Design Thinking in Action

Design Thinking in Action

Design Thinking happens all around us.  Let’s look at some ways Jordan and some of his ASA students have applied this year.

Alarm Cover

Back in November, you might remember when the alarm was accidentally triggered.  The emergency alarms are tucked under the counter at the receptionist’s desk. Over the summer we added the additional options for full lockdown and partial lockdown.  You can see from the image below that they are completely exposed and accessible.

After an hour of measuring and data collection, design sketches were made.   Then a detailed digital design was made before cutting the acrylic pieces on the laser cutter.

After a few rounds of testing for fit, the assembly and installation were complete.  Now the alarm buttons are secure!

Sharp Objects Lock Box

After observing that the check-out system for the box cutters was too reliant on the honor system.  A redesign was in order.

A lockbox was designed to keep sharp objects more secure.  This also improved traceability for students using the box cutters.

Jordan followed the same plan as in the Alarm covers: sketch, digital design, laser cutter.


While the box cutters and sharp objects are more secure, there is still an issue with the slots being too tight and the check-out sheet needs refining.  There is always room to improve systems!

Hot Glue Gun Holders

Design Thinking often starts with identifying a problem.  This project started with piles of glue guns left in the cabinet and tables covered in hot glue.  Glue guns can be messy, especially after a group of students filter through the InnoHub.  A storage solution was in order.  The goal of the first model was to keep them neatly stored in the cupboard, catch the glue when not in use, and hold extra glue sticks.  Design 1 accomplished that.


After using them for a semester, Jordan noticed they were filled with excess hot glue.  A redesign was in order to make the racks last longer with a removable glue catcher. Two more prototypes were made.  Neither has worked as well as the original.

When will the next prototype come out?

Wood Storage

At the start of the Woodworking ASA, Jordan received the lumber for the whole trimester and had nowhere to store it.  He posed this problem to his ASA students in the spring of 2021 to design a solution.  The parameters were:  mobility and accessibility while accommodating all sizes of wood.  Due to the shorted year in spring 2021, the students that designed it did not build it.  In working towards building the original design, this year’s students have made alterations to adapt to their needs.

Students have plans to add pegboard for tool storage to the face of the cart.  This will make tools handy and declutter the tool cart in the InnHub main space.

How can you use design thinking in your daily life?

Pin and Group Tabs in Chrome

Are you a tabaholic?

Here are two tips that can help with organizing your tabs:

#1 Pin Tabs – I like to have mail and calendar one-click away

  • Right-click on a tab and a menu will appear.  Select “Pin”. Now the tab will always be at the left side of your browser window.   Anytime I relaunch Chrome, they are always there.
  • Here is a look at the menu that appears when you right-click on the tab.  Select “Pin” and now you have the Staff Portal added to your pinned tabs.  
  • Note:  Pinned tabs will appear smaller (they are collapsed) than other tabs. This is nice since they take up less space!


#2 – Create Tab Groups – Tab groups are great when you are working on a project that involves several tabs. You can name and color-code the group and view them expanded or minimized.  (Helps to make you not look like a tab junkie)

  • Right-click on a tab that you would like to become a group, select “Add Tab to a New Group”, name the group and select a color.  
  • Find more sites/resources to add to the group in different tabs.  You can right-click and add the tab to an existing group.  Or, you can drag open tabs to the group.  
  • If you click on the tab name, the group will expand or collapse.  This is great for managing projects and finding the correct tab when you need it.
  • Exhibit A:  Here you can see my three pinned tabs on the left, two tab groups (collapsed), and this tab I’m writing this post on. It appears as if  I only have 6 open tabs.


  • Exhibit B:  Once I expand one of the groups, I can see all of the tabs within it.  This makes it very easy to decipher which each tab is, and I have all of the resources just one click away. You can see I opened everything I needed for Advisory this morning and created a tab group.  Tab groups come in handy when you are working on projects that require several documents or sites or to prep all the resources for a meeting or a class.


Other Tips for the Tab Junkies:

I know people are reluctant to shut down and/or restart their computers because they do not want to lose all of their tabs.  If you close Chrome by accident or restart your computer you can restore your last window.

  • Open Chrome –> click the three dots in the top, right-hand side of your browser.
  • Select History –> Not only will a list of your most recent sites visited appear, but you can choose to restore all recent tabs



Thanks to Anthony for the inspiration for this post!

InnoHub October/November Happenings

Integrated Science 9
IS9 teachers Rebecca Pettit, Adam Nollsch, and Tim Birkett have made great use of the InnoHub resources and workspace over the past two months! Students worked on planning for and designing prototypes of cars by applying their knowledge of Newton’s Laws of Motion, air resistance, friction, and velocity. They then built the cars and reengineered them after testing for acceleration and distance as part of their physics summative. Students used the data to complete graphs and analyze their design choices.
More recently, they returned to build solar ovens to test out their ability to heat a marshmallow using insulation and reflection. Students then described the movement of thermal energy through the system they designed and applied knowledge of convection, conduction, and radiation in their explanations.
Grade 9 Advisory
This year the grade 9 students have been pairing up to undertake a design challenge in the InnoHub during advisory. In 20 minutes students design and build a tower. Mr. Wambeke asks them to imagine that they are architects tasked with building the tallest skyscraper in the city where the company’s logo, represented by a tennis ball, should be visible to anyone in the city. They move quickly through the design process, brainstorming and prototyping their towers with popsicle sticks. After the challenge, students are given time to reflect on and discuss their designs. This pilot program gives the students (and advisors) a way to connect with career and academic standards in a fun, creative, and innovative way. At the same time, students learn where the InnoHub is and what it is used for. Yay for collaboration!
Are you interested in using the space for an upcoming project or lesson?  Contact Jordan Wambeke or Lisa Hughes to learn more.

MS Sway in Action

Are you a Sway Master?  Do you want to become one? Those are the question the MS English team proposed to me earlier this year which prompted me to start exploring this tool.

Microsoft Sway is a tool that lets you create interactive reports, digital stories, newsletters, presentations, and more. Sway is part of the office suite and you can find it with your other office apps.  You may have accidentally clicked on it as it shares a resemblance to SharePoint.

Things that I like about Sway are:

  • Ease of use - you can quickly insert text, headings, images, audio, and video in your "Storyline"

  • Design - you can choose from their designs or customize your own


G8 students finished writing their realistic fiction stories and invited me to visit their classes to demo Sway. In advance, we sat down to talk about their expectations and criteria.  They also gave me an example story that I used to create the exemplar (see links below).  Since students had already completed their stories, all they needed to do was put it together in Sway.  I created this infographic to guide them in building their digital stories. They also worked with Mr. Manley in the Audio Hive to record themselves reading their original stories.  What a great way to build reading fluency.  Some students even created their own illustrations – very impressive!

Students in Design Technology I & II were wrapping up their second unit and looking for another option to present their work.  Sway was an easy tool for them to show evidence of the design thinking process and share their projects.

Book a time to meet, send me a Teams message, or stop in for a chat if you would like to learn more about how Sway could be used in your classroom.

Check out some examples below – once you click the link to the Sway, you may need to click Play in the top right-hand corner to view the presentation.




G8 Digital Story (Realistic Fiction) – Teacher Exemplar

G8 Color Blind


G8-The Hospital


Design Thinking Summative II – Teacher Exemplar

Design Thinking Summave II – student example


Stop Motion Annimation #InnoPUBPD

Teachers and staff gathered in the NCPA InnoHub for the first official #InnoPUBPD event of the year to learn about stop motion animation.

For this workshop we followed the framework:  Follow, Make, Tinker, Share

Follow, Make, Tinker, Share was created by William Rankin and Bea Leiderman of Unfold Learning.  This framework is often used in conjunction with project-based learning which is the core of the makerspace.  Jordan and I attended an EARCOS Weekend Workshop in the spring of 2021 led by the creators.  We adapted our stop motion PD to follow this framework.  Check out the slides below to learn more.  


Teachers worked in three teams.  Here is what they created in 15 minutes based on the agreed criteria.  Enjoy!


InnoHub Safety Training and Upcoming Events

InnoHub Safety Training – September 24, 2021

Seventeen teachers and staff completed the InnoHub Safety Training and Best Practices workshop last Friday.  After completing the training, which involved practical tasks at 6 stations, they joined in a Kahoot to test their knowledge.  They also received a badge (designed by Jordan Wambeke and made on our vinyl cutter) for their ID cards.  This indicates they have completed the training and they may book the InnoHub (subject to availability) any block of the day.

The stations included:

  • First Aid & Emergency Procedures
  • Box Cutter Safety
  • Ring Light Procedures
  • Hand Tools & Materials
  • Scroll Saw Safety
  • Clean up & Lock up Procedures

Teachers Shared

Liza Fagan and Greg Elsen also shared their experiences on bringing classes to the InnoHub last year.  Liza’s Chemistry students designed molecules, made models, and answered questions about the process.  Greg shared his experiences with AP Human Geography classes.  His students worked in small groups to bring an agriculture model to life through stop motion animation.


Basic InnoHub information


Upcoming Events in October

October 16 – ACAMIS Tech Conference Watch Party  RSVP HERE

October 22 – #InnoPubPD – Stop Motion Animation

Virtual School EdTech Briefing – June 16, 2021

Last VS EdTech Briefing of the Year!  

In this episode, we share tech tools for you!

  1.  Liz Shuler directs us to the NCPA Virtual Wellness Room – a resource-rich site that has everything from relaxing music, links to yoga videos, mindfulness exercises and much much more.
  2. Pat Hughes recommends apps related to fitness and lifehacking.

Watch it below or check it out on Stream HERE


We also ended with some Mentimeter questions – see the results below.

Virtual School EdTech Briefing – June 9, 2021

Today’s session covered:

  • Text Engineering with Mats Haaland
  • with Grace Ridnour

Watch Recording below or HERE

( I missed the first minute – but you can catch the Agenda and Check-in in the slides below)


Virtual School EdTech Briefing – June 3, 2021

This morning we ran the session twice.  Here is a brief look at the lineup.

  1. Check-in with Lisa
  2. Canva for Reflection and Collaboration with Steven Groene
  3. Revisit Tech Tools Inventory with Elizabeth Cooper

Watch the whole show below or HERE

Or check out the slides below

Link to Padlet HERE

Virtual School Readiness

May 31, 2021 Virtual School EdTech Prep

Today I covered the essentials for:


Today I covered the essentials for:

  • Using Tencent Meeting
  • Using Calendly to schedule office hours
  • How to create and share links for office hours and virtual classes.