(First post in the “Why Design?” series. All of Garreth’s writing represent a view from the crossroads of education and design. See more of Garreth’s posts here.


Here begins a series of posts looking at the research and rationale for the inclusion of design-based learning, the use/presence of design and maker programs in school curricula, and the people driving the change. The outline for these series of posts is something I have worked with before on my own blog. However, at PlusUs I will be looking at the educational philosophy that makes design a sound pedagogical choice. Along the way I plan to take a few field trips to schools that are already practicing design-based pedagogy in order to explore how they are making that shift and what has shifted, both for their teachers as well as their students.

As well, I’ll pause to explore the global forces educational institutions are struggling to comprehend and respond to. After all, absent any rapid attempts to shift course in response to these forces, public schools as we know them will continue floating down the Antiquated River, eventually drifting into the larger Sea of Irrelevance. Others, however, have written far more in far more depth than I have on the urgent need to reassess how we educate our young people. I suggest reading something from each of these advocates for educational change:  Grant Lichtman, Tony Wagner, Dan Pink, Sir Ken Robinson. Their work has helped generate a good deal of the light and heat around the subject.

We know that change is always difficult and that “shift happens.”  This blog series will serve as a place where readers can discover pedagogy, programs, and the people behind them who are using design to manage that shift and offering us not only critiques but also successful, practical responses that may spark change in our own institutions.

In the coming weeks I’ll be exploring topics in the following areas:

  • Design, Making and pedagogy
  • Design-based schools and programs
  • Design-in-education coalitions and advocacy groups
  • Valid criticisms and critiques of these concepts