It’s a MakeSTEAM world: Design Thinking on the Move

The UnConference Board

I’m just back from a fantastic three days at the NYSAIS STEAMCamp. Twitter: #steam13

So much to think about, so much to process and so many plans to make for the new year.

Thank you to NYSAIS for hosting the event and to all the leaders, facilitators and participants. And special thanks to all my wonderful PDS colleagues.

Design thinking begins with empathy – seeking problems that need solutions.

And the basic cycle is:  Think – Make -Improve


STEAMCamp drew teachers from across NY state.

Here’s a pic of the PDS MakeSTEAM team.

12 PDS educators; 4 PDS alumni parents; 4 new PDS teachers; 2 PDS current parents; 1 trustee; 1 NYSAIS director; 1 head of school.

A chance to work with leaders in the field including – Don Buckley, Jaymes Dec, Gina Marcel and Chris Weaver as well as the PDS MakeSTEAM team: Karen Curtis, David Held, Stan Lichens, Karl Maulks, Kristen Mitidieri, Li Pipman Denaut, Brian Reid, Shirley Rinaldi, Lisa Ruggiero, Emma Sears and Barbara Swanson.


Three days of Design Thinking, Making STEAM connections, Making, Doing, Thinking, Collaborating.

More here.


We live in a multi-dimensional world, everything is connected and we learn by doing.

Check out this from the introduction to the PDS Strategic Plan:

As we gathered information from surveys and listening sessions, we were struck by a thematic congruity among our constituents – a continuous thread that can be summed up as ”learning by doing.” It confirms a desire for school to be even more about hands-on life skills and the practical world of self-sufficiency, designing, engineering, making, tinkering, doing, building and creating.

A focus on learning by doing resonates with our progressive legacy as a school where learning has always been active and engagement prized. It also connects with the renewed fervor for authentic learning that is taking root in innovative public and independent schools nationwide and indeed globally.

A second theme was an interest in renewed commitment to creativity and the arts and to the physical and natural world. Calls for sustainability, forging more direct and personal connections with the material and natural world are everywhere. We seem to be entering a new golden age of making to learn and learning to make, with the emphasis on project-based learning, STEM to STEAM, design thinking, makerspaces, tinkering studios, fab labs and school gardens.

 Slideshow of pics from the STEAMCamp 13

Created with flickr slideshow.

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