Innovation Lab offers new courses

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Jordan Robins” align=”alignleft” width=”200″]innovation lab logo[/media-credit]

The Innovation Lab will offer new courses, which will present students with skills that cannot be gained in other classes.

by Amanda Hills
Within the next year, the Innovation Lab will offer three new courses, which according to junior Katie Wu, who is involved with the Lab, will “open eyes to a new form of learning and thinking.”

Newton’s Innovation Lab

In this semester-long course, students will experience “an intense, integrated environment,” according to the course proposal.
This year’s class will be a pilot year, according to English teacher and chief innovation officer Stephen Chinosi.
Each semester will pose a different theme. Wu cites some possible themes as environmental issues, classroom space or mythology. Students can take the course multiple times and be exposed to new themes each time, Chinosi said.

Students will participate in four, month-long design challenges in every semester, according to the proposal. It explains that during the first month, students will undergo a Design Thinking Boot Camp to develop “essential design thinking tools.” Each of the subsequent four months will center around a different project that relates to the overarching theme of the semester.

 Chinosi said that this course will expose students to “collaborative problem solving skills,” and will prepare students for situations that textbooks cannot teach them how to handle.
The proposal also says that students will have the opportunity to gain an “understanding of the world and how they relate to it and can participate in it.”
Wu said that the goal of the class is to “have students thinking outside of the box when solving problems.”
According to its proposal, CAPStone will act as the “organizing umbrella” over SPARC and SYP, two unique senior opportunities.

The proposal refers to CAPS as the “marriage” of SYP and SPARC. Now, any student participating in either program will be part of CAPS. Previously, each course ran independently with little “organizational support,” which has prevented it from evolving, as the proposal reads. It says that CAPS will strengthen both courses.

As a result of this new organization, the curricula for SYP and SPARC will be altered, according to the proposal. The proposal calls for “increased student accountability,” requiring students to write weekly blog reports on their experience in the program. And, all CAPS programs will now include an “informal presentation” to our school’s community at the end of the semester.

The proposal says that the goals of CAPS are to offer seniors more “student-centered” and “student-partnered programs,” to “level the playing field” for students in all CAPS courses, to offer increased support for participating students, to stream-line CAPS’ faculty management and to increase the number of CAPS participants.