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Innovation and Design Symposium

Explore and dig deeper into engaging innovative instructional models such as:

Challenge Based Learning

A collaborative learning experience in which teachers and students work together to learn about compelling issues, propose solutions to real world problems and take action.  The approach asks students to reflect on their learning and the impact of their actions and publish their solutions to a worldwide audience.


A framework that connects all subjects in an interdisciplinary way.  Shifting to a STEAM perspective means understanding learning contextually that illustrates not only how the subjects are intertwined, but also for providing a learning structure for ever changing personal and global development.

Case-Based Learning

Pioneered at Harvard University Case Based Learning is an instructional design model where students are presented with cases from business and industry that are factually-based, complex real world problems accompanied by relevant events.  CBL involves the interactive, student-centered exploration of realistic and specific situations in business.  Students collaborate with business/industry using analytical and technological skills to create solutions and support their decisions.

Problem-Based Learning

An instructional model that presents an open-ended problem that engages students in the problem definition or formulation (the problem statement). Generating a knowledge inventory about the problem (what we know and what we need to know) followed by the creation of solutions.

Inquiry-Based Learning

Effective inquiry is more than just asking questions. Inquiry-based learning is a complex process where students formulate questions, investigate to find answers, build new understandings, meanings and knowledge, and then communicate their learnings to others. In classrooms where teachers emphasize inquiry-based learning, students are actively involved in solving authentic (real-life) problems within the context of the curriculum and/or community. These powerful learning experiences engage students deeply. Research suggests that inquiry-based learning increases student creativity, independence, and problem solving skills.

Entrepreneurial Product-Oriented Learning

Product-oriented learning is the HOW of World Class Learning as presented by Yong Zhao in his book: World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. This model sets the stage for personalized education using the process of product-oriented learning where students solve problems on a global stage. Kay Tucker, World Class Learning Specialist at Lone Tree Elementary, is currently working with Yong Zhao and a team of writers to produce three follow-up books to World Class Learners to be used as guides to implement Zhao’s thinking. Resources and activities from these upcoming books will be shared to enlighten participants on how to create an ecosystem for learning that immerses students in finding a need in the world, proposing solutions, and creating products and/or services to meet the need. Students learn in an integrated manner as they align their strengths and passions in solving problems within a context for learning. Teachers facilitate opportunities, provide resources, target teach on an as needed basis, and advise students on personalized learning pathways.


An interdisciplinary approach that uses hands-on problem-based learning for real world solutions. STEM integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.


Robotics is a means for engaging students in STEM. Through hands-on learning in collaborative teams students apply knowledge to engage in complex, strategic problem solving and critical thinking at the higher level of Bloom’s taxonomy. Robotics allows students to experience success early, creating the self motivation for them to move quickly to new challenges and continuous growth. Students learn the skills that are a high priority for college and workforce readiness.


Coding is an extension of writing that allows creativity to be expressed in new ways through interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations. Coding provides opportunities to learn useful skills; mathematical and computational ideas, learning strategies for problem solving, project design, and communicating ideas in new ways.

Big Picture Learning

Personalized learning that puts the student’s interest at the core of learning. Big Picture provides various structures and practices that are designed for teachers to know students and create learning pathways for them. Students are connected to internships based upon their interests then teachers coach students to contact businesses, job shadow then develop their internships. The next step is to connect the learning to the internships. The teacher/advisor supports the student by advising them with their academics that will grow their expertise for their internship. Students envision various future career and college pathways that are appealing to them based upon their interactions with the adults (teachers and business) which begins in middle school.

Blended Learning

Blended learning is a disruptive innovation that takes many forms. In a blended learning model students learn in both a physical space and through online delivery. These models will vary and are always evolving based on teacher roles, physical space, delivery methods, and scheduling. In a blended learning model, students control the time, place, path, and pace.

Challenger Learning Center

Design Challenges offers an alternative to traditional science fairs by providing open-ended, inquiry-based learning opportunities where failure IS an option. Challenges provide enhanced opportunities for teamwork, independent learning, communication, and truly student-driven creative work. Through hands-on learning in collaborative teams, students quickly transition from unstructured play to applying programming and design knowledge, engaging in complex problem solving and critical thinking. Culminating design competitions include age-appropriate challenge and support, and learning that failure is a mechanism for design improvement.