Serveh Naghshbandi is a designer. After working as a designer for ten years, it seems appropriate that her research in education would bring her back to the concept.
Naghshbandi and Dr. Susan Crichton were selected to present their findings from the 2013 Maker Day at the 2015 FabLearn Conference on September 26, 2015. Created by Stanford University, the FabLearn conference has been running since 2011.
The theme of the conference this year is “makers” culture and hands-on learning.
A “maker” is someone who “values learning through direct experience
and the intellectual and social benefits that accrue from creating something shareable” (Martinez & Stager, 2013).
Design thinking first asks you to identify the problem from an end user’s perspective. Making, the hands-on learning aspect, provides opportunities to ‘thinker’. Thinkering combines thinking and tinkering while developing a solution to ill-defined problems. Human-centered design thinking requires empathy. By identifying a specific need, one begins to empathize and better understand the problem.
“We design every day, whether we are conscious of it nor not,” says Naghshbandi, “if we are conscious of it, [the designing] becomes more meaningful.”
Serveh was a participant in the initial Maker Day: Taking Making into Schools. This immersive Professional Development Event is spearheaded by Dr. Susan Crichton, Director of the Innovative Learning Centre (ILC) and Director of the Faculty of Education at UBC Okanagan. The project is supported by Deb Carter, a doctoral student in the IGS program within the Faculty of Education.
In 2013, teachers, administrators, ministry representatives, academics, community member, Trades and Technology students in Secondary Teacher Education Program and members of the ILC Advisory Board came together for the first Maker Day. Everyone experienced how design thinking and Making might be taken up in a K-12 curriculum. Since that time, over a 1,000 participants in BC, Alberta and Africa have experienced Maker Days. Using an iterative process based on their feedback and research, Maker Days have grown to include a variety of applied design, skills and technologies including simple prototyping, fabricating and coding of appropriate technologies.
The FabLearn Conference will showcase the research and study that go on in the ILC. The ILC is fully equipped with a state of the art learning lab, pedagogical incubator and design studios. An overarching goal of the ILC is to “create a classroom space where one can explore, create and experience innovations in pedagogical excellence.”
Naghshbandi was awarded a scholarship from Stanford for her participation in the FabLearn Conference. Serveh is currently working towards her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies in Education at the University of British Columbia, (Okanagan Campus) where she completed her Master’s in Education in 2014. She continues to study design in learning environments.
“We are facing an unpredictable and complex world which requires us to think and act in our environment in a more responsible way,” says Naghshbandi. “Designing is important for anyone who wants to think and act creatively— they must make this change intentionally.”
To learn more about The Innovative Learning Centre (ILC) housed in the Faculty of Education, visit http://innovativelearningcentre.ca/ .