Doris Wells-Papanek, IDSA
December 12, 2011
Jan. 1, 2012, will serve as the official kick-off to the second Design Learning Challenge (DLC) a part of IDSA’s efforts to promote and develop an understanding of Industrial Design at the K-12 level and this time around, we are going national! College design students all over the United States will be challenged to co-create innovative and participatory design learning experiences anchored in design thinking and learning skills with students in grades 6-12.
The primary purpose of the Design Learning Challenge is to expose children to design thinking and create an active awareness of the discipline of industrial design as a career option before students leave high school. Embracing a Learn.Think.Do approach, Design Learning Challenge 2012 will focus on three primary submission categories: a Design Day Event, a Targeted Design Project and an Industrial Design Awareness Campaign.
On Jan. 1, 2012, a detailed packet will be published on the project website regarding challenge categories, guidelines, timelines, etc. Design Learning Challenge 2012 rules will provide a systematic, yet flexible, framework for students to follow as they conduct, analyze, represent and submit their design learning research studies. As an overview, college design students will collaborate as multi-discipline teams with complementary disciplines and guided by a local design educator or practitioner. Ongoing updates and related informative links will be posted on our Facebook Design Learning Challenge Group Page and on the project website. Final submissions will be due on July 1, 2012, with multiple check-in points required along the way. To get a taste of a Design Learning Design Day Event, watch the following video taken at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts on Sept. 16, 2011. For more information on this event, please visit www.learnthinkdo.us.
This year we are very excited to share that IDSA and Doris Wells-Papanek, M.Ed., principal of Tailored Learning Tools, have established a unique collaborative partnership with the National Art Education Association (NAEA). The goal is to create a direct link between IDSA’s college design students and NAEA’s grades 6-12 art educators and their students. Dr. Robin Vande Zande, associate professor and coordinator of art education at Kent State University School of Art, has graciously agreed to act as our key connection through her role as the chair of NAEA’s Design Issues Group. We learned important lessons because of the pilot Design Learning Challenge 2011. Having direct access to art educators who are passionate about design will lend it well to establishing timely collaborative teams with schools as well as early understandings of focus and category selection.
We continue to gather critical knowledge to ensure we make informed decisions regarding our initiative to bring design to the K-12 level and the Design Learning Challenge project. For example, over the past four weeks we have gathered input through our research inquiry on the topic of Teaching Design to K-12. So far we have captured the voice of nearly 250 practitioners, students and educators regarding how and when they realized industrial design was the discipline for them. So far 36 percent of the participants are college design students and 57 percent are design practitioners/educators. Data indicates 39 percent of the respondents knew of the discipline of industrial design prior to high school graduation, whereas 40 percent did not discover the field until they had been enrolled in higher education for at least 1-3 years. This information underscores the deep passion we share to ensure that all students coming out of school will at least know and understand what design is and what it can do. A complete report on study findings will be available in the first quarter of 2012.
We will reach out to IDSA professional and student chapters, design consulting firms and corporations for fundraising activities and contributions. These efforts will be used to fund student Design Learning Challenge Awards, provide in-kind donations to collaborating middle and high schools and to sponsor showcase space in the Design Gallery at IDSA’s 2012 International Conference in Boston. Funds will also help to compensate for waived registration fees for the winning challenge student teams who attend the conference.
For more information, comments or questions, please feel free to contact Doris Wells-Papanek.
Doris Wells-Papanek, M.Ed. collaborates with educators, practitioners and learners to design and research learning experiences. Using an action research approach, she conducts human-centered research studies to design and develop effective change strategies. She has co-authored five books on student-centered learning and accountability. Wells-Papanek holds a master’s in curriculum and instruction design from National Louis University and a bachelor’s in product and environmental design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design.