Note: If you want to follow the students and a live social feed of today’s events check out our tag board, #DSXOAK.
We're back at The Crucible here in West Oakland for day two of the pop-up school prototype Design School X. The two-day experience was designed by d.school fellow David Clifford.
David designed the prototype to test aspects of a new type of school -- one where students are allowed greater creative agency and an opportunity to learn skills "to help them navigate and affect change in the 21st century," he said.
The pop-up school flips the traditional classroom model in many ways. It offers students -- in this case, 12 boys assigned to teams of three -- an assigned "dilemma" along with a specific "context." For example, one dilemma is "a white police officer and a black youth" with the context being "in a cafe". The combination of the two serves to create what is essentially a design challenge. Students are allowed to create anything they like within the confines of the combined prompts.
The students are also given more free time than in a traditional classroom environment, less hands-on instruction and an abundance of resources.
Those resources include contact information for adult experts, dubbed "catalysts", to whom students are allowed to reach out to during their work time. Students are expected to, by the end of the day, present their designs.
The first day served as an introduction to the school, the schedule and the expectations. Today, 10 of the original 12 students will continue to develop their prototypes, with a final presentation for friends and family scheduled for the afternoon.
It's lunch time. Pizza won.
The boys have been working diligently all morning, trying to bring clarity to their designs. There's a political campaign rooted in the time of feudal Japan. There is a skit around race relations in the 1960s, and a new game.
The catalysts have been put to good use, serving as extras and cast members in the skit and testing elements of the game design. A consistent hum of activity has underscored The Crucible's more traditional clanging, banging, and whirring.
Time ran away from us as we neared the end of #DSXOAK on Sunday. However, here, now, is a brief recap of the presentations. Family and friends came to see the final designs, which included a new game, a skit and a political campaign.
The first team to present had been given the dilemma of creating a never-before-seen game at an intersection. The result was "Monkey Ball", a dynamic combination of paint ball, tag and capture-the-flag. A large playing board was taped to the floor of The Crucible's main gathering space. The team, after explaining the game, showed everyone how it was played.
"Black Lives Matter"
The second team had been given the dilemma of a white cop and a black youth at a cafe. The final design was a piece of live theater which centered around two young black men standing outside of a cafe in 1962. Warned by the store owner that the police would be summoned if they didn't leave the front of the cafe, the two black men refuse to budge. They are eventually met by two cops -- both white. The cops proceed to enter into an altercation before the skit's director stops the play and calls "scene". The audience was then presented with three questions to prompt a discussion around modern race relations in an historical context.
The third and final team was given the dilemma of a political candidate's campaign within the context of feudal Japan. The team was comprised of only two members, since some of the boys switched teams depending on their preferences and team dynamics. The final design was a twitter account, @DSXOakland, for a candidate "Jin Yubushi". The students chose to leverage social media to promote the Jin's candidacy for daimyo, or a lord who served as a vassal of the shogun, in 1625.
The day ended with an all-hands clean-up effort and a distribution of pins David made for the students and catalysts. In brief interviews just before they left, many of the boys noted how they were able to use their phones during "class", the abundance of free time and self-direction and how the combination of abundant resources and minimal direction helped grow their curiosity and confidence.
Do you have thoughts on the Design School X prototype? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter via the hashtag #DSXOAK .