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Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation

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 […]

29 Aug 2018

Discovering your creative identity.

Your creative identity can be a powerful milestone in your path to becoming a better maker and lead you to discover purpose in the things you make.   How might you find your own creative identity? We pose this question in the second “lap” of our online course (it’s free, this isn’t a sales pitch – check it all out here) and it is an important one that can always use a little more substance. Why? Well, simply put, discovering […]

19 Aug 2018

Eight Strategies for Building a Feedback-Rich Culture

I spent a good part of this summer at our lake house in Wisconsin. When we first arrived, my two kids, 5 and 7 ran right to their secret hideout they built the previous year. They couldn’t believe their teepee was still standing, and yet they were not too happy to see some of the flooring needed repair. Immediately they got to work collecting materials and rebuilding their hideout. After about an hour of work, they decided they needed to […]

02 Aug 2018

Learning from TODAY

One of the great blessings of being a teacher is the opportunity to rest, reflect and recharge during the summer. There is time to build relationships with others and make use of good “theta wave” time to plan for the next school year. There is even enough time for a guilty pleasure or two. One of mine is drinking too much coffee and spending a whole morning enjoying the Today Show every now and then. These days, however, I can […]

20 Jul 2018

A Summer of Moments

In early June we were on a trail in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee standing under a small set of intertwined trees for covering at it poured on us. With rain jacket hoods up, hats and bags wet, and feet muddy, my colleague Brad Droke yells out to T.J. Edwards and me over the pouring rain, “THIS is a MOMENT!” We laugh for a while and trudge on, but he was absolutely right. Little did we know that the […]

16 Jul 2018

Experiential Learning – Being Off-Grid for 30 Days

“Stop!, don’t come down yet,” someone yelled from below the pass between two peaks in the Beartooth wilderness in Montana. There was an accident below us and my group of 5 wasn’t able to come down until we knew more about the situation. I was one of 12 students with 3 guides off-grid for 30 days on a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) course. The course was designed for outdoor educators and included Wilderness First Responder certification. I wasn’t aware of […]

17 Jun 2018

Solving Problems – Life on the Crag as Natural Learning

When someone says “learning in school does not match real-life learning,” what do you think they mean? Isn’t a student’s experience in school part of their real life? Of course it is, but I think this is what the proverbial someone means – the structures of learning in school don’t closely enough match the structures of learning outside the parameters of typical school. To explore this idea in more detail, I often think of something specific that my older son […]

17 Apr 2018

HMW curate a museum that evokes empathy about social justice?

Blog post by Team 3, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School   We start with questions here at Mount Vernon…. How might we curate a museum that evokes empathy around social justice? Before beginning our research around social justice, our driving question led us to investigate museums and how they are created. We decided to take an expedition to Fernbank Museum of Natural History so that students could examine different types of exhibits as well as elements of museums including lighting, sound, […]

07 Mar 2018

The Paco Project – A Serendipitous Opportunity

An amazing opportunity came my way thanks to my PLN to engage students in a real-world design thinking challenge involving Paco, a blind dog: This could also be a chance for our MVIFI team to test out some tweaks to our DT/MDE methodology that we’ve been tinkering with in an authentic setting – real user, real problem, real designers. But more importantly, it would be an incredible opportunity for students to witness their ability to make an impact through the […]

20 Feb 2018

Using Critique for Formative Assessment and Higher Craftsmanship

Leveling Up Project Craftsmanship with Critique “Craftsmanship means dwelling on a task for a long time and going deeply into it, because you want to get it right.” – Matthew B. Crawford. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work   This week MVIFI hosted Collider  – an in house unconference style professional learning day*. I was curious to test and share a hypothesis that I have been pondering: As critique leads to higher craftsmanship, depth and complexity of […]