NOCCA Design Day 2011

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Design Day Event
August 2011

Just as Challenge 2011 was wrapping up, we were preparing for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) Design Day Event. In conjunction with IDSA’s 2011 International Conference in New Orleans, the Design Day Event introduced design thinking and learning skills to sixty gifted and creative freshman high school students to using a Learn.Think.Do approach. 

The morning’s activities began at 8:30 am and ran straight through until 6:30 pm. The students were so engaged they did not want to leave. The day started with students exploring their personal creative spaces from multiple perspectives, which in turn prepared them for a campus wide walkabout – to consider the design of their school’s learning spaces. Students then experienced a story mapping exercise followed by brainstorming sessions with visiting design practitioners from the conference.

The designers did a masterful job serving as facilitators to visualize student-generated ideas along with coaching whole group presentations. The culmination of the day resulted in the following comment by Kyle Wedberg, president and CEO of NOCCA:

The thing the students responded to more than anything was the chance to work directly with practicing professionals. The people that volunteered were top notch.”

The NOCCA Design Day Event served as the starting point for students to take an active role in the design and expansion of their teaching and learning spaces over the course of the next few years. Outputs of the brainstorming session with the visiting designers will serve as a bridge to an upcoming Charrette – where students will present to the architects initial plans of action for foreign language, humanities, and science learning spaces. Student teams will offer written narratives along with creative representations of their choice (digital media, dance, musical, model, etc.).