The Loft: A digital studio for civic innovation networks

How might we best teach civic innovators?  To learn civic innovation, learners must practice solving real-world problems in their community.  But with traditional classroom approaches it is difficult to orchestrate civic innovation teams, which working on different problems, at different speeds, using different skills over extended time-frames.  As a result, instructors either: spend inordinate amount of time supporting projects; provide little support, letting novices flounder; have to acquire extra teaching resources such as a co-instructor at great expense; or use less effective, lectured-based pedagogies.

The Loft ( is a digital studio for orchestrating project-based learning cycle, especially in civic innovation networks.  It scaffolds a project-driven learning cycle in which teams of civic innovators: set goals, develop their problem-solving abilities; plan their approach; facilitate team progress, and receive feedback from peers.  The Loft helps network leaders and classroom teachers orchestrate real-world, project-based, civic innovation learning.


  • Building help-seeking support tools for novice designers (Rees Lewis, Harburg, Gerber, & Easterday, 2015)
  • Computer-supported novice group critique (Easterday, Rees Lewis, Fitzpatrick, & Gerber, 2014)
  • Formative feedback in Digital Studios (Easterday, Rees Lewis, & Gerber, 2013)
  • Understanding group critique (in preparation)
  • Critiki: A scaffolded approach to gathering design feedback from crowds of nonexperts (Greenberg, Gerber & Easterday, 2015)