Monday, January 19, 2009

Kids Can Curate Their Own Museums

This sounds like a sensible, straightforward idea for great hands-on learning - have students create little museums in their schools as a way to learn about any topic. Creating mini-museums in schools as a strategy for learning and assessment makes a lot of sense and teachers who take the effort to work with their students to do such a project find that it changes them, their teaching, and their students love of learning forever.

Linda D'Acquisto (right) has been working with schools on this concept for years and calls her effort Kid Curators. She wrote a book about the process called Learning on Display: Student-created Museums That Build Understanding (left) that was published by ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development).

The exciting challenge is that doing museum displays calls upon many design skills that are often not taught in schools or known by teachers. In order to create museum exhibits, teachers and students have to develop skills in spatial design learned by architects, set designers, interior designers and landscape architects. In many schools spatial design is not often taught. They would also need knowledge and skills about object design like product designers and production designers for films. In addition, they would need skills in experience design such as those of theme park, restaurant, and hospitality designers.

Schools should have someone on their staff who knows how to use images, objects, spaces and experiences to teach. They need someone who knows how to work with students to create interactive environments for learning. Schools need design educators skilled in designing spaces and experiences that communicate information and ideas. Schools need teachers and students to learn how to design!

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