Design Thinking, Technology and Fabrication

The Punahou Design Thinking, Technology and Fabrication department builds and maintains a student-centered, school-wide environment designed to empower the development of the social-emotional skills, technical abilities, design thinking and growth mindset needed to translate the Aims of a Punahou Education into positive and purposeful action in the real world.

Design thinking is the central system students use to organize their creative activity into meaningful action. The design thinking model emphasizes developing a deep understanding of an issue or a person before defining their needs, brainstorming solutions, creating prototypes and testing to learn more about the user. Each phase of the design cycle is strongly linked to habits of mind such as resilience to failure, life-long learning and openness to new ideas which are key components of our direct instruction.

The program offers students a continuous and articulated set of technical skill building experiences. It is important that as their understanding of problems and challenges in the world grows, so too does their ability to design, build, test and deploy increasingly realistic and sustainable solutions to those problems. Technical experiences include access to rapid prototyping technologies such as CAD software, CNC output machines, 3D printers, laser cutters, coding, electronics, robotics and virtual reality but also are inclusive of traditional building skills such as sewing, woodcraft, and metal fabrication among many others.

The department is committed to direct instruction for the development of social-emotional skills, which enable students to understand themselves, work in groups to solve problems and to develop the complex and critical ability to empathize with clients, fellow designers and people from different cultures. Even more importantly, social-emotional skills transcend the design process and are critical to developing the character needed to live the Aims of a Punahou Education.