Learner as Researcher

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Cultivating “Laboratory as Mindset”

In a rapidly transforming world, success in further education, employment or society requires individuals to have the ability to see learning everywhere, possess the skills of intuition and have the dispositions necessary to research, design and innovate in mobile and project-based learning experiences.

We inspire our students and faculty to ask more questions than they answer, follow their interests and passions and act as part of a community to identify and work towards solving real-world problems. As the years progress, our programs support self-directed interdisciplinary learning, which starts with student interests and questions. As individuals and groups, faculty and students define relevant problems, ask increasingly complex questions, and work with mixed research methods both in the city and online. They analyze, synthesize, reflect on and share their work through ePortfolios of understanding and action.

Case Study

Kindergarden Architectural Studies

Lisa Slater’s kindergarten architectural studies are rich in the laboratory experience. In a recent unit, students asked increasingly complex questions about homes — How is a home made? Why are homes important? What makes a home good? To further explore these questions, and their emerging understanding of why people live in different kinds of homes, they interviewed people, visited homes, met with an architect and drew and built their own models. The centerpiece of the unit was a field study to a Frank Lloyd Wright house, followed by a conversation with an architect who adapts Wright’s ideas to modern-day applications. Students kept their work in a research journal throughout the unit. They collected, selected and reflected on their experiences in an ePortfolio shared with faculty, mentors, parents and peers.