Open Way Learning Case Studies
“OWL's co-designed process with teachers is remarkably simple and helps them think about taking what they are already doing and improving it in a way that works for them, not someone else. It’s not a prescription, it’s a reflection. Teachers are able to fine-tune what they are already doing to make it better for their students. Rather than just something else added to a teacher’s already busy schedule, they offer a different and practical kind of PD. Teachers appreciate that.”
-NC District Director of Digital Teaching and Learning
Sprinting to an Innovation Culture
OWL has a history of facilitating Design Sprints that are grounded in student and community empathy to define local problems, ideate and prioritize potential solutions, and use agile tools to prototype, test, and refine ideas. Design Sprint examples include...
- Helping a Connecticut district implement a common framework for experiential learning for all its schools.
- "Re-thinking time” with a North Carolina district as they upgraded their approach to school calendars and schedules.
- Working with a Colorado school as they develop a learner-centered culture that matches their new, state-of-the-art facility.
- Helping a California district refine its mission & vision to better align with their new Portrait of a Graduate.
Transforming Schools with Experiential Learning
OWL is proud of its work to help schools create conditions where learner-centered strategies can thrive, including community-facing experiential learning that better aligns with Future of Work criteria such as Durable Skills, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the Grand Engineering Challenges. Examples include...
- Co-designing an outdoor education "bridge" program with a Hawaii charter school.
- Bringing Project Based Learning to two "alternative schools" in different rural districts in North Carolina that historically serve students who have faced challenges in traditional settings.
- Facilitating a series of student-led design sprints to upgrade a North Carolina school's systems for stakeholder communication.
Making STEM Work...for ALL!
Too often STEM efforts, including makerspaces, can be intimidating for students and teachers not proficient with math, technology, and coding. OWL works with educators to break down these barriers by helping them design inviting spaces where creativity, tinkering, and failure are essential components that are integrated into all curricular areas and all students. This includes facilitating routine workshops in partnership with the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching on topics such as building a school maker culture and deepening student engagement in math.
A Customized, Co-Design Approach to Shrink the Change
Change can be hard, especially if you have never fully experienced what you are striving to create. This is the premise behind OWL’s work with schools to create “bridge” programs that allow teachers and students to work together to co-design engaging Project Based Learning experiences in a lower stakes environment over the summer. One example includes helping a New Mexico district use summer STEAM experiences as a way to make classroom instruction more relevant and engaging for all students. In another, partnerning with the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research, we are able to help several Boston-area schools implement authentic projects in their own classrooms and schools.