Innovation and Technology

Open Window School is home to two state-of-the-art Innovation & Technology Labs (ITLs) - unique multi-functional spaces where students come together to create, invent, tinker, and explore. The ITLs are hubs of student-driven innovation and provide students access to real-world tools and materials, including laser cutters, 3-D printers, electronics, hand tools, sewing machines, robotics, green screens, and more. Both ITLs are home to weekly technology classes, as well as authentic interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with homeroom and content-area teachers. 

The goals of our Innovation & Technology program are to produce students who are: 
  • Empowered Learnerwho strive to deepen their understanding, successfully self-direct their learning, effectively select and troubleshoot current technologies, and are able to act as mentors within our learning community. 
  • Innovative Designers who exhibit tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance, demonstrate ability to work with open ended projects, and stretch themselves to try new things. 
  • Computational Thinkers who effectively apply the Engineering Design Process and are able to use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to test problems and create solutions. 
  • Effective Collaborators who communicate their ideas clearly and effectively, provide and receive constructive feedback, and fulfill responsibilities to teammates in collaborative work. 

In the Innovation & Tech Labs

Grade Level Highlights

List of 9 items.

  • Kindergarten

    Kindergarten technology focuses on introducing basic programming concepts to students through a collection of coding puzzles and unplugged activities. Students learn to persist through challenges and collaborate with classmates. From programming robots, to creating digital art, to laser cutting bilingual plant markers for the school garden, kindergartners have many opportunities to tinker and explore. 
  • First Grade

    First grade technology builds on what was learned in kindergarten and introduces more complexity. Students work individually and collaboratively on coding and unplugged activities that explore looping, events, and sequencing. First grade students also do hands-on work with robotics and design software in class, including programming robots to play their own musical compositions and laser cutting puppets for the first grade spring performance.
  • Second Grade

    In second grade, students expand their computer science skills as they explore new programming languages and apply their algorithmic thinking skills to more complex robotics.  Second graders also have the opportunity to use electronic circuits to light up lanterns made in art class, as well as practice the Engineering Design Process as they research, design, and fabricate a toy for kindergarten 'clients.' 
  • Third Grade

    Third grade technology builds on earlier courses and deepens students understanding of programming concepts such as algorithms, while loops, nested loops, conditionals, and events. In third grade, students have access to more advanced hand tools that they put to use to build robots, one-string guitars, and more. A third grade highlight is using 3D design and fabrication tools in the construction of their own tiny homes – an interdisciplinary social studies project. 
  • Fourth Grade

    Fourth grade technology is the culmination of learning in the LS ITL for students. Students will continue to practice and strengthen their understanding of loops, conditionals, algorithms, and events, and will move on to the creation and use of functions. In the second semester, fourth graders will work on and present a capstone project that demonstrates their skills and interests in computer science. Collaborative highlights include creating 3D monuments as part of a Civil Rights unit and integrating robotics into Hopi dolls in conjunction with Art. 
  • Fifth Grade

    Fifth grade begins with an introduction to the MS ITL and the tools available.  Students practice using these tools to create customized bag tags, action figures for stop motion films, programming games and Rasberry Pi computers with Python, and building websites with HTML5 and CSS3, and more. 
  • Sixth Grade

    In sixth grade technology classes, students build electronics circuits on breadboards, and refine their soldering skills.  Students apply these skills to add smart features to their house prototypes during Project Week, as well as to construct flight computers and satellites for a high-altitude balloon launch in collaboration with science.  Cybersecurity is also explored as students build their own secure web applications. 
  • Seventh Grade

    Seventh grade students continue their study of Python programming as they build Raspberry Pi projects such as an automated water fountain.  These skills come into play during Project Week as students use ITL tools to design and build inventions to mitigate the global water crisis and pitch them to 'sharks' in our version of Shark Tank.  Seventh graders explore the Internet of Things as they study machine vision and use Rasberry Pi and Python to invent a series of physical computing devices to be used around campus. 
  • Eighth Grade

    In eighth grade, students apply their culmination of innovation and technology skills to several authentic, real-world projects. Bio-engineering is explored with the design and building of 3D printable human prosthetic devices such as joints, brainwave-controlled interfaces or robot actuated hands. In the eighth grade capstone project, students use their knowledge of technology and American history to design and prototype an invention to further the mission of their selected historical reformer. 

Meet the ITL Team

List of 4 members.

  • Maria DiGiovanni 

    Lower School Innovation & Technology Teacher
  • Cheyenne Morvan 

    Lower School Innovation & Technology Associate Teacher
  • David Hamann 

    Middle School Innovation & Technology Teacher
  • Kelly Faber 

    Middle School Innovation & Technology Associate Teacher
Open Window School provides a challenging academic curriculum blended with nurturing support from teachers that prepares students for long-term success.