Visual Design for Education
Where is Design in the K12 Curriculum?
Much has been said about school reform, revitalizing the economy and meeting the emerging needs of the new millennium. Advocates from many subject areas have weighed in on what students should know or be able to do as part of the Common Core standards. Some progress seems to have been made in math and language arts. However, there is one additional curriculum reform concept that has been successfully instituted and tested in several U.S. charter schools and many other countries but has been largely absent in conversations about K12 education reform and, therefore, has been omitted from the recommendations to policymakers: design education.
What is design education? Design education, which is considered “an applied art,” teaches problem-solving as the application of creativity—it’s about functionality, usability, feasibility and desirability. Design education teaches relevance, ideation and aesthetics. It considers human factors such as psychology, sociology and ethnography. It teaches research methods, visualization and presentation skills, critical analysis, collaboration and team building. It teaches creative cognitive skills as well as productive hand skills. In short, it not only encourages students to be imaginative, it also teaches them how to harness that inventiveness and put it to practical use. Most importantly, it teaches methodologies for many of the recommended transformative academic and life skills of the twenty-first century.