Today was the first day of a week-long summer institute for K-12 teachers focused on design-based learning organized by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The CHNDM originated the Design for the Other 90% exhibition currently on view in the Sculpture Garden. Their amazing education department offered to take their Summer Design Institute on the road to Minneapolis while the show is here and we were excited for the opportunity to share this nationally recognized program with Twin Cities teachers.
Twenty-seven teachers were selected to attend. Most are in teams of two teachers from a school; the majority are from the Twin Cities, with one team from south Texas and one from Oregon. They teach art, science, language arts, special ed, French, math, and industrial technology. The goal for this week is to introduce a new way of teaching based on the ways that designers think and work. Our plan is to blog about the highlights each day and share some pictures of the SDI in action.
Day 1 began with our lively group of teachers sharing their goals for attending. My personal favorites were the several who mentioned they “ want to change the world.” I am always heartened to encounter teachers who are dedicated, visionary, and willing to take time from their summers to learn something new. Meredith Davis, author of Design as a Catalyst for Learning and Professor in the Department of Graphic Design at North Carolina State University, provided big-picture insights into design thinking and processes. After lunch Ellen Lupton, Curator of Contemporary Design and CHNDM walked us through a lively history of the design of everyday things from dishwashers to telephones to can openers. She also challenged us to get hands-on and create a new use for an ordinary bag.
The energy was high, the laughter was infectious, and we are off to a great week!
-Susan Rotile and Lindsay Stern
Meredith Davis talks about Design based learning.
Ellen Lupton leads an activity with the teachers to redesign bags.
Teachers show off their creations.
Teachers break into groups to share new ideas from the day’s activities.