Prototyping learning and congruence in new realities

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Evans, Peter
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Steven M. Herrnstadt
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Industrial Design
The Department of Industrial Design seeks to teach students to tap creativity for the design of products, systems or services that meet commercial objectives in business and industry. The Industrial Design Program was established in the Department of Art and Design in 2010. In 2012, the Department of Industrial Design was created.
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The educational system in the industrialized 20th Century, a monolithic delivery model, prepared students for a hierarchical livelihood in either blue collar or white collar worlds. Today, a different landscape is predicted for the workforce. And it is rapidly changing and advancing. Will Richardson points out that by 2020 more than half the US workforce will be “freelancers, consultants and independent workers” (Richardson, 2012). While forecasts and predictions vary, continuing studies support this workforce evolution.

The continued revolution in digital technology is pervasive today with mobile devices and the Internet providing an abundance of information, knowledge and opportunity with the potential for a student customized learning experience. Anticipating this shift, Richardson recognizes the need for students to master learning instead of content as is assessed currently. This situates well with John Seely Brown describing “agency” as active participation, creating and building as a principal attribute of a student in this new educational model while inscribing “empathy” as a second requisite quality (Brown, 2013).

A new strategy for learning, understanding and doing is required that encourages agency with individuals actively experiencing new technologies and realities for creating and communicating that support deeper experiences and shift perspectives in ways not possible before. This is required to imbue discovery, creativity and new craft toward the most appropriately designed solutions in a highly technological and evermore complex world. Universal Constructs, with new tools for seeing and making, become the framework to weave design thinking, STEM and 21st Century Skills together holistically to better define the potentials for learning, understanding and doing.

A pilot program called the Forward Learning Experience (FLEx) was launched in 2014 with the intention to introduce the framework above to students today. As of July 2017, the FLEx has reached almost 45,000 constituents of Iowa, primarily K-12 students, and has undergone initial reviews with positive results showing its potential capacities toward a new educational and learning model.

Leading students with forward looking experiences, strategies and frameworks through the FLEx or similar opportunities to augment core skills through emergent technologies for seeing and making through robust multi-mode neuro-phenomenological means will enable a new calculus for deeper learning, understanding and impactful doing with extended imagination, empathy and ethics.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017