Jobs in the Year 2050




Design as Pedagogy Overview
Using “design” as pedagogy, the overarching purpose of this challenge is to invite high school students to investigate, design, and prepare for jobs of the near and future from multiple perspectives: art, design, the humanities, science, technology, engineering, and math.


Within the Jobs in the Year 2050 Challenge, students were engaged in local and global collaborative opportunities to become creative problem solvers. The goal was for students to develop the capacity to actively engage in making sense of large spaces of information as well as discover insightful interconnections and interrelationships of theory and practice within the real world. Learners were challenged to solve career-based problems using an eco-centered approach from complementary pathways: home, work, learning, health, community, mobility, play, agriculture, or the environment.

Using divergent thinking practices, proposed creative and innovative job scenarios framed purposeful actions that could be taken today—as well as upcycling practices that can assist with reversing previous adverse practices in an effort to stabilize and balance ecosystems of future job markets. Final challenge solutions took the form of an artistic expression; product, communication, experience, or service design; human-centered design within current, trajectory, or retrospective context(s); physical or natural system design, software system design; structural system design; or mathematical model design.



Problem Statement
High school students today need guidance and support as they prepare for careers that have not yet been invented -- nor support balanced ecosystems of the future.



Challenge Brief
By the year 2050, students who graduate from high school in 2015 will be in their early 50s – whereas babies born in 2015 will be 35 years old. The high school students who engage in this challenge will address the learning needs of our next generation of creative problem solvers as well as their own.

In preparation for the March 1, 2014 Kansas City Design Week Learning Challenge, 100 high school students in the Kansas City area collaborated with like-minded local and global students to investigate future eco-centered career opportunities by way of a selected perspective, pathway, and form of design. During the preparatory phase of the design leaning process, students made sense of the interconnections and interrelationships of current job postings within art, design, the humanities, and STEM opportunities by imagining jobs of the future (2050) in respect to today (2014) and the past (1980) – with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.

Students were challenged to propose creative and innovative job scenarios aimed at purposeful actions as they prepare for an entrepreneur-based career in the near future. In addition, learners engaged in meaningful steps towards reversing previous adverse practices resulting in stabilizing balanced ecosystems in the year 2050. 



Kansas City High School Students Reflect on the Challenge




Critical Question
Imagine the year 2050, how might the study of careers today, future, and past impact high school students as they prepare for college and jobs in the near future by way of entrepreneurship – as well as purposeful contributions to resolve significant problems that have evolved over the past 70 years? 



Criteria Checkpoints

Perspective and Pathway Patterns
and Trends Lead to
Solving a Common Problem

Plan of Action Informs
an Innovative Solution and
Viable Entrepreneurship

Solution is Human-Centered
and Supports a Balanced
and Stabilized Ecosystem




Habits of Mind
High school students will consider Habits of Mind such as: Inquiring Mind (curious); Empathic Mind (diversity); Flexible Mind (willing to adjust); etc. – as held by related stakeholders as well their own.

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Doris Wells-Papanek,
Feb 5, 2014, 1:56 PM
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Doris Wells-Papanek,
Feb 5, 2014, 12:35 PM