An educational toolkit for the 21st century classroom
Creativity is the #1 leadership trait of the future.* yet the current educational system has not been set up to instill creativity in students.
*IBM Poll of 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries interviewed in 2010.
Challenge – building an educational toolkit for the modern classroom
In 2013, No Right Brain Left Behind and Green Dot Public Schools launched an award-winning project to infuse creativity into education, starting with libraries. We teamed up to create a set of learning tools to grow our common vision: keep kids creative, and equip them with the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly tech-driven, collaborative and interconnected world. We call it the SMRTKT. It’s an educational toolkit that reimagines how students interact with technology through collaboration, play and discovery.
Process – going back to school
Working alongside kids and teachers from diverse backgrounds – from South Central Los Angeles to Santa Monica — we gave students prototypes and preliminary concepts, incorporated their thoughts, and brought back refined versions for more feedback. Meanwhile, facilitating a series of cross-disciplinary workshops, including teachers & administrators, we began to understand the challenges of incorporating new technology in education.
Insights – understanding the education ecosystem
We learned as much from the kids as the adults. Students engage in learning differently when problem-solving with limited time as a team: enthusiasm and creative thinking takes the lead. However, time constraints, limitations and regulations become a real impediment to new ways of learning. We discovered that tech barriers are not age-discriminatory. Room and resources to experiment in schools can be scarce commodities. We needed a solution that met the needs of everyone in the ecosystem – making the job of both the teacher and the student more intuitive, satisfying, and effective.
Results – unpacking technology to learn by doing
We created a collection of tools that redefines how students interact with computers, by emphasizing movement, collaboration and technological literacy. Each tool in the SMRTKT is a building block of the technology we encounter every day, in our smartphones and beyond. With technology out from behind the curtain, students gain a familiarity with what drives the world, and how to use it.
Meanwhile, the SMRTKT experience enables teams to solve problems, demonstrating curricula by taking it off the screen, off the page, and into the hands of young learners.