Designing Our Tomorrow (DOT)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering


DESIGNING OUR TOMORROW (DOT): engaging secondary school teachers in the principles and tools of inclusive design to enable their students to think creatively.INCLUSION AND CREATIVITY In the UK, inclusion is an important topic on different social levels and the need for change in government and industry to reduce exclusion in society is recognised. Over nearly 10 years the i~design research programme, funded by the EPSRC, has engaged effectively with policy makers, industry and designers. It has proved that inclusive design practice can act as a platform for creativity. Through conducting inclusive design challenges with school pupils as part of university outreach activities, the practice of inclusive design has further proven to be an effective way to 'teach' creativity.Promoting creativity in education is identified as a key priority in education (HMIE report Emerging Good Practice in Promoting Creativity, March 2006), it identified the principal purpose of education as enabling all children and young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors; among the skills required for this purpose is the ability to think creatively and independently .APPLYING NEW KNOWLEDGE TO REAL WORLD PROBLEMS This public engagement addresses ways in which approaches to teach creative thinking in schools can be embedded with inclusive design principles in order to inspire young people to create a more inclusive world.It builds on a strong track record of investigation, expertise and publication by the research team at the Engineering Design Centre (EDC), University of Cambridge, led by Professor John Clarkson and managed by experience design consultant, Ian Hosking working closely with Bill Nicholl from the Faculty of Education, design researcher Dr Yanki Lee from the Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre and Ergonomics & Design Researcher Eddy Elton from the Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI) Loughborough University.EFFECTIVE ENGAGEMENT The project brings together a strong team of inclusive design researchers in collaboration with pedagogy theory experts. It sets out to engage teachers and their pupils to develop new approaches of teaching creativity in schools.6 invited schools in three areas across the UK (London, Cambridge and Loughborough) where the partners are based will be the first group to adopt inclusive design principles into their Key Stage 3 (KS3) Design & Technology (D&T) classes. Throughout the process, observation and evaluation will be conducted and reflected back in the development of the tools.The first collaboration with six schools will reach 1800 new pupils every year in KS3 classes. The purpose of the project is to conduct inclusive design challenges with teachers in the 6 selected schools to give them a hands-on experience to test and question the principles of inclusive design and co-develop a new set of tools to inspire creativity. The expectation is that a number of the schools (3 out of the 6) will also adapt the principle of inclusive design beyond KS3. In addition to the 6 schools the project will aim to sign up at least 100 teachers who are interested in using the resources. This will primarily be done through one of the partners to the proposal, the Design & Technology Association (DATA). Even with a very conservative 10% conversion rate of these teachers, it will give an additional 3,000 pupils per year. If the conversion rate reaches 30% then a total of 9,000 new KS3 pupils will be reached an annual basis bring the total to over 10,000Special training sessions during 2010-11, will also be conducted for the D&T initial teacher education programme, and partnership schools of Cambridge University, which trains 20 D&T teachers annually. This also gives access to a further 25 schools which means that if 30% of schools adopt DOT, then potentially another 2,500 pupils per annum will be reached.

Planned Impact

STRATEGY Since 2000, the i~design project has been successful in engaging with key stakeholders from designers to policymakers and industry. The time is now right to see inclusive design practice embedded in education. The i~design project has teamed up with the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University to allow integration with leading practice on creative thinking, as well as practical expertise on working in schools. The key strategic direction of this project is to enable the teachers, seen as the gatekeepers to initiating and sustaining change in schools, to reach pupils through the provision of high quality resources. This gives a highly leverage outcome for the effort put in by the project and will enable many more pupils to be reached than if the project team only worked directly with pupils. The baseline target is to reach 10,000 new Key Stage 3 pupils per annum through the embedding of inclusive design approaches in the curriculum of schools. DIRECT BENEFICIARIES: The aim is to bring about a substantive and sustainable change in the way design is taught. As such it engages with a section of the population who have the greatest potential to bring about long-term change towards a more inclusive society. The following categories of stakeholders will be directly benefit from the project: 1. Teachers, policy makers and educators 2. Pupils and Parents 3. Inclusive Design Researchers LONG-TERM BENEFICIARIES: The implications of inclusive design will have an impact on how we design everyday things, whether they are products, services or even organisational structures. These can either be designed inclusively or not. This project aims to 'include' pupils as part of this process, to think and design inclusively, to enable them to design our tomorrow to be a more inclusive one, as designers and as consumers of this future world. Their awareness and skills are key to bring about this change and bring the benefits to society as a whole. APPROACH This project has 4 key elements that bring about the desired impact. These are: 1. The development of high quality 'standalone' resources that enable teachers to embed inclusive design in their core curriculum work at Key Stage 3. 2. Assisting the 6 partner schools to embed the resources into their normal teaching. This will mean that around 1800 (assuming a 10 form entry) new KS3 pupils will be reached per annum. 3. Promote the resources more widely through the following routes: - DATA with its 6,000 members, their publications and annual conference with the target of signing up a minimum of 100 teachers who are interested in the resources. Assuming a conversion rate of 10% to 30% this will reach an additional 3,000 to 9,000 pupils per annum. - Special training sessions will also be conducted for the Design & Technology initial teacher education programme at Cambridge University, which trains 20 D&T teachers annually. This also gives access to a further 25 schools which means that if 30% of schools adopt DOT, then potentially another 2,500 pupils per annum will be reached. - The RSA hope to promote the work through their network of 300 schools that are part of the Opening Minds initiative. - The Design Council will help promote the resources through their various channels. In addition they will consider adding the inclusive design challenge to their Design School Challenges initiative. - The team also has a good relationship with Teaching Resources based at Middlesex University who publish a free newspaper that is sent to every Design and Technology school department, 3 times a year. Through these various initiatives the project believes that it can attain the target of reaching of 10,000 new KS3 pupils per annum empowering teachers. 4. The resources will be promoted and made available via a web-site that gives the potential for more schools to use the resources thus extending the reach further beyond the end of the project.
Description Designing Our Tomorrow led to the development of a set of resources for teaching inclusive design in schools at Key Stage 3. The resources, designed in collaboration with design and technology teachers in six schools provide material for 12 lessons.
Exploitation Route The principles demonstrated in this work for designing and delivering teaching resources could be used by others. The Cambridge team have already developed a further three schemes of work, based on the same framework of lesson plans and resources.
Sectors Education

Description The findings of this project have led directly to further funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (Ireland) to develop a wider variety of classroom resources by the Cambridge team. Designing Our Tomorrow (DOT) Boxes have been trialled in two schools in Ireland and further schools in the UK. Additional research has evidenced the effectiveness of the approach.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal

Title Designing Our Tomorrow 
Description Designing Our Tomorrow is about educating and equipping people to design a better future - a set of resources for schools and business 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact resources in use in education workshops run for industry