Learning community prototypes design-led education program

QUT Design Lab’s ‘Design Education Research Platform’ and Indooroopilly State High School (ISHS) have kicked off an exciting program of activities for 2017 involving 165 teachers. The unique Queensland education partnership prototypes a collaborative 21st century learning community for design-led education.

The Indooroopilly SHS Innovation Hub Project was launched in January 2017 with a series of design thinking workshops developed by Dr Jeremy Kerr and QUT Design Lab Chief Investigator Natalie Wright. Teaching staff collaboratively explored creative approaches for pedagogical implementation, reflecting on the value of using the design process in their classroom practice.

This learning community will continue to explore and document the value and process of co-creating design-based learning curriculum for 21st century skills, in collaboration with students, teachers, parents, QUT School of Design staff and students, and the greater community. The community support the school’s pedagogical principles of Critical thinking, Connectedness, Collaboration and Creative Problem Solving.

ISHS Principal Lois O’Reilly said the school is committed to prototyping new school-wide strategies which better prepare teachers and students as global citizens and for the workforce of the creative knowledge economy.

“We know our students need to be creative, flexible, networked, and have the confidence to tackle unpredictable and complex challenges across subject area boundaries. We are delighted to partner with QUT Design Lab to explore design thinking as a framework for innovation in our school,” Principal O’Reilly said.

Rhys Cassidy, Learning and Teaching Coach at ISHS, is an active participant in the program. He said he is committed to supporting staff to deliver an engaging and modern curriculum.

“We are excited about working with the QUT Design Lab to provide a design-led professional development program centred on innovative pedagogy and curriculum design skills development, as well as action research methods that empower staff to showcase the excellent work we are doing at Indooroopilly,” Mr Cassidy said.

QUT Design Lab will assist in collating and publishing the resulting processes, strategies and tools, towards developing and sharing a praxis model for design-led educational innovation in Australian schools.

Along with developing an evidence-based culture of practice encouraging a pathway for proponents of design-based education to share and build research and practice consensus, Ms Wright said the program provides new career opportunities.

“We are also excited that this partnership will introduce students to creative career pathways that may not have been accessible to them within the traditional secondary school classroom,” Ms Wright said.

In the next phase of the project, a pilot program to co-create design thinking and social entrepreneurship skills and resources for students, will commence with a Year 10 cohort in Term 3. The year will conclude with another teacher personal development workshop that will focus on reflective activities. This process will examine the staff journey using design thinking as a framework to integrate school pedagogical principles.

“We hope that the project will evolve through an open-ended conversation between partners and encourage other cross-sector partnerships which showcase the value of design in education,” Ms Wright said.

Organisation QUT School of Design
Info Natalie Wright
Phone 07 3138 7786
Email n.wright@qut.edu.au