Placer Union HSD

Kathleen Geary, Board President; George Sziraki, Superintendent; Wayne Hild, Jonathan Schwartz, and Christian Kinsey, Teachers

The faculty team making up Colfax Career Tech infuses their instruction with a problem-based framework called Design Thinking. Tech Essentials, a freshman requirement, blends a hands-on engineering project—MP3 amplifier—with the digital design, documentation, and marketing skills using Google Apps, SketchUp, and Adobe CS. Units follow a “design, build, document” sequence that culminates in a community showcase where students display their amp, explain their learning process, and provide “digital tours” of their portfolio. By asking students to employ the steps of Design Thinking—articulate problem, assess resources, make plan, execute plan, & assess plan—the teachers provide every Colfax student with a construct to tackle challenges they’ll face throughout college and career.