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  • Bo Adams

    Liz,

    Thank you for starting and spreading Design for America. I'm wondering if DFA is only for college and university students, or if the program is for elementary, middle, and high school students, as well.

    As I shared in a blog post today, we must help transform education and schooling to be more about real-world, community issues (http://itsaboutlearning.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/ill-never-be-the-same-again-a-reflection-on-transforming-school-from-consumer-to-creator-idreamaschool/)

    For the past nine years, I was a middle-school principal, and I co-developed a course called Synergy for 8th graders. Synergy is a transdisciplinary, community-issues, problem-solving course. The backbone of the class was "observation journaling." An observation journal is simply a snapshot or sketch of something seen that causes one to wonder and think about "Why?" or "What if?" or "How might we?" The student-learners and two teacher-learners pooled our observation journals using a web tool, and the students identified projects from these collected observations. For example, we had three students work on a graffiti project. Six others worked on a stream-health project. Four worked with a community experiencing 70% unemployment to host a job fair. Just this past weekend at EduCon, I gave a five-minute Ignite talk on how this process grew from a game that I play with my sons (http://www.slideshare.net/boadams1/lemme-see-your-tootsie-roll-i-mean-pbl).

    Now, I am just relocated to Unboundary, a transformation design studio in Atlanta, GA. I'm serving as the director of educational innovation, as we expand our practice further into education and social innovation. We also organize and host TEDxAtlanta.

    I'd love to find some mutual time to talk more about DFA, if you are willing and able. If not, then I THANK YOU for all that you and your team is doing! I'm going to click some of these links and figure out how I can best get involved.

  • Hannah Wasserman

    This is awesome. I wish I had it when I was in school! What's the diversity of your student population? Are they mostly engineers, or are there business students and communications majors?

    • Liz Gerber

      Hannah. Great question! DFA attracts students from a variety of majors - including but not limited to engineering, art, music, economics, psychology, english - and from a variety of countries - US, France, China, Ghana. Approximately half of our participants are women.

      • Hannah Wasserman

        Thanks for your response, Liz! That's great to hear. I feel like often at universities majors and schools are siloed, so it's exciting that DFA is bringing together a variety of disciplines.

  • lilah shepard

    I love this - "Anyone who wants to be part of a design team can be. The only requirement is that participants must work, not just talk about the enormity of the problems. DFA doesn’t give students problems to solve; it guides them to walk around their community to find problems they believe are meaningful."

    I've recently joined a class at Tulane University called Design Thinking for Collective Impact. As a Liberal Arts student I have never given much thought to design, but this class has revolutionized the way I think about any problem, whether it be social or technical or logic-based. I'm going to take a look at Design for America! We have been using the Stanford's "D-School" hand book and I'm interested to see how your literature relates to theirs.

    Great share thanks!

  • lilah shepard

    I love this - "Anyone who wants to be part of a design team can be. The only requirement is that participants must work, not just talk about the enormity of the problems. DFA doesn’t give students problems to solve; it guides them to walk around their community to find problems they believe are meaningful."

    I've recently joined a class at Tulane University called Design Thinking for Collective Impact. As a Liberal Arts student I have never given much thought to design, but this class has revolutionized the way I think about any problem, whether it be social or technical or logic-based. I'm going to take a look at Design for America! We have been using the Stanford's "D-School" hand book and I'm interested to see how your literature relates to theirs.

    Great share thanks!

    • Adele Peters

      That's very cool—I'd love to learn more about your class. Do you have a webpage you could share?