[Reflection 3] Designing for wide walls

:globe_with_meridians: Italiano, Español, Português, Türk, اللغة العربية, 日本語, Français

In this week’s video and readings, Mitch introduces the idea of “wide walls”: designing learning experiences where people can create a variety of different projects in a variety of ways, based on their interests and styles.

What do the wide walls look like in your practice? What are some of the design choices or facilitation strategies that you already use, or you plan to use to widen the walls?


I try to enlarge the walls in my practice in university offering the students to select their projects in my classes: they can select what project they want to do in the “Project Management” classes and what startup they want to create in my “Entrepeneurship” classes. This have a good impact in the passion they have doing the projects.
My research group studies how to support teachers in traditional primary schools (specially the public ones) to enlarge the walls of teaching, being alone with more than 40 students, having poor equipments and bad internet and almost no experience in Creative Learning and Computers.


The wide walls in our club for the children is to be able to create different projects using different languages on different topics


In our IB MYP Design, at school, we set a global topic or challenge based on a general problem: for example, old habits and objects that are important, but that we are forgetting. Students reflect on their pasions about their topic: they have a voice and a choice, and action on it. Their projects are free, although directed by the topic under study. They love this way, I love it too, as these are the closest projects they can do to their IB Personal Projects.

What I will do more from now on, is being a better mentor. Lead them through their passion, foster their curious about their themes. Take them beyond, improving and empowering their talents.


Working in the development sector, we help governments improve parts of their system. This often entails capacity development of people in that system. Some years ago, in the country I was then working, we noticed “training fatigue” with our target groups. We understood the reasons for this, for sure, but at the same time we had certain objectives to achieve. So, we turned things around and communicated 2 things to the target group: 1. If you don’t want to be involved in this process, feel free to stay away. 2. If you would like to continue to be involved, identify what this could mean for you, what you would want to learn that is immediately relevant to your daily practice.
And there we were: we were tapping into passion. Via action research the participants worked on their own projects and although we were reaching less people, due to the intrinsic motivation we achieved more change than before.


I was thinking about professional development opportunities for folks in early childhood education when Resnick was talking about low floors , high ceilings, and wide walls. We know that within our sector there is great expertise and experience, and at the same time, a major shortage in the supply of childcare and early education professionals. I was thinking about the low floor as the many opportunities for folks to enter into the field with what they already know and perhaps a bit more training, education, experience, etc. I was thinking about the high ceilings as the ability for the professional development community to be able to offer these same folks the professional development they need to never stop learning. Many times it is difficult for experienced professionals to find the professional development opportunities they need to in order challenge their own thinking and that go beyond the basics. And then the wide walls really spoke to me about the many ways folks should be able to enter into our field. It’s not sustainable or wise to have early childhood educators enter into our profession using only one narrow path- or through very narrow walls.

1 Like

As a technology teacher for a PK-5 school, I deal with a wide range of ages and abilities. This yearI have started using Explore Boards or digital choice boards with our students. They are basically Slide decks that include a variety of activities, from watching videos and completing a small journal response, playing an academic game related to the topic, or interactive reading based on the topic.

These Explore Boards give the students the opportunity to pick their learning path. Yes, I provide the information, but it is up to the students to choose how many activities to complete or what they want to try. I try really hard to include a variety of activities so that the students can have that independent choice of what they want to do, but also follow the district guidelines for our learning standards.
Here are a few examples of my boards from this year:
Poetry Month Board
Financial Literacy
Academic Explore Boards February/March


I really like the idea of “wide walls” and how it can be applied to any field or subject area. Somewhat similar to what @Lieve did, I worked with a group of high school students to identify problems in their community and then to use the six-step process for change (many sources, including Mikva Challenge’s iteration here). Students identified problems, conducted research, analyzed stakeholders, developed a plan, and then actually put this plan into action. It wasn’t perfect by any means but perhaps the most heartening result was a group of 6 students who approached me about creating their own after-school club to advocate around needed changes in their city-which led to a presentation to the City Council! Wide walls indeed.

I facilitate activities in a makerspace inside a museum, and we do a lot of building projects using cardboard and hot glue guns. Although most of our activities are “low tech”, I can still learn a lot from Scratch’s “wide wall” approach that encourage students to create projects based on their interests.

Activities like building automata (simple mechanical toys) allows a lot of creative freedom. It usually takes at least an hour to build this cardboard machine, but it is a highly engaging. This one was made buy a six year old boy who has a cat that loves to go inside paper bags!


Well for me, wide walls itself really does affecting how we grow our creativity through our interest till finish something what we really waiting for.

From my experiences, I have tried some designing an UI/UX for mobile application, websites and many more.
Here is the examples I’ve made
And absolutely I felt so much fun while doing those things, because I feel like I’m into it.

So for me how to widen the walls that we’re going to face is question yourself, is this your interest? is this what you love to do?
We can’t force someone to love something except they give it a try and by the time goes by, they suddenly realize they really into it.
After you found what you love to do, then go try your best and create something big!

Currently, when I am working with students, I try to “widen the walls” as often as possible by providing students as much choice as possible in both the process and product they create. I have never been a fan of the “cookie cutter” product and always try to put myself in the shoes of my students by thinking about the tools I may have wanted to use to create a project. I also try to think about the different strengths and motivations my students have and what choices I can provide them that may match those skills and motivations. I always love to see the variety in the products my students make when they have wide walls.
An example of this happened this week as I offered two of my student groups an opportunity to create stop motion videos and provided them with a variety of materials such as Play-Doh, magnetic letters, LEGO minifigs, Stick Bots, building cubes, dry erase boards, as well as any other material around the library they wanted to use. There were no other restrictions–just create something that interests you. I was so happy with the results and they were so proud! All of the projects were so different and the creativity was booming!! Wide walls matter for deep learning, for sure!! :)

The wide walls in my practice would be offering different kind of topics in which each topic using different programming language in hope to help anyone to understand the basic of programming language they learning and giving them the opportunity to realize their ideas using the programming language

Los papas deben involucrarse en las actividades diarias de sus niños.

Wide walls in our elementary pk-5 grade environment looks different from one grade to the next. One thing we’ve incorporated has been Minecraft EDU. We have students that may not have physical, tangible tools at their disposal, but have an assortment of virtual tools and space to create something as elaborate as a rocket or as simple as a house. We’ve used Minecraft EDU over the years to provide students many opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise. COVID has hindered my classroom experiences, but I have used Minecraft EDU to teach enrichment courses and we’ve covered topics like The Oregon Trail & “played” the game. The students then were able to create their own NPCs and add them to the trail and felt very accomplished at the end. They also learned a lot & couldn’t wait for the group the following year to view their creations.

In my practice, as a project design educator for toddlers (1 to 3 year olds) I like to help educators think of different settings, spaces and proposals that allow learners to express their ideas, either by talking about them or demonstrating more interest for one thing or another. As well as providing the set ups and materials, I like to invite educators to provide enough time for them to explore, and encourage them to observe more than interfere, in a way that they can read between lines.

I believe that in this way each learner can find a place/thing that they connect the most with.

I find it important to think of wide walls when it comes to teachers as well!
In many cases professionals are expected to fit inside worksheets and that can limit their reach and creativity as educators.
Different strategies for different days, structures, grades, etc.
Your research group sounds very interesting and necessary!


What do the wide walls look like in your practice?

I commend Mitch, Scratch, and key partners for adopting the “wide walls” approach. To me, it epitomizes the growing DEI commitment in the tech field. Different pathways, ideas, ways of business, etc., are all relevant to the DEI conversation, especially when you think about outreach and access.

At my former employer and current, outreach and access initiatives were/are essential. Hallmarks. And not just stated but executed as well. Barriers, insecurities, and impediments were/are slowly but surely being addressed because of the “wide walls” approach, albeit stated differently. I think “wide walls” is brilliant and does not overcomplicate the benefits of such an approach.

What are some of the design choices or facilitation strategies that you already use or you plan to use to widen the walls?

Some options include but are not limited to the following:

  • Inclusive lesson planning and curriculum designs
  • Seeking diversified feedback
  • Frequent check-ins to gauge experiences, real-time
  • Intentionality with one’s ideas, aspirations, etc.
  • Assessing behavior, motivation, and engagement

The wander mind of mine :upside_down_face:

Love of learning and helping people are some of my passions and maybe this a great opportunity to feel motivated and fulfilled toward achieving some goals and inspired me to make a difference in the world.
Some of the choices that I’m planning to use to widen the walls:

  • Use my imagination to solve problems, find some solutions or try new approaches.

  • Learn from experience or explore ideas for a project.

  • Think about mistakes as part of my learning process and it’s not the end of the world, if I failed.

  • Improve some of my skills rather than learning a new one(just for a while) :sweat_smile:.

I love being able to create something(project) beautiful from nothing and let my mind wander!

1 Like

What do the wide walls look like in your practice?

I usually thought that any interest that will make me want to learn something new definitely supports me in digging deep into the materials. I usually like to see a few guides in learning certain coding languages and then build a simple project that was provided. I think that is one of the wide walls that I’m getting used to.

What are some of the design choices or facilitation strategies that you already use or you plan to use to widen the walls?

Any learning platform or discussion forum, including learning videos definitely is one of the ways that I’ll use for making broad the way in learning. Never get bored with improving self-ability.