Design & Innovation at Korea International School
Korea International School provides students with a robust design program, beginning with purposeful STEM integration in the elementary school. During middle school, students explore design courses through engineering, programming, and graphic design electives. High school courses include entry and advanced classes.
Now, for the second year in a row, the College Board awarded KIS the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award, an achievement that reflects the ethos of the design and innovation (D&I) department as accessible and inclusive to all students. “This is a KIS achievement,” says AP computer science principles teacher Benny Aulton, “The school has done an amazing job with diversity, equity, inclusivity, and justice initiatives.” The D&I program sees annual growth with near equal gender representation in AP computer science principles courses. Other classes also strive to draw more female students.
The open concept of the high school D&I suite generates student interest and schoolwide collaboration. Each school day, students and faculty walk through the learning space where D&I students practice design thinking and develop programming, robotics, engineering, and graphic arts skills. Students have access to physical building tools and CAD machinery such as 3D printers and an industrial laser cutter. The visibility and flexibility of the D&I suite create opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration and help students make informed decisions about their course enrollment.
AP computer science teacher Joyce Pereira shares the D&I department goal to expose students to many different tools of design, believing that exploration leads to inspiration and application. “Computer science is all about meeting human needs,” says Ms. Pereira. “Students get that. They see that it’s not just programming, it’s not just technical. It’s about extending and enhancing user experience.” Ms. Pereira celebrates the imagination, creativity, and ability each student brings to her computer science courses.
The D&I suite gives the program physical space to continue expanding. KIS design faculty share a host of unique skill sets to meet student interests. “We maintain an expository approach to design and innovation,” says Ms. Pereira, “We offer as many opportunities as possible for students to see and experience design in the world around them.” The faculty routinely mirror the design thinking process, strengthening KIS’s diverse design and innovation program one iteration at a time.
A version of this piece also appears in The Korea Herald online, published March 10, 2022.