Through the Education Lens

How Design Impacted a Rural School System

CJW, November 18, 2010 9:11 AM

rural schoolhouse.jpg

"And I really, strongly believe in the power of the small story,
because it is so difficult to do humanitarian work at a global scale.
Because, when you zoom out that far, you lose the ability to view people as humans.
                            - Emily Pilloton

A "small story" with big implications

by C.J. Westerberg

There are many things I like about designer Emily Pilloton's "Teaching Design for a Change" video presentation (below).  Maybe it's the unlikely yet highly compelling story of a sophisticated designer landing in a very poor, very rural and most definitely unsophisticated town where great things start to happen.  

Or, maybe it's "seeing" the critical role schools can play in building a stronger connected community.   This small story narrative paints a possible picture for other budget-conscious, seemingly hopeless school situations.   And, how can one not find hope by watching how this particular school system in Bertie County can become a catalyst for the community to connect learning at home.

A must-view segment is where Pilloton crafts her story about the important intersection between education, design and community at the six minute mark.  Truly a Daniel Pink "symphony" moment.

Pilloton credits the experience and vision of a new school superintendent, Dr. Chip Zullinger - aka Dr. Z -  who arrived in 2007, as instrumental to her move to Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, to partner as design consultant  (at the 3:00 mark, where the good news begins).

"We need to be better citizens in our own backyard"
- Emily Pilloton

Other notable moments:  the outdoor "Learning Landscape" (8:00 ) used as a venue to teach math, specifically a physical musical chair approach toward multiplication tables;   Pilloton's version of "Shop Class" a new junior year program (at the 12:00 mark);  having a shared ownership with teachers to create the "conditions" for change, and how design offers a different type of classroom  . . . 

Whether or not you've been tuned in to NBC's recent School Pride program, a series that follows school design make-overs with "Survivor"-like emotional drama and appeal, or a few of the recent school-of-the-future meanderings in the media of late, Pilloton's presentation takes us on a more thoughtful, glocal (think global, act local) ride:

Post a Comment



"A Radical Idea For Changing Math Education"

10.24.2017 | Someone always asks the math teacher, 'Am I going to use calculus in real life?' And for most of us, says Arthur Benjamin, the answer is NO. Watch Now | Comments


No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship

10.20.2017 | Every child deserves a champion - TED talk Watch Now | Comments


Is This The Best High School in America?

10.19.2017 | WATCH: Does your High School look anything like this? Watch Now | Comments


Learning. Outside the box.

10.19.2017 | "When you are taught inside a box, you lose parts of yourself." 2 minute Video Watch Now | Comments

education poster.jpg

NEW -- Big Oil in Education? - Video

10.19.2017 | Why Should We Care? Because it can happen anywhere Watch Now | Comments


Higher Education when it ROARS - - - 3 minute VIDEO

10.14.2017 | The delightful case for Project Based Learning Watch Now | Comments


Parents: Do our kids know what "it takes" to be good at something?

10.12.2017 | Youth Motivation & Mastery: Create the environment conducive to having kids discover what it takes to become good at something on their own, rather than having "us" - the authority figures - telling them how. Watch Now | Comments

Finland. Finnishflag.BobCompton.jpg

The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System

10.12.2017 | New update December 2, 2013 which includes Yong Zhao link and comments PLUS CNN videos Watch Now | Comments

Math Heaven and Hell

10.10.2017 | "My different studies have shown that students who engage actively in their mathematics learning, rather than simply practicing procedures, achieve at higher levels." - Stanford professor Dr. Jo Boaler Watch Now | Comments


James Paul Gee: How Kids Learn Through Video Games

10.07.2017 | So the next time you fret that your child is on a mindless video game (of course, depending which one), take a chill pill. It may not be as bad as you think. Recommended videos. Watch Now | Comments


What do you remember from high school? (Humor)

10.06.2017 | Week-end Funnies - VIDEO - 10 Million Views Viral video parody (nudity alert!) Some Study That I Used to Know is already at 1.5 million views. It's another play on Goyte's hugely viral video Watch Now | Comments


Tom Friedman: Think Like an Immigrant

10.05.2017 | Five Ways to Succeed in Life and Work Watch Now | Comments

Video: What is the link between "design-thinking" and creativity?

10.05.2017 | Creative Confidence: Must-Watch Interview on Charlie Rose Watch Now | Comments


"The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination"

10.04.2017 | JK Rowling, Harry Potter Author, Captivates Crowd With Harvard Commencement Speech Watch Now | Comments

Conversations that happen in the middle

06.10.2017 | "We (parents and teachers) really don't get into a conversation . . ." Watch Now | Comments


Five-Minute Montessori

02.12.2017 | "Seeing the big picture allows students to take ownership of their learning - a critical element in fostering each child's natural learning desire." Watch Now | Comments


Want your child to have initiative and perseverance?

02.11.2017 | Passion-Based Learning in Action Watch Now | Comments


The Opening Challenge for The New Year

01.11.2017 | "It's hard to find a great dress for this inauguration." - President-elect Donald Trump Watch Now | Comments