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Guest Speaker Talks To First Grade About Tech And Game Design

To kick off their PYP unit, How The World Works, Lausanne's first-graders were joined by special guest speaker Dan Ryder who presents workshops on technology integration, improvisation and design thinking during a recent Zoom call. 

The purpose of the unit is to explore how kids play using games and toys and their Zoom visitor helped the first-grade class understand why playing games is important, how to be creative when designing and making them and how to repurpose or retool old games into new ones. 

Lower School ANTS (Acquiring New Technology Skills) instructor Amy Brownlee asked Dan to visit because of his experience with the Real World Scholars (RWS) program that Lausanne's middle schoolers participate in each year. 

"Dan runs an empathy-based, maker and mentoring space at a high school in Farmington, Maine and his classroom housed one of the first RWS businesses, making him one of the top minds when it comes to design thinking practices," Mrs. Brownlee shared. "Knowing his background, I knew he would be a great resource to help students learn about designing games or toys for the first grade unit of inquiry so I reached out to him and he was overjoyed to help out our first graders."

During his virtual visit with the first-graders, Dan spoke about how to solve game-based problems using empathy. He helped students explore what they love about designing games and ways to find solutions for things that bug us about something. 

"It was a nice experience for our first-grade students because he showed them how to overcome challenges when they feel discouraged, and helped them brainstorm different ways to think outside the box," Mrs. Brownlee said. "He also shared that sometimes our first idea does not always work out so create as many ideas as possible and maybe combine ideas to make something new, which aligns with the way Lausanne teaches."