Design process workshops: co-created with teachers and students

Working with teachers and students, I offer co-creation of:  active learning elements, presentation media and workshops for grades 7-12, in Switzerland, classes “Sek1 to Gymnasium”.

Design process, as applied in teaching, is a set of learning and integrating development methods which can be applied to any subject or object because it is an open investigation with well established methods with the goals of producing a good quality and convincing output. Students working in teams research and explain all aspects of a topic to other students. Some typical design research aspects are historical and cultural assets, human interaction study and use of materials for manufacturing or publishing. The comprehensive research methods used in design development when applied to school projects engages students as researchers using their native talents and adapting them to fit challenges. For the teachers this can mean greater participation and performance while managing class curriculum goals. But it also means that problem finding and vision setting taps into young adults best abilities. Envisioning, useful work, discovery and role playing to test themselves is what teens want and need to do.

Workshops investigate design through the re-design and making of every day objects.

For middle school or Sek1 class the focus is on basic human connectors; the grip, clothes pin, or a writing/drawing tool.

For Swiss Gymnasium workshops grades 9-11, we can work on products like: design an expressive writing tool, a game/performance art piece about multitasking, designing their bedroom door as access and advertising or in a half semester class project, create a; science, sport and sponsoring event to learn about new business models. Workshops can also be co-evolved with teachers and students using  Human Centered Design. Originally created by the leading design firm IDEO as a guiding method with leadership tools for engaging people in the process of solving their own problems it has become used in all types of user centered design. Tested in american schools students at any age develop networked learning skills faster with higher knowledge retention and applications understanding when they help create the solutions to their learning. HCD co-evolved workshops are focused by teacher, curriculum goals and student driven topics to achieve the best learning combination.

An example of the HCD approach:

A 7th grade class with 7 girls and 15 boys, is excited about the European Soccer Championships. The teacher, challenged to stay on her lesson plan for math, is worried about the last test results which dropped to a “C” or 4.0 from 6.0. The boys watch until 11:00 each night, can talk about little else and are busy on the playground trading “Panini” cards and playing ball every minute they can. So how help the students to stay involved and integrate their drives with learning goals?

At 12-13 years, young teens are quick to grasp connections but reluctant to propose solutions to their group. So the tools and results have to be non-threatening and of interest to them. One solution is to use Fussball (Soccer) as the activating experience. If you give this class the project of learning for physics about: speed, force and work in a goal or penalty kick and suggest that they go find tools on the iTunes App store, they might find the  Speedcheck app useful for collecting data of speed kicks. Carrying the physics themes of leverage, speed and force into biology, students could learn the basic biomechanics to see why taller players kick harder and get hurt more easily. A statistics group can design and make a info graphic of player kicks and performance improvement that shows the results of some research to an audience, because Infographics is a hot new profession between math and graphic design. see examples at http://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/

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Another group can do the event planning and still another the marketing of the class developed  Fussball shootout event and invite other classes to compete, sponsor and attend the event.

Over the course of the workshop a class can build networked understanding while making the most of their interests, skills and grasp how individuals work in teams professionally together.

One example of such new types of teaching can be seen at_   http://www.mathmovesu.com/news-and-events/bend-it-bernoullli-raytheon-introduces-science-soccer

As a designer, I enjoy working with people to develop solutions for building understanding whether it includes a hard product or a great experience. Design thinking, user involvement and DIY prototyping/ implementation are powerful tools to help people integrate learning, productivity and expanded capabilities.