September 20, 2010

Design thinking & Project Based Learning in action in Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence


"This is nothing like school. In school everything runs quite smoothly… You learn a lot more [this way]. I never knew how hard it would be to fight for your own job."

These are students talking about a student-driven project around the theme of a soap opera, whereby they had to create a non-scripted soap opera production, with the story of a paper plant about to go bust. It was initiated by the art teacher, but encompassed much of the business, language and creative side of the curriculum. It's fleshed out in the video above.

The genius part is that their art lesson, rather than being a prep for recording the soap opera, became the "art club" of the bust company that in which they were playing their roles. Their choice, not that of their teacher (and, I'd argue, not something that a teacher would come up with in isolation were (s)he to be forward planning like crazy).

Alison Ferguson, the teacher, puts it like this:

"You're not teaching in isolation. You're teaching in a much more natural way, as you would if you were bringing up your own children."

This is part of a series of new videos the Scottish Government have produced to try to help parents understand how learning and teaching is changing to better equip young people for the future. I'd argue that they're ideal for those teachers who are struggling to see what it means, too, and more effective than the thousands of pages of 'guidance' and 'advice' given with the Curriculum for Excellence so far.

My other favourite in this series is Pimp My Trolley, with more on the Learning and Teaching Scotland site.

I hope we can see more of these 'first hand' accounts of what a vibrant learning environment looks like - so much more powerful than the rhetoric or PDF hell we're used to.


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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