Children design their future cities!

On November the 15th, 150 children will design their future cities together in Nairobi, Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. This is the first of a series global “Design-a-thons” for children.

03 NOVEMBER 2014, NAIROBI, DUBLIN, AMSTERDAM, BERLIN, RIO DE JANEIRO
Summary
On November the 15th, 150 children will design their future cities together in Nairobi, Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. This is the first of a series global “Design-a-thons” for children. During the Design-a-thon children use a 'learning by design' method combined with new technologies, such as Arduino's and Littlebits. This approach combines Design thinking and Maker movement, which are both gaining ground in education systems worldwide. The most important goals of the Design-a-thon are: to show this new type of education to parents, teachers and policy makers; to encourage education systems to incorporate these ways of learning; and to prepare children for our continuously changing and increasingly complex world.

Children design their future cities!

On November the 15th, 150 children will design their future cities together in Nairobi, Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. This is the first of a series global “Design-a-thons” for children.

During the Design-a-thon children use a 'learning by design' method combined with new technologies, such as Arduino's and Littlebits. This approach combines  Design thinking and Maker movement, which are both gaining ground in education systems worldwide. The most important goals of the Design-a-thon are: to show this new type of education to parents, teachers and policy makers; to encourage education systems to incorporate these ways of learning; and to prepare children for our continuously changing and increasingly complex world. 

Initiator Emer Beamer (Unexpect): “We often forget to ask children for their opinions. If you ask children: "What would you like to change in the world and how could you do that?" They don't shout 'more toys', but they say they want to develop a 3D food printer to solve the world hunger problem or a design a self writing pen for children with dyslexia. If you ask children the right question, allow them the space to imagine and provide them a design based method and the technologies to create a solution, then they are in fact able to teach us great things.  

Emer has realised a number of big design based education projects in the last 15 years, in countries in Africa and Asia for the Butterfly Works foundation. Driven by her background as a designer and a passion to offer every child a chance, she has helped thousands of children with their education and a path to a job. Her new company Unexpect aims to reach out to children in the whole world. Further more she has made the 'learning by design' method suitable for young children. The method has been simplified to 4 steps: 'Research the context', 'Imagine and sketch your idea', 'Build a prototype using new technologies' and 'Present'. Dutch and German designers and education experts, such as Daan Roosegaarde, Ralien Bekkers, Jeroen van Erp and Gesche Joost endorse the Design-a-thon.

The Design-a-thon held on November the 15th is the global introduction of this future proof education method. The 150 children will design their future cities around the themes mobility, food and waste. The highlight of the day will be a live video connection where the children meet each other and exchange their ideas and designs. 

The initiators have struck a chord, given the enormous amount of enthusiastic reactions from children and parents. Nevertheless they are asking for your attention and your help to implement this design thinking and technology based method into education systems. Policy makers, teachers, parents and children are cordially invited to contact Unexpect.

The Designathon is supported by the Doen Foundation, Amsterdam Smart City, Motivaction, FreedomLab, Software Improvement Group, Yoxi and IXDS.  

Quotes
"We vergeten kinderen vaak om hun mening te vragen. Stel ze de vraag: “Wat zou je het liefst veranderen in de wereld, en hoe zou je dat aanpakken?”. Dan roepen ze niet ‘meer speelgoed!’, maar willen ze een 3D printer ontwikkelen om de honger op te lossen, of een zelf-schrijvende pen ontwikkelen voor kinderen met dyslexie. Als je kinderen de juiste vraag stelt, hen de ruimte geeft voor hun fantasie, en ze met een ontwerp-methode en technologie helpt om een oplossing te ontwikkelen, dan kunnen zij ons heel veel leren." Emer Beamer - initiatiefnemer Design-a-thon
Images
About Design-a-thon

Unexpect teaches children to design for a better world and creatively use new technologies.
We do this through workshops, events and designing educational programs.
Our big event coming up is the Global Children's Designathon in November.