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The Sieboldt Innovation Lab

VISION: To be the premier educational experience in delivering a real world, forward-thinking program for the global leaders of tomorrow.

As the only independent school in the tri-state, Evansville Day School has not only an opportunity but also an obligation to participate in the revolution happening in education.  EDS will set an example for the region in delivering a forward-thinking, real world program enabling graduates to lead Evansville into the innovation based economy.

Innovation, creativity, grit and resilience, and collaboration are all emphasized in the growing maker education movement, which fosters hands-on learning, tinkering, and designing utilizing various tools. In what looks like a high-tech return to “wood shop,” dedicated areas for this exciting educational approach are known as maker spaces and they are transforming libraries and infiltrating schools across the country from Dartmouth College to the Chicago Public Library to High Tech High in San Diego, which is perhaps the most lauded secondary school in America.

“Ten years from now, primary and secondary education may look more like a scene from Tim Allen’s workshop in The Santa Clause than Ben Stein’s economics class in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (Newseek). At Evansville Day School, that future is today. Rather than subscribing to the outdated model of education where information is transferred from teacher to student before a high stakes test measures mastery of content, Day School is leading the way in designing an educational experience that develops skills our students need to be successful, contributing members of a complex, competitive, and challenged global economy and society.

Similar to maker spaces, design thinking programs, such as the famous d.school at Stanford University, represent “an approach to learning that includes considering real-world problems, research, analysis, conceiving original ideas, lots of experimentation, and sometimes building things by hand” (MindShift). Design thinking is simply the visual expression of collected data. At Day School we want to transform our library into a maker space combined with a design thinking studio to create the new Innovation Lab.

The Innovation Lab, maker education, and design thinking programs are critical because they represent best practices in educating students for tomorrow. From employment trends to futurists’ forecasts, we know the Industrial Age model of education is failing to prepare students for the innovative demands of the future. “Doing, making, reflecting, and revising is how people really learn. The world of work is project-based. Schools are not. That needs to change” (EdWeek).

An Innovation Lab has the power to not only shift the education paradigm at Day School, but also throughout the region. When the space is transformed into a center for creativity, tinkering, trial and error, creating, and, most importantly, joy and passion, it will represent a commitment to project-based learning school wide. Research overwhelmingly confirms this education paradigm “increases long-term retention of content, helps students perform as well as or better than traditional learners in high-stakes tests, improves problem-solving and collaboration skills, and improves students’ attitudes toward learning” (Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering by Gary Stager & Sylvia Martinez). From test score increases to heightened student engagement to research showing how maker education and design thinking connect to preparation for a changing world, the Innovation Lab is a game changer for the Day School community.