Cooper-Hewitt's Education team spent an amazing week in New Orleans with 26 educators from New York City, San Antonio, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. Although their day jobs include teaching subjects from across the curriculum, including math and science as well as social studies and history, they all became designers for the week and solved a design challenge that focused on school improvement. Working in teams they designed and presented prototypes ranging from apps that help teachers de-stress, a system to help drop-outs reconnect to school and reconfigured schools that can also serve as community spaces.

Throughout the week they worked with experts, including Steven Bingler who has designed some of the most innovative school spaces in the country and Meredith Davis who helped them think about connecting the design process back to their own curricula.

A highlight was a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ninth Ward led by Make It Right, where we saw firsthand that a single design challenge can have a wide range of solutions.

Now that they’ve finished their week of ‘design boot camp,’ they’ll go back and introduce design thinking into their own classrooms and in classrooms throughout their schools and communities using our “Ready, Set, Design” challenge. They’ll also be writing lesson plans that we can share with teachers across the country on our website.

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