Learning by design was not an event. It was a moment in the journey as, together, we re-imagine school.
Tuesday 16 May and the cohort of 100 students that attended the recent Learning by Design conference have gathered together again from across the school to pick up on where they had left off just a few weeks ago.
When they were last together, they had just spent four days, supported by ISB faculty and external learning facilitators, forming project teams and thinking about the change that they want to be in the world.
The morning begins with a simple question:
How many of you want to wait until you are older until you make a difference in the world?
It is clear that this group of students are not prepared to wait very long. They talk excitedly about their project and what they want to achieve. But this is now the time to get others involved, gather feedback, and consider the feasibility of their idea. So the classrooms are filled with faculty and staff who act as mentors and help students think through some of the practical hurdles that may lie ahead.
The design thinking cycle that students are working through:
Speaking to the students from somewhere else in the world, Ewan McIntosh reminds the students how fortunate they are to have this opportunity to continue these conversations. But today, he explains, everyone has to come to a difficult and personal decision: Have they picked a problem that actually exists in the real world? Are they prepared to continue with their project, despite the hurdles and hard work that lies ahead? Are they still committed to making the world a better place?
It's a simple yes or no.
Each group decides to continue.
As they leave, they tell the story of today in their own words.
"Today we found out that our plan might be hard to accomplish, so we thought and now we think we have a better plan that is more feasible than our other one."
"We were going to make our own after school activity, but the mentors asked us why we want to make something new. They encouraged us to innovate by combining what already exists. So we are going to try and partner with another after-school activity. Instead of competing with them, we are going to join with them."
"You can come up with as many ideas as you want, but you always need to look at the feasibility of the project."
"I've learned that no matter what people say, even if you get advice, you always make the decision. Other people can't change your mind."
"We learned the importance of delegating responsibilities. We also learned the importance of breaking things down to manageable deadlines."
"We have learned how to work as a team. We have learned that children can be as smart as adults. We have also learned the importance of putting others people before us."
Photos from the morning's event