It feels like the weeks are passing me by and keeping up with posts never feels easy, but every now and then I get a trigger or a reason to write something and today it was down to Emily Pilloton. As I sat and started watching her TED speech this morning, I wondered where she going but within seconds I was hooked on everything she was saying and trying to do. In a small town in Carolina, Emily and her husband along with the help of super intendant Dr. Chip Zolanger are changing the broken school system and community of Bertie Town through Project H. Emily is the founder of the non profit project, which encourages students to design their future through creativity and practical processes to give them real life skills.
She recognised that there was a need and an opportunity to bring design as an untouched tool and to usher that into Bertie Town. The initial goal was to use design as part of the education system but beyond that they realised they needed make education a great vehicle for community development. She explained that their approach consisted of three different routes:
Design for education
the physical construction of improved spaces and materials and experiences for teachers and students
Redesigning education itself
system level look at how education is being administrated and what is being offered to whom
Design as education
teaching design within public schools, learning design thinking coupled with real construction and fabrication skills put before a local community.
I think why I found this talk so inspiring is it's genuine approach to improving education and communities. There was a desperate need for Emily to transform and offer hope to Bertie Town which in many cases are neglected or overlooked. The idea of teaching children maths through homegrown outdoor activities just demonstrated how well she understood the children and their ability and how the simplist ideas can make such a vast improvement. It's projects like these that we need to sharing with the world and thinking of more ways to embed this into not only struggling towns but cities worldwide.