Collaboration in a Digital Design Class focused on Humanitarianism

I have just started teaching my first class – Grade 9, MYP Digital Design. Beyond the nerves and awkwardness of teaching a class (I’ve provided countless technology workshops, after school activities, adult training for the World Health Organization, etc. yet… this feels brand new in a lot of ways), my focus has been to construct a class on Digital Design using the MYP Design Cycle not just as a set of procedures to ensure thoughtful solution to problems, but to uncover how our thinking results in a class full of Digital Humanitarians.

Beyond that, the thinking is not just how an individual can solve a problem, but how an individual and inspire, promote and harness what Clay Shirky calls a Cognitive Surplus – the next step after generations of free time is spent staring at television converted to global creativity and generosity. The point Shirky makes is not that we no longer want to be mindlessly staring at a 1-way medium anymore, but that for the first time, we have the technological tools to spend that time helping others without disrupting the lifestyle that has afforded us this free time.

My school, in particular, has this specific resource to harness. With 95% of our students on the bus about 2.5 hours a day… my goal is to coach my students to find ways for those idle on WiFi enabled devices to improve the world.

Building on one of my previous posts, Redefining Compassion as a Role in Schools and Ed Tech, we are spending time twice a week looking at futurism to find where we can predict a need for technological compassion on the horizon.

Our topic this week – The Future of Food. In particular how close artificial meat is to augment the current supply of protein around the world. Using the Design Cycle to jump into this as the creation element, we’ll work around the cycle to look what problems this will solve and what problems this will create?

If we can predict what we’ll find in the Evaluation area of the cycle, not only does this build capacity for stronger planning but enforces the need of compassion when doing so.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

2 Replies to “Collaboration in a Digital Design Class focused on Humanitarianism”

  1. georginapecas

    Wow! Really interesting, please make sure you keep us posted on the process as well as the outcome. I am a global Perspectives teacher and currently we are doing a unit on the Environment. I am sure my students will love to read and get involved.


  2. Catherine

    The Future of Food topic sounds so interesting, Clint. It makes me think that I should be collaborating more with the Design department in my school as there are so many links between what we do in Enterprise and what they do in Design. I will research more around the topic of artificial meet as it looks fascinating – rightly or wrongly. I’m interested in the outcome of your discussion with students and what they will come up with as arguments for and against.

    Good luck!



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