In 2016, a Lab was built to host the Design, Innovation and Technology program. The goal of this lab was to apply design thinking principles to technology and academic subjects. Over the course of six years and a global pandemic, students used design thinking modes and various technologies and technological languages to see and solve problems.
Redwood Day saw the potential for this program to grow throughout the school. As things grow, things change. Embracing change, we saw an opportunity to grow this program into great.
Welcome to the Design, Build, Innovate Lab (DBiLab)! The DBiLab is the modern makerspace reimagined for our ever-complex and uncertain world. It’s a place where the eco/equity designer and builder within you can come to design, build and innovate because we believe all humans are purpose-driven designers and builders wanting to leave people, places, and the planet better than they found them.
As Director of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Toni Griffin says, “Design is how we use our imaginations to improve the world.” While in the DBiLab, Redwood Day students will engage their imagination through purpose-driven and cross-curricular projects that allow them to build anything from objects to new approaches to complex problems they care about. Students will build their ideas through “phygital” (physical and digital) experiences. These experiences will encompass technologies spanning centuries of innovation from paper and pen, basic wood/metal fabrication, and 3D rendering/printing and coding.
Technological diversity and competence are not enough though, for the complexities and disparities of our time. The DBiLab believes everyone can design. The challenge we invite students to reach for is how they choose to design. The DBiLab will be the first makerspace in the country to utilize ecological- (7th Generation Principle) and equity-oriented design practices (Liberatory Design, created from a collaboration with Stanford’s K12Lab at the d.school and the National Equity Project) to redefine innovation to include these very necessary mindsets for the complexities of our time. All of these technologies (coupled with the designer’s mindsets) will provide a rich toolbox to “reach for their next challenge, embrace differences and develop the intellectual and emotional courage to be ready for anything.”
DBiLab dynamic duo, Beth Entrekin (designer, RD teacher of 7 years, and parent of Nick, ‘14 and Clayton, ‘19) and David Clifford (new to RD, hailing from Lick-Wilmerding H.S. East Bay School for Boys and Stanford’s d.school), view this year’s DBiLab as a living prototype designed to learn more about the Redwood Day community and the direction forward with the DBiLab. During this prototyping year, Beth and David hope to:
- Co-design an irresistible K-8 curriculum and culture that catalyze each student’s inner design and builder out to play with their world!
- Work and learn closely with the Redwood Day teachers to learn where the Redwood Day faculty are already designing, building, and innovating and look for ways to build a more sustained and integrated design and build ethos through the school culture. We will do this by engaging in the very design practices the students will use!
- Co-design a summer institute for students and educators beyond the walls of Redwood Day
More than a makerspace, the DBiLab is an invitation for the designer and builder within all of us to emerge and engage with the rigors of our very real and uncertain world with curiosity, creativity, cultural humility, and craftsmanship. We can’t wait to build with you!