New labs inspire kids to think big

Field trip and museum experiences tie social good into the design process

This fall The Tech will add two Tech for Global Good Innovation Labs to our exhibit spaces. These facilitated experiences provide a deep learning opportunity for students on field trips and drop-in participants on weekdays. Educators can reserve an Innovation Lab for their group at no additional cost when they schedule their field trip.

Design for All

Exhibit: Reboot Reality
Ages: 8+
Available to field trip groups and drop-in visitors on weekdays

Imagine designing a playground. Would it include a slide? Places where young people can create things?

Would this space provide an equal opportunity for all people to play?

In The Tech for Global Good Innovation Lab, students “collaboratively design an inclusive playground for students who may not be able to physically join in all situations,” said Kristen Martin, director of facilitated experiences.

Lab participants will first draft their concepts on a paper Panoform grid, then snap a picture of the grid with a phone and use an app to convert this 2D image into a virtual reality environment. Students use VR goggles to look around their virtual playground, which helps them see their designs more fully as they iterate new versions.

“We’re using VR tools to build empathy and design spaces,” Martin said. “This gets students thinking how they can change things around them to be more inclusive.”

And once students are comfortable making changes in the virtual world, they’ll be much more likely to do so in real life.

Apps for Health

Exhibit: Innovations in Health Care
Ages: 10+
Available to field trip groups on weekdays

Students will take inspiration from the Innovations in Health Care exhibit, presented by El Camino Hospital, to come up with an app that addresses a health problem.

“Students will list the features the app would have and design the interface,” Martin said. “Then they’ll put together a prototype of what their own app would look like.”

In early prototyping of the lab with students, one team came up with the idea for an app to alert people with diabetes to their blood sugar level. “We’re focusing on the design thinking process behind developing an app,” Martin said.