Creative Thinkers Engaged in Over 65 Innovative Outcomes
during the IDSA Design Learning Challenge 2013!
In partnership with the Industrial Designers Society of America and National Art Education Association during the 2012-2013 school year, the Design Learning Network challenged K-12 educators and their students to explore a world of infinite creative ideas as they tackled a problem worth solving within their classroom, school, neighborhood, or community – the goal was to engage in the design learning process to create innovative outcomes resulting in positive impact.
Observations to Objects
In its third year, over 65 projects were submitted to Design Learning Challenge 2013 where our first place winner, “Observations to Objects,” empowered students to investigate the following problem set:
Problem Statement: Our lives in the built world are fraught with” icebergs”--products, experiences, services, with which we must interact but which often hinder our growth and happiness in ways we cannot immediately perceive, ways which lurk just below or deep below the surface we must skim over in our busy, everyday lives.
Challenge Brief: Take a series of photographs to identify a point of
difficulty in an everyday activity or action and then synthesize a problem definition statement from the photographs; following the design thinking process, design a method/object/process that will make your life and the lives of those in your community (school, family, or neighborhood) better.
Critical Question: In what ways might students, empowered through the process of inception (problem finding, clarifying and defining) and self-generated criteria, manage their own learning and work towards an as yet unknown end?
Students of Mr. Garreth Heidt and Ms. Kathleen Todd from Perkiomen Valley Middles School East produced several innovation outcomes such as:
One particular Perkiomen Valley student reflected on her design learning experiences by sharing:
Art for Autism: Raising Autism Awareness
Challenge 2013’s second place winner, “Art for Autism: Raising Autism Awareness,” embraced a communication design campaign aimed to build a student community who not only learned about the isolating condition but transformed school climate and culture.
Directly linked to the Common Core State Standards, students of Ms. Alison Crane’s from Blue Valley Middle School participated in the following design learning experiences:
Explore: Students were introduced to the design process by participating in a backpack design mini-workshop with a partner – where they learned how to ask critical questions, develop empathy, brainstorm ideas, frame a problem, make sketches of understanding, and give/receive feedback about their ideas.
Describe: Learners then reviewed the design process and terminology – then began to ask questions such as what do kids and teachers want to know about autism. Students developed a survey for students, staff, and autistic peers to help determine how to raise awareness.
Explain: Students reviewed survey results and findings to discover what areas of knowledge were needed. Learners brainstormed many ideas and possible solutions that would gain the greatest level of awareness and desired long-term outcomes.
Demonstrate: Students implemented their plan of action by drawing attention in creative ways such as wearing the color blue on the same day, rolling out a set of incentives. Learners also documented their story by unpacking the challenges that an autistic person faces every day and communicating that message in a compelling video.
Evaluate: To wrap up the project, students interviewed and surveyed their community to gain a sense of the level of impact the project had made. The final video was shared at an all-school assembly on the last day of school – resulting in a standing ovation! Students hope to expand the campaign to include other schools in the district and taking the “Aut Squad” to the next level.
The principal of Blue Valley Middle School sums up the Art for Autism project by sharing:
Museum Exhibition Design
As tie in second place, “Museum Exhibition Design,” explored the level of difficulty when developing a permanent exhibit in a museum caused by the rapid pace of change in technology and pedagogy versus the time and effort required to design an exhibit. Students were challenged to investigate this dilemma while learning about design.
Learners grappled with the following critical questions:
Facilitated by Mr. Luke Van Meter and Mr. Phil Holcombe, this design learning challenge was a collaborative effort between the Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Science Leadership Academy (SLA), and a local educational design consultancy. SLA is an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on 21st century learning and provides a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum with a focus on science, technology, mathematics and entrepreneurship. Students at SLA learn in a project-based environment where the core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection are emphasized in all classes.
Participating students in the challenge instinctively shared the following insightful statements:
Additional projects submitted earned an award of Honorable Mention – such as a makerspace workshop, school lunch tray design, bike rack design, household product design, wellbeing design, locker design, backpack design, safe social hangout design, athlete headgear design, fashion design, historical impact on design today, and thoughtful playground design.
Challenge 2013 Jury Members
Jury Members this year included Mr. David Weightman – design professor from the University of Urbana-Champaign; Ms. Shelley Takahashi – design professor from California State Long Beach; Dr. Robin Vande Zande – Associate Professor of Art Education from Kent State University, Jared Vanscoder – Design Educator from Irving High School, Ms. Linda Keane – Professor of Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Dr. Scott Warner – Associate Professor of Applied Engineering, Safety, and Technology from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Challenge 2014, Chicago Design Learning Workshop, and Contact Information
Plans to expand the IDSA Design Learning Challenge 2014’s curricular focus to include science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and the humanities – will be shared during a five-hour Design Learning Workshop at Columbia College Chicago on Saturday, August 24, 2013.
The IDSA Design Learning Challenge is facilitated by Doris Wells-Papanek MEd, - the Director of the Design Learning Network. Doris can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about these efforts, please visit: www.designlearning.us