Fostering Agency & Empowerment Through Design Thinking

9:45am - 11:00am - Session I

How might we create a course that provides students with opportunities to design solutions to authentic, real-world problems? How might we emphasize student agency and incorporate the development of social-emotional learning competencies through an inquiry-based learning experience? These are driving questions we tackled when designing the new “Inquiring Minds” course in Kickemuit Middle School (RI). Join us to explore how the UN Global Goals can be used as a foundation for authentic, inquiry-based learning in the classroom. Participants will participate in thinking routines and design sprints, explore tools and platforms that amplify real-world learning experiences, and consider how this instructional model can be integrated across departments and throughout district schools.

Jennifer Saarinen
A middle school educator at heart, Jennifer has worked in the Bristol Warren Regional School District in Rhode Island since 2004. As an early adopter of technology use in her teaching and learning, she served as an original member of the BWRSD Digital Learning Team and participated BWRSD’s Personalized Learning Fellowship. As the Inquiring Minds instructor, Jennifer promotes social emotional learning while embracing design thinking strategies as her students learn and create solution pathways to the UN Global Goals.
Tom Driscoll
Tom is the Digital Learning Director for the Bristol Warren Regional School District (RI) and Instructor for EdTechTeacher. He has authored chapters for several books on instructional technology including “Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement.” Tom has a Master’s Degree in Computing in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and continues to explore how innovative applications of emerging technologies can fundamentally transform teaching and personalize student learning.