During an evening event, Punahou ‘ohana guests experienced a sneak peek of the innovation and invention happening in D. Kenneth Richardson ’48 Learning Lab in Mamiya Science Center, which supports Punahou’s future K – 12 Learning Commons. The event began with a program followed by a live demonstration of the machinery in the lab.
Academy Principal Emily McCarren and Junior School Principal Paris Priore-Kim ’76 welcomed guests to experience firsthand how students and faculty are able to push their boundaries of learning and exploration in the new space. The principals explained how the design and fabrication makerspace is an educational environment where students and educators can pursue their interests through hands-on applied innovations, building creative solutions to real-world questions and problems.
Design Thinking, Technology and Fabrication faculty member Taryn Loveman gave an overview of the rationale, strategy and implementation of K – 12 design thinking through the Learning Commons. “Design thinking is learning for a social purpose, to do good. With these new resources, students can now be out there testing a solution to a problem within a week of imagining it,” he said, commenting on how the lab provides opportunities for rapid prototyping, an important step in the design thinking process.
Ke‘alohi Reppun ’99, co-director of Hawaiian Studies at Kuaihelani, described how Hawaiian values are being integrated into the design thinking process. “This culturally-grounded approach to design is making cultural practices relevant today,” shared Reppun, who has been exploring similarities between the ancient Hawaiian design process and the modern method. “It’s another way students can identify with this and connect with their background.”
After the presentation, guests explored the lab, learning from faculty and students at various stations showcasing virtual reality, robotics, wearable electronics, 3-D printing, and laser and wood cutting. Art faculty also spoke to guests about how the use of the lab is being integrated into the art curriculum. At the culmination of the evening, attendees donned safety glasses to witness the machines in action.
“The lab supports the K – 12 Learning Commons that will become an extension of every classroom, and the hub of collaborative and creative energies on campus, magnifying the applied learning that will help our students to succeed in the 21st century,” said McCarren.