The Global Children’s Designathon, that took place on November 11th 2017, is the backbone of the Global Voices of the Next Generation on Water Report. During this event more than 600 children aged 7 to 12 years, participated in 18 cities around the world, where they created solutions to this year’s big societal and environmental issue: WATER.
The Global Children’s Designathon provides a channel for two way inspiration: the children get to tackle the world’s biggest problems and adults can gain a unique view of what the next generation envisions around water issues. The solutions they came up with are amazing and informed by their context. This report shows that children care for our planet, are aware of water-related issues, believe these issues are pressing, and offer concrete solutions to solve them.
The Designathon Clearwater 2017 was the first time a U.S. location hosted a Global Children’s Designathon. The successful event had 27 students ages 7-12 from the local community participate for the first time at the Saint Paul’s Fab Lab in Clearwater. There were 14 girls and 13 boys. The event was significant because of it’s connection with the global Designathon Works community, with Clearwater joining 17 key cities hosting the 3rd annual event.
This year’s theme was water, with students choosing from four major global water challenges to design a solution for. The designathon process is a design thinking method developed for children to empower and unleash their creativity to design a better world using new technologies.
Students worked in teams to ideate and sketch their inventions. Using supplied materials and the resources of Saint Paul’s Fab Lab, students created prototypes of their ideas. After the models were complete, they were presented to the group and the panel of experts for consideration and review. The designs were excellent, with some some very original and feasible solutions.
The Designathon Works organizers will be presenting a report to the Global Future Councils of the World Economic Forum summarizing the Global Children’s Designathon. The Designathon Works organizers did a fabulous job of supporting the event and helped make the first time go smoothly. Parent support was excellent and the students had a fun time. We look forward to hosting the event again next year.
On November 11th, Saint Paul’s School in Clearwater will be joining cities like London, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Nairobi, Amsterdam and Vancouver, as a host for the 3rd Annual Global Children’s Designathon.
Every year in November, Designathon Works organizes a worldwide event during which children in different cities around the world work in parallel with the Designathon methodology to find solutions for societal or environmental issues.
Saint Paul’s was selected as a host because of our curriculum, Fab Lab resources, and dedicated educators for Design Thinking and Maker Education.
The Designathon methodology combines aspects of Design Thinking and Maker Education, both approaches which are gaining ground in education systems around the world, and uses them to work around societal and environmental issues such as mobility, water, food, waste and circular economy. Students from 7 to 12 years old develop solutions to major social problems and through this process the new generation of changemakers is cultivated.
The students will work with the steps of the Designathon process: inspire, research, ideate, sketch, make and present. During the process, children from different cities will communicate their ideas with each other through live video exchange. They will be guided by our Fab Lab Director Paul Haberstroh, and other designers, makers, and education professionals. At the end of the day students will present their inventions to the panel of experts that will give them feedback, and will announce four inventions that excel in categories like: empathy, execution, short term implementation, and long term implementation.
Fabrication capabilities include: 3D Printing and modeling, laser cutting and engraving, CNC machining and milling. Electronic capabilities include: circuit production and rapid prototyping, oscilloscope, waveform generation, bench testing, soldering and rework. Dedicated woodworking area. Extensive Makerspace with comprehensive making capabilities. Inventory of new, recycled, and repurposed electronics and supplies. Cross Platform software including industry level graphics, CAD/3D, prototyping, and productivity apps. Mac and PC desktops, 20 MacBook Airs. Library of books and publications on electronics, making, and technology.
By having a Fab Lab in an independent school, we are very fortunate to have many resources to share with the global and local community. As part of our offerings, we will have classes in prototyping and fabrication, 3D Printing and modeling, robotics, and more. On April 1st, we are having an “Engineering Day”, where we are opening the facility to the local community for lessons and demonstrations. We will hold many similar events throughout the year. Our summer camps are open to all students.
Our staff of educators is well networked locally and globally. Our Fab Lab DirectorPaul Haberstroh, has networked with hundreds of educators at the FETC and ISTE Conferences, sharing resources and ideas. In 2015 he conducted workshops on developing a makerspace at the CTEC Conference. Saint Paul’s School has many successful alumni in the technology field that contribute time and materials to the lab, as well as conduct guest lectures.
The blog will be updated with ongoing projects and ideas from the lab. It already does well in Google search results when “Fab Lab Clearwater” is used as a search term, allowing local people to find us.