Curriculum Re-Design for STE(A)M - Integrating Arts into STEM Education
Curriculum for all levels, in formal and informal learning environments, and spanning all learning methodologies. Participants in this Design Focus will attempt the humble challenge of deciphering re-vamps to the curriculum, all the while considering some of the biggest challenges present:
How do we integrate the arts back into education?
What new overlaps can we make between these fields?
What does the STEAM curriculum of the future look like?
What tools, projects, and resources can be made to facilitate this marriage?
How might students work with accreditation officials to customize their curriculums?
How might proper evaluation criteria emerge for interdisciplinary learning?
Motivational Structures In & Out of the Classroom
Participants in this Design Focus will spend their weekend redesigning the manifestations of raw inspiration throughout our education system. The kinds of questions that'll be motivating them include:
What does the 2020 classroom look like?
Flipped classrooms, MOOCs, Maker spaces, what's next?
How can a hands-on curriculum be emulated in low-resource schools?
STE(A)M fields as degrees lacking graduate work: should we address this in the curriculum?
How can we make learning more appealing to a generation of increasingly busier students?
What will happen to the changing landscape of technical vocations and comprehensive educations?
Formal and informal learning: How can the two augment each other?
Resources and Support Structures for Retention & Diversity
The fallout of extremist learning populations, the melding of inner and outer curricular support programs, and bridges from societal structures. Participants in this Design Focus will attempt to tackle complex problems, including:
How can we increase low-income students in the higher education pipeline?
How do we attract more students to STEM fields?
How do we make parents a positive pillar of support?
Can perception and social dynamics for women be improved?
How might the Maker Movement be leveraged for resources to students?
Are there Alternative Learning plans that can be adapted for wider audiences?
American Society of Engineering Education, Annual Conference, Technical Paper Presentation, June 14-17, 2015, Ta-Da! You’re a design thinker! Validating the DesignShop as a Model for Teaching Design Thinking to Non-Designers and Achieving Systemic Re-Design in the Education System
Harvey Mudd Design Thinking Workshop, Panelist Paper Presentation, May 26-28, 2015, The Education DesignShop: Transforming Non-Designers into Design Thinkers through Real-World Project-Based Learning
Stanford FabLearn Conference, Panelist Paper Presentation, Oct 25-26, 2014, Methods for Innovation: Observations from The Education DesignShop
Creative Scholars Project at Brown University, Invited Speaker, Apr 25, 2014, The Education DesignShop Proposal: Achieving Education Reform through Design Thinking
Congresso Nacional de Inovação, Trabalho e Educação Corporative no Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, Jun 10-11, 2014, Discobrindo o potencial do "design thinking"
International Conference on Transformations in Engineering Education in Hubli, India, Oral Paper Presentation, Jan 16-18, 2014, The Education DesignShop: A case study on education reform through design thinking
World Engineering Education Forum in Cartagena, Colombia, Oral Paper Presentation, Sep 24-27, 2013, Borrowing from Hackathons: Overnight Designathons as a Template for Creative Idea Hubs in the space of Hands-On Learning, Digital Learning, and Systems Re-Thinking
4 Principles and 8 Key Ingredients of the DesignShop
Four central principles for successful innovation guided the design parameters of the event.
First, we build up from the premise that design thinking leads to innovative solutions, as is underlined in the many case studies Tim Brown provides in “Change by Design”.
Secondly, as Tim Brown points out, an underlying theme to innovative individuals is that they have built the creative confidence be think they are able and capable of producing new, never before seen solutions.
Thirdly, innovators need more than the experience or the want to create change, they need the toolsets (both material resources and mental skills) to innovate. Among these, prototyping materials and an expansive capacity to see beyond the obstacles before you, are critical.
Finally, the ideal innovator is a “T-person”, one that combines depth of experience (the vertical line) with a breadth of knowledge (the horizontal line).
These four principles resulted in eight key components of the DesignShop, explained below:
1) Three topics were used to frame the event’s challenge, as well as to attract similar-minded participants into pre-assembled teams with shared interests from the start.
2) An open online community forum was provided before the event to normalize the relatable experience of the attendees. Participant were asked to read and comment through at least two of the 21 transcribed interviews with education experts posted on the site.
3) Interdisciplinary teams were pre-assembled ensure that every team had at least one of each user-type—student/learner, teacher/educator, policymaker/administrator, industry representative—, a low Residual Sum of Squares from the Team mean Design Score— a portfolio of each person’s five self-reported design thinking skills including Rapid Prototyping, Sketching, Using Post-its, Brainstorming in Groups, and Expressing Ideas Through Lego’s—, and that those four participants had chosen interest in the same of three topics.
4) Hands-on learning modules fostered quicker adoption of design thinking principles. Tutorials on “Visual Thinking & Sketching” and “The Power of Prototyping” gave participants tangible skills for development, and deliverable-based team activities gave participants a project-based learning opportunity to apply their newly acquired concepts.
5) A flat hierarchy of mentorship throughout kept ademocratized learning environment where our youngest 10 year old participants felt as relevant and able to contribute as our 62 year-old more experienced participant. Each team of four had a Team Facilitator (identified by a sequined bow tie) to moderate the interpersonal dynamics and to introduce design thinking strategies to facilitate team activities. Mentors (identified by a neon fedora hat) floated in and out of teams, who had a permanent empty 6th chair at their table to invite the interaction.
6) Physical materials for prototyping were available throughout the event in order for teams to bring their ideas to life, regardless of how abstract they were. A base of arts and crafts supplies were supplemented with blue foam and foam core, and thinking tools like a bowl of Lego’s at the table center.
7) The event ultimately resulted in a competition-based format wherein teams competed for top prizes that would jumpstart the continuation and execution of their developed ideas. These rewards included three prizes for $1000 as reimbursable stipend, three prizes for $500 as reimbursable stipend, and three prizes in the form of 1-hour consultations with prominent organizations in the space.
8) Inspired by the active engagements invested into the students’ learning experience in 2.009, encouraging easter-eggs throughout the event rounded out the experience for participants to feel that this was really for them and their learning. Details like small and quirky prizes after answering a mini-quiz correctly, and an upside down encouraging statement on each nametag, set the bar of attention and detail.