April 10, 2015

Learning by Collaborative Design

Written by
Students from Emily Carr and Kenneth Gordon working together on a collaborative musical instrument.

 

For Immediate Release

LEARNING BY COLLABORATIVE DESIGN
Emily Carr University and Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School team up to create new ways of learning

Vancouver, CAN, April 10, 2015  | Three learning communities – Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Kenneth Gordon Maplewood Elementary and Maplewood Alternative High School  are celebrating five years of collaboration resulting in new approaches to teaching children with learning differences.

On April 15, 2015, Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School, an independent school on Vancouver’s North Shore dedicated to students with learning differences, will host a Design Fair showcasing innovative past and continuing projects created by students from KGMS and Emily Carr.

In 2010, KGMS teacher Marie Watler and her fellow faculty were seeking new methods of teaching and approached Assistant Professor, Hélène Day Fraser of Emily Carr University’s Health Design Lab resulting in this ongoing partnership.

The first project paired Hélène Day Fraser’s second year design students with KGMS grade 7 students to develop learning tools through the power of co-creative research in design. Emily Carr students began to create projects that implemented design theory but the partnership ignited unforeseen approaches to creativity for both sets of students. Notably, KGMS students began to understand their unique learning styles could easily and positively be applied to creative thinking.

“The projects have been an incredible jumping off point for the design students to tap into visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic cues that their KGMS co-creative partners use to synthesize and process information” said Hélène Day Fraser, Associate Professor, Emily Carr. “Students from Emily Carr have had the good fortune of honing their conventional design skills while learning to access key creative insight from the KGMS students, who will likely become future creatives and designers.”

“The partnership with Emily Carr has allowed our teachers to engage their students in ways that acknowledge their ideas and potential that have too often not been recognized,” said Neil Pinkerton, Director of Outreach KGMS. “Having their ideas validated and embraced, no matter how ‘out of the box,’ has been incredibly empowering and encouraging for our students.”

For the last five years, Emily Carr and KGMS students have worked on a total of seven projects, with exciting outcomes ranging from developing a gamified app to aid young dyslexic children; “fidget” tools for children with attention issues and a musical instrument that encourages collaboration.

May 6, 2016 Update:  Read about the April 15, 2015 Design Fair in the North Shore News.

For more information about the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr, visit http://research.ecuad.ca/healthdesignlab/ and for additional information about Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School, visit http://kgms.ca.

About Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Emily Carr University of Art + Design, established in 1925, is a world leader in education and research. Encouraging experimentation at the intersection of art, design, media and technology, our learning community merges research, critical theory and studio practice in an interdisciplinary environment. Alumni and faculty are internationally recognized as award-winning creators and thought leaders who have enormous impact on both the cultural sector and economy. We engage students, industry, and society to continuously explore and think differently about creativity and how it shapes our world.  Emily Carr is building a state-of-the art campus for 21st century learning at Great Northern Way. The University will be at the centre of a new social, cultural, educational, and economic engine for British Columbia. Find out more at ecuad.ca.

About the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

The Health Design Lab at Emily Carr is committed to providing design opportunities to students and faculty through collaborative partnerships that apply solution-focused, human-centered research methodologies to complex problems in healthcare.

Healthcare has been a consistent research theme for 20 years at Emily Carr. The work started with a class of undergraduate students working with clients at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, which continues to be a yearly event to this day. Hundreds of solutions have been co-designed with partners over the years, ranging from assistive devices and communication tools, mobile platforms and wheel chair designs, to recommendations for structural and systemic changes.

Most recently we have partnered with several BC Health Authorities, which has led to the design and implementation of interactive hand sanitizers, conceptualizations of mobile apps for nursing shift hand-overs, and many ideas to boost patient engagement. Other projects include designing and prototyping an ambulatory cart for Providence Health Care. Our work has been supported by several companies including Stantec, the IBI group and Guard RFID.

We are grateful for the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and for the strategic support of Emily Carr, in focusing on the important problems and opportunities in the healthcare sector.

About Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School

Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School is a centre of excellence in developmentally informed instruction that empowers children with learning disabilities in a passionate, progressive and inspiring learning environment. Located in North Vancouver, KGMS is in its 42nd year of dedicated service to the unique and diverse learning needs of its students.

For additional information, contact:

Sue Lavitt, Media Relations & Communications Manager
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
slavitt@ecuad.ca| 604.844.3078

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