I recently read an article in the Fast Company March 2011 issue. A Teen Eye for Design accounts how teachers, students, post-secondary design schools and design firms can connect together to provide an authentic learning and creative experience for students.
There are a number of similar projects such as:
- Rediscovering Creativity by Building It where Nueva School students collaborate with designers and educators at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.
- Project Interaction is a 10 week after school program for high school students that guides students in changing their communities through design. A brief intro video is found on their fundraising site.
- Sweat Equity Enterprises (SEE) takes place in a real professional environment where teenagers participate year-round for all four years of high school in the US. As SEE expands nationwide this year, it plans to reach thousands of youth, teachers, and professionals. Check out the intro video of SEE with founder Marc Ecko.
- Tools for Schools is fully integrated into the School at Columbia’s yearlong curriculum.
So really, what’s so important about having design enter into middle years and high school classrooms?
Whatever way teachers and students have the opportunity to be creative, to engage in authentic learning experiences, collaborate with each other and the community and build relationships in the process is a GREAT thing! In a province that continues to ‘shout out’ that we have an exceptional educational system, we really should look at bolstering up these opportunities as recorded above so that our students can regain their creative nature and our teachers can guide them through critical challenges (not filling in scantron sheets). I wonder how many middle years schools and high schools are able to connect this work and fold it into all aspects of the curriculum? This reminds me of the work that Chris Lehmann’s Science Leadership Academy and San Diego’s High Tech High groups are doing.
Anyone interested in sharing their experiences and/or ideas?
NOTE: The Fast Company magazine is filled with various articles relating to technology, design, ethonomics and leadership. (Ethonomics or ethical economics refers to businesses that are good for the world as well as the bottom line. They are practicing social change through urban revitalization, sustainable agriculture, green IT, alternative energy and online community-powered investing.) It may be one magazine that you’ll want to add to your RSS feed aggregator page!