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Innovations for School and Learning Wanted!

The Bavarian International School gAG (BIS) organized the
By Brigitte Deussen

On Thursday, 11 October 2018, Bavarian International School gAG (BIS) held its third “BeInSp!red Innovation Summit.” Experts from innovation consulting, science, technology and design, together with 240 BIS students, developed ideas on the subject “Design your ideal school of the future!” using the creativity technique known as “Design Thinking.” What does the school of the future look like? What do students and experts envision? What will be taught in the future, and how? BIS Director Dr. Chrissie Sorenson opened the BIS Innovation Summit. “Students need to be prepared for the future,” she said. “We know that many of the jobs that exist today will not exist in 5 to 10 years. Therefore, children need to be able to develop their creative and innovative potential to meet their future needs. And they cannot do that if we only stuff them with knowledge.” The Design Thinking expert and coach Uwe Walter agreed. During his talk, titled “Find your voice - how design thinking saved my life,” Walter called for more courage and self-confidence in education. Citing his former professor Larry J. Leifer from the in Stanford, he said, “when you stop teaching, they start to learn.” Following these talks, students generated ideas about their ideal schools of the future in “Innovation Cafés.” The group of experts participating in the event included Christian Hackl, Managing Director of TUM-Tech GmbH; Steelcase education and design expert Helmut Kausler; Education Manager Vincent Zenkner of MakerSpace; and Steffi Kieffer, founder of the Design Thinking Group Munich Revelate. Dagmar Nietzer, Business Angel and Sezai Coban, founder of Health Promotion Prevention in Schools, also inspired students to rethink the school and learning system. The variety of ideas generated in these sessions was astounding. Students developed schools to be more digital, flexible, and responsive to individuals. They designed more innovation and experimentation rooms, a cafeteria with touchscreen displays for a more effective meal distribution, and the Internet portal “BCT” (BIS Communication for Teachers) for easier appointment coordination among teachers and students. Students also created a “New Student Voice” that aims to provide better teacher feedback through monthly surveys, promoted open classrooms to increase transparency and group work, and requested less rote learning and more hands-on problem solving. Caroline Fiechter, founder of Leaf Republic, has already won numerous international awards for her sustainable business, which manufactures disposable plates and packaging from foliage leaves. She summed up the BIS Innovation Summit by saying, “Young people are encouraged to work in teams for their own goals, to develop their own ideas, and to create their own environment.” Simon Rudat, Growth Manager at Luminovo Artificial Intelligence, said, “About 65 percent of the jobs that students will do in 15 years do not exist today. We need new approaches to train students for careers in this unpredictable environment.” Per Juul Poulsen, Strategic Innovation Consultant, is an expert on corporate strategy, change management, and digital transformation: “Events like the BeInSp!red Innovation Summit should be the minimum requirement of any educational organization.” BIS is a certified IB World School, whose teaching and learning program promotes independent, creative, and social action among students in an intercultural context and which already implements Design Thinking in the classroom. In order to adapt to the emergent learning environment, BIS has plans to build a Creativity and Innovation Centre in Haimhausen. This new school complex will create a modern and progressive dimension of learning in the subject areas of the future—Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). BIS – Believe. Inspire. Succeed. The Bavarian International School gAG is registered in Haimhausen (district of Dachau) and was founded in 1991 in order to do serve the needs of the increasing international community in and around Munich. Twenty-five years later, in 2016, the second BIS Campus was opened at Leopoldstraße 208 in Munich. In total more than 1,150 students from over 50 countries aged 3 to 18 learn through contemporary and innovative teaching programmes in English. BIS students are encouraged to develop intercultural community, self-reliance and social action with the goal of being lifelong learners. l

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