Design Minds PD Day with Cooper Hewitt Fellow Workshop Overview

To celebrate, reflect and share learnings from his time as Cooper Hewitt Fellow 2014, SLQ’s Asia Pacific Design Library (APDL) invited Terry Deen from Kelvin Grove State College to host a Design Minds Professional Development Day for teachers. What he delivered will form the basis for an annual Queensland Design Minds workshop based on the tradition of the Smithsonian Design Institute, hosted in New Orleans by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

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On 13 March 2015, 31 teachers from a range of Brisbane primary and secondary schools came together for a jam-packed day of thoughtful provocation, inquiry, and ideation of ideas centred on the role of design-related curriculum in fostering creative intelligence and ‘soft skills’ across various disciplines/learning areas.

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In Terry’s opening address he emphasised that, although not explicit in the National Curriculum’s counting and measuring culture, which favours assessment through testing, creative and critical thinking are mandated. He believes the design process brings together knowledge and thinking, as well as understanding and doing, allowing the development of disciplinary knowledge, transdisciplinary capabilities and “enduring understanding” (a term referenced from Meredith Davis, Director of Graduate Programs, College of Design North Carolina State University). Utilising Meredith Davis’s qualities of design problems – open-ended, situated, responsive, values-laden, integrative and authentic assessment – Terry mapped a series of ACARA and C2C sample classroom activities from various year levels and disciplines to theDesign Minds Phases to demonstrate this, and invited teachers to use this as a measure for their own ideas.

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The floor was then opened up to a panel of guest speakers from a range of educational, creative and cultural organisations to garner multiple perspectives on 21st century approaches to education, as the impetus for teachers to generate future strategies for design as a pedagogical framework.

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Dr Kathy Mackey, Smithsonian Fellow 2014 outlined her research to be undertaken in Washington DC investigating the influence of cultural institution partnerships on innovation inquiry within education – Putting STEAM into STEM with the combination of scientific inquiry, research methodologies and design thinking. Leanne Nixon, Queensland Government Department of Education & Training Assistant Director-General – State Schools Performance aligned with Terry’s views and reinforced the importance of developing creative intelligence in schools. Jacina Leong, Public Programs Curator at QUT The Cube posed the question that if the arts and sciences are the “avators of human creativity” (Mae Jenison, Astronaut), how might we foster a truly interdisciplinary culture by looking at the bigger picture?

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Donald Welch, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design at Griffith University QCA, spoke about developing a culture of “risk and randomness’, replacing IQ with Ken Robinson’s IP (Intelligence Profile), embracing Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences including Emotional Intelligence, and working in teams on both a school and government level. Dr Michel Dezuanni, QUT Faculties of Education and Creative Industries Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Curriculum Studies, emphasised the importance of scaffolding play in the early years to lead to productive design, utilising technology as tools for developing literacy and creativity.

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The ideation phase followed with teacher teams brainstorming ‘wild’, ‘darling’ and ‘practical’ solutions for fostering creative intelligence through design in the classroom and beyond, to generate an idea, which was later developed and implemented as a group presentation made to a second panel. This panel comprised Jo-Anne Hine, President of Queensland Art Teachers Association (QATA); Tristan Schultz, Lecturer and Convenor of Visual Communication Design, Griffith University QCA; Suzanne Misso, Creative Producer Queensland Museum & Sciencentre; and Carolyn Yip, Industrial Designer, Educator and Director of AUXILIARY Design School.

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Terry finished the day with interesting insights into the activities he was involved in, and the places and people visited during his fellowship in New York and across the USA, providing global inspiration for teachers. We look forward to publishing Terry’s Design Minds Empathy Toolkit in the coming weeks and thank him for his extensive contribution to APDL Design Minds to date. With the announcement of the 2015 Cooper Hewitt Fellow imminent, we anticipate the contribution of Terry’s successor will build on the wealth of knowledge and experience provided by the Cooper Hewitt Fellowship since its inception in 2008.

This blog post was written by APDL Manager, Natalie Wright.