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From Low to High Tech: The Art of Design Thinking and Collaboration

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 118A

Explore and create: Exploratory Creation lab
Preregistration Required
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Educational Technologist/Instructional Designer
The School at Columbia University
Anderson Harp is Educational Technologist at The School at Columbia University working with Grade 3, 4, and 5 students and faculty. He joined The School in 2020 having previously taught for 10 years in both public and independent schools, beginning his teaching career as a lead elementary school teacher before transitioning to the role of EdTech Specialist. Anderson has organized many professional development workshops for teachers of grades K-12 on topics including blended learning, STEM, and DEI. He has presented research internationally on the impact digital biographies created with computer science have on collegial empathy in the classroom.
Visual Art Teacher
The School at Columbia University
Michelle Lee is a Visual Art Teacher at The School at Columbia, a K-8 independent school based in New York City. She received a BFA in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University and her master's in Art and Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to TSC, Michelle was an art teacher with Success Academies and an NYC public elementary school. Michelle has worked with museums and non-profits as a teaching artist. In teaching, she has a focus on arts integration and exploring ways for students to feel empowered and expressive through art materials and storytelling.

Session description

Art and technology unite to develop five easy steps for prototyping innovative solutions to everyday problems. In this workshop, learn about the model with student examples and get hands-on experience with construction and prototyping with resourceful materials and digital tools free to any user.

Purpose & objective

Our session presents student-led projects that were driven by their personal observations and experiences. Students were tasked to make informed solutions for problems they identified, utilizing existing knowledge, user surveys, and research. This addresses the ISTE Standards through their formation of new ideas and an emphasis on their design process instead of the final product. They collaborated with partners to generate feedback for each other and provide support while creating both their digital and physical models.

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[5 minutes] Welcome and Introductions
1. Who are we?
- Zoom Around the Room Introductions (Name, Position)
- Introduce icebreaker
2. Quick Prototyping Challenge [peer-to-peer interaction]
Use anything you have (Paper, rubber bands, binder clips, no 3-D Printing right now!)
Design Challenge Prompts with design challenge (cannot have been invented before)
- I need to protect myself from the rain
- I need to keep my hands warm
- I need to purify water from a stream
- I need to carry groceries up several flights of stairs
3. Ready, Set, Design (Prototyping Challenge/Icebreaker)
- 10 minutes of prototyping in small groups [peer-to-peer interaction]
- 5 minutes round of sharing out
4. Overview (Big Ideas) [15 minutes]
- About Our School (student devices 1:1 MacBook, caution using tablets for tinkercad, previous experience/learning, field trip with Cooper-Hewitt)
- Share about our 5 steps for Design Thinking:
- Defining the Engineering process (ideation/divergent thinking activities - emphasizing that it isn’t an art show - an expo, process-oriented and see the change in thinking)
5. Student Process
- Observed and Identified (Daily life, problem-solving)
- Brainstormed and Need assessment (who’s going to use it, how does it work) and practiced feedback loop (I like, I wish)
- First Iteration (Sketches) with Feedback
- First Prototypes (what works, come to a decision about which idea they are following through with)
- Next Prototypes (important features, more details, changes and revisions based on peer feedback)
- Talk about the Reflective Process and examples of Student Presentations
- Discuss possible extensions and lessons learned
6. Work Time [20 minutes]
- Choice: Low Tech Prototype or experiment with Tinkercad (device-based activities)
- Design challenge: this can be from the icebreaker, or come up with one your students would be interested in. Work together with a peer or individually.
- Goal: To consider how a process like this might work for your students and in your classroom
[10 minutes]
7. Sharing Out, Q&A, student highlights reel

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Supporting research

Schwartz, D. L., Brophy, S., Lin, X., & Bransford, J. D. (1999). Software for managing complex learning: Examples from an educational psychology course. Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(2), 39-59.
Schwartz, D.L. & Bransford, J.D. (1998). A Time for Telling. Cognition and Instruction. February 1998.
Shepard, R. (1978). Visual Learning, Thinking, and Communication. Retrieved from
Sweller, J. Implications of Cognitive Load Theory for Multimedia Learning. The Cambridge Handbook for Multimedia Learning, Chapter 2.
Black, J.B. Types of Knowledge Representation. CCT Report 92-3
Black, J.B. Introduction to Knowledge-Based Instructional Design. CCT Report 92-4 Chan, M.S. & Black, J.B. (2006).
Cordova, D. I., & Lepper, M. R. (1996). Intrinsic motivation and the process of learning: Beneficial effects of contextualization, personalization, and choice. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(4), 715. Glenberg, A. M., Gutierrez, T,, Levin, J. R., Japuntich, S., & Kaschak, M. P. (2004). Activity and imagined activity can enhance young children's reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 424-436.
Harp 18
Goldstone, R. L., & Wilensky, U. (2008). Promoting transfer by grounding complex systems principles. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17(4), 465-516.
Hatch, M. (2014). The maker movement manifesto: Rules for innovation in the new world of crafters, hackers, and tinkerers.

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Session specifications

Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level:
Skill level:
Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
For Attendees: Chromebook, Mac, or PC Account or Software: TinkerCAD
Subject area:
Performing/visual arts, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Related exhibitors: