Wednesday, March 19, 2008

National K-12 Design Education Curriculum

Many people and groups believe we are reaching the critical mass where it is time to write a National Curriculum for K-12 Design Education. We are looking for people and organizations who would like to be part of that effort.

Let me know at what you think should be included and what area you feel you would like to work on - grade level, design area, history, production, criticism, aesthetics, design literacy, etc. It would be great to compile a completed draft for review by next year's NAEA national conference in Minneapolis.

I don't see this as an NAEA effort by art teachers alone but would include other participants such as the National Design Museum, National Building Museum, A+DEN, AIGA, AIA, AAF, IDSA, ITEA, ISTE, etc., etc. You can see from the long list below that there is plenty of room for lots of contributers. For example - who can provide input for the appropriate introduction of design education at the Pre-K level? What would fashion design education look like at the Elementary Level? What should middle schools students know about the history of design? What should high school students know and be able to do in design before they graduate?

The general conceptual framework might be something like:

Design Thinking - Integrating design-thinking across the curriculum (Here we might invite people from other disciplines - English, computer science, technology education, business education, etc.)

Articulating design education at Pre-K, Elementary, Middle and High School levels.

Approaching design education from the point of view of Design Production, History, Theory, Criticism and Literacy.

Information Design - graphic design production, print and web design, digital video and animation, history of graphic design, graphic design literacy, media literacy and critical thinking (Here we might invite people from other subject areas who teach graphic design).

Object Design - product design, industrial design (transportation, fashion, furniture, appliances, lighting, etc.), history of product design, product design literacy, material science, recycling. (Here we might invite people from technology education, etc. to contribute.)

Space and Place Design - architecture, landscape design, urban planning, interior design, exhibit and set design, school design, history of space and place design, critical theory in design of spaces and places. (Here we might invite architects, urban planners, etc. to contribute.)

Experience Design- interactive design, user-friendly design, participatory design, toys, video games, theme parks, children's museums, sustainability, eco-design, Universal design, etc. (Here we might invite people from a variety of disciplines and organizations to contribute.)

History of Design - Paul Rand, Raymond Loewy, Frederick Law Olmsted, Frank Lloyd Wright, Zaha Hadid, Denise Scott Brown - who would be on your list of must-know designers who shaped design in America and the world? Who are influential designers among women, minorities, other cultures, etc.? What are some icons and exemplars of design with which everyone should be familiar - the Aeron chair, FallingWater, IBM logo, Helvetica, etc.?

Design Literacy - What should students know about media literacy, advertising design, sustainability, environmental concerns, social justice and equity, Universal Design, Design for the Real World, Design for the Other 90%, etc.

Evaluating Design - Improving evaluation methods such as portfolios, exhibition, demonstration, presentation, etc. What evaluation methods do designers use and how can those be adapted for K-12 assessments?

If you, or someone you know, can contribute to one or more of these topics (and suggest other topics and ideas) let me know at

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