or Organization

Whether you work in education, the corporate sector, or from home, a diverse network is crucial to removing biases and enhancing personal and professional development. Having a big network isn’t enough — to be effective, it has to be a diverse network as well. Strong connections to people of different demographic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, with each bringing a set of diverse skills and experiences, create higher value in any organization. While a single individual may have a valid perspective, […]

08 Nov 2018

Using StrengthsFinder to discover the potential in our students (and employees)

One of my very favorite things about working with students is watching them come to understand how unique they are and how unique they can become. For nearly 5 years, I have taught the Transformational Leadership class at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, and one of the core pieces of the curriculum is to discover and harness that which makes our students unique: their strengths. The tool we use with our students is StrengthsQuest, the Gallup StrengthsFinder test. The 30-minute […]

25 Oct 2018

Starting with a Prototype

At the center of every design thinking challenge are empathy and an authentic user.  So what happens when you jump right into prototyping to solve a problem?  How do you know if you’re solving for the right problem? At the beginning of the school year, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School did just that –  started with a prototype for “Family Style Lunch” and then stood back, gained some empathy, iterated, and plowed ahead. Trying to Solve a Problem Lunchtime was really […]

15 Sep 2018

Establishing Student Agency

How to Recognize Roles, Set Expectations, and Let Go in Inquiry-Based Learning In October of 2017, the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA approached a team of Innovation Diploma* (iD) students to curate and design an interactive exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. Over the next eight months, I watched this team grow into empathetic storytellers who created a truly unique experience looking at current activism through the lens of […]

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