AIGA Next Paul Budnitz
AIGA Next Marian Bantjes

AIGA Next Design-based K-12 learning

AIGA NEXT focus session

Meredith Davis
Meeting Standards through Design in K-12 Education. Doreen Nelson, NYTImes 30 most innovator educators. Design-based learning, engage in highest level that creates concepts. At Pomona. Miss Daarina Abdus-Samad, Educator in Pasadena who advocates for design-based learning.

Not about pre-professional education of K-12 educations, do projects as jump start to professional careers. They used methods of design to learn required content in other K-12 subjects. These are content experts. Important not to thing that you are the experts going to help. This is collaboration in which designers learn from experts.

Talk about how design can help facilitating learning with context of standardization for k-12.

National science standards, the word design appears in the standard. Visual arts standards no mention of design. Arts education communities does not understand design in same sense that we understand design. Does not include design thinking.

Design can help (from Nigel Cross, designerly ways of knowing)
How things mean
How things work
Wants and needs
How things relate to each other
Way of knowing

Teachers are hungry for this information.

California Language arts standards for 10th grade. Distinguish between denotative and connotative meaning of works and interpret the connotative power of words.

Beginning with graphic model and then back into writing with them may be good way to handle language. Building narrative diagrams. Have students draw and build diagrams. Using crude materials to help students understanding abstract concepts.

Examples based on California standards are the most specified in the world.

  • Jefferson buildings of University of Virginia express cultural values because it does not have British example.
  • Use design scenarios and role playing to invest in complex outcomes of historical processes. Can do more than make 8th graders make business cards for other 8th graders. Encourage us to be collaborative and investing in collaboration.

Doreen Nelson
Design beings in the brain in the sandbox. Was classroom teacher for 14 years. Grabbed the techniques from design to deliver techniques. Design thinking is called constructiveness learning.

Any classroom teacher can do it. 1995 started masters degree program. Graduated 40 teachers last year for design based learning. Want to come because attendance comes up, the student’s attitudes go up, the math and reading scores goes up, there is more learnings ESL can speak English easier.

In California, there are standards. Teach for deep understanding, key concepts and underlying themes, within the curriculum, and need to connect to students prior knowledge. Transfer of learning.

Bloom made a taxonomy of learning. Creativity is at the top of the list.

Two kinds of transfer: specific transfer and non-specific transfer is concepts, principles, values, and morals. What design brings is the ability to do this. There has not been much. Harold Gardner and David , need to give them a “near experience” and armed with experience they can go someplace. They called it a hug. You want them to hug the information.

Found herself as a teaching struggling to teach underlying concepts.

Brunner, father of cognitive psychology, is if you can find the common thread. Do it backwards, we start out where we want to end up.

English teacher has to read the Scarlet Letter. She looked at what the big concept was which was morality. Had students make imaginary village. Had them role up paper as a symbol of morality. Made a list of criteria that came up from the book. The students had people zapped if they did something wrong. When students read the book, they were appalled at themselves and then revised their design scenario. 

Backwards Thinking 6.5 steps of backwards learning

1.    What do I need to teach (themes)
2.    Identify a problem from the curriculum problem (state an never before seen design challenge)
3.    Set criteria for assessment (based on whats and needs from curriculum)
4.    Let students give it a try (build 3-d models, talk, and write)
5.    Teach guided lessons (research)
6.    Revise designs

If you think about a concept as opposed to a logo.

Miss Daarina Abdus-Samad

Has taught for 20 years. Teach students to enjoy learning. Mandated to teach the standards in a certain way. The Heart Acre Project: had to deliver curriculum not good for her or students. Sit down, listen, raise hand, and write correct answers. The best students get ignored and the students who are the most challenged get only 10 minutes of time.

Her test scores improved with design based learning. Develop curriculum integration chart. The design challenge is the umbrella that holds all of things together. Speaking reading, writing, comprehension, math, etc.

2nd graders build, write, measuring, discussing, analyzing, rebuilding mad writing. They own their own answers and problems.

Criteria list (engage them in making what they don’t want and need)
Don’t want | Needs list

Go through the whole year, have monthly planning with criteria and lessons for the month. The students want to know what are the challenges.

Body Objects
Think of who they are 3D objects as themselves. The turn it next month into body covering which makes it there.
Through questions of relations, they write, talk, and debate the criteria list.

By doing it backeads. They do it and own it. When look at the book then they say, “Miss Daarina they did it like we did.” But now they own it.

At the end of year, the students have review and synthesis. The students talk and present to the parents what they have worked on for the year each June. Her children know and can debate it. Don’t care what it looks like, but she can see what it means. She can see because they have explained it to them, written about it.

She gets students who enjoy learning, who love to write, students go to read to verify what they think.

It has not spread because there is lack of will on one hand, need for generational shift in college education.

Difference of age: work in high school is more difficult because not allowable for older students to make with their mind. Think happens as we are making.

Using preexisting methods for assessing, but kids want to know how things work. Learned to take things a part and figure out how they work.

Applied learning as a form of assessment tool.


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