“I loved the amount of freedom the students have to create their projects”, “I loved how natural everything feels” and there are “... so many opportunities for open play and authentic learning.”
These were just some of the moments of joy shared by educators, innovators, and school leaders who visited Bennett Day School last week. Over 50 educators from 9 different states as well as Brazil and Canada visited Bennett Day School for a 2-day Innovation in Education Chicago conference. The event we co-hosted with EdTechTeacher and sponsored by the Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy (SESP).
During the two days, participants had the opportunity to take a deep dive into one of three tracks either on Design Thinking, Personalized Learning, or Project-Based Learning (PBL). Martin Moran, Bennett Day School Lead Designer and Director of the Upper School, facilitated the project-based learning experience, and invited Bennett Day School youth and faculty to share with our guests how they experience PBL at Bennett Day School. TESLab Early Childhood Teacher, Frances Judd further shared about how we honor youth ideas for innovative play and creativity by co-designing games and tangible play experiences together --- adult and youth, as part of our shared learning. Our guests also experienced a tour of our campus, led by TESLab Teacher Zak Thompson, Parent Tim Colby, CEO and Co-founder, Cameron Smith, and Admissions and Marketing Associate, Sam Rud; were treated to the delicious food prepared on campus by Chef Brad and his team at Ruca Food Service; and invited to a tour of Google Chicago HQ as a way to consider how space design at work impacts adult learning.
“Removing the ‘can’t words’ and creating possibility” was how one educator described their experience of Bennett Day School, while another shared “... students learn in whatever way works for them.” How we do and think differently about learning at Bennett Day School was a topic of interest with our guests, as they explored with their peers how they could consider the learning experience differently in their classrooms, schools, and communities. And like us, how they could consider the range of design changes, from the significant to the incremental as a way to make learning personal, project-based and more visible for all in their community to share in.
The Innovation in Edu Chicago conference was made possible by Bennett Day School, Bennett Labs and Bennett Auxiliary teams working together with our partners to open our doors and sharing our learning as we experience it; and learning from educators, innovators, and school leaders from across the country, as to their ways of learning. Together, advancing creativity and innovation in learning design for all to benefit from and share in.
For more information, please contact Dr. Kelly Page, Director of Bennett Labs, Bennett Day School via firstname.lastname@example.org