Designing for 21st Century Learning, Summer Design Workshop July 2011


cocreate logoWhat’s this all about?

This is the second of two design workshops taking place in Bridge21 this summer. The workshop is a collaboration between Bridge21 and TFE Research & Design in NCAD. Secondary school students from around Dublin will take part in the workshop, which will run from Monday 11th July to Thursday 14th July in Oriel House.

During the four day workshop the participants will be given the challenge to “Design for 21st Century Learning”. To do this they will work closely together analysing current practices in school design, identifying potential areas for re-design, understanding 21st Century Learning, creating concepts, building prototypes and delivering final solutions. Throughout the workshop, the students will be working in teams and will present, discuss, evaluate and critique research, ideas and prototypes.

The workshops will give the students the opportunity to learn and practice the art of design while contributing to a real world project. Most of all we hope that the students will have fun while learning new skills!

Who’s involved?

A group of twenty-four 4th and 5th year secondary school students from schools around Dublin will participate in the workshop. The workshop is a collaborative initiative between Bridge21 and TFE Research & Design, an EU funded multidisciplinary research and design group, engaged in creating innovative design solutions for learning environments. The workshop will be lead by Emma Creighton, PhD Researcher in NCAD with TFE and Kevin Sullivan, Programme Coordinator with Bridge21. Throughout the four days there will be input from John and Claire of Bridge21 and also from Bridge21 mentors.

Why is this happening?

The workshop aims:
– To give students an understanding of 21st Century skills and learning
– To give students the opportunity to learn and practice key skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication and problem solving
– To give students the opportunity to engage in solving real world problems through design
– To emphasise the importance of collaboration in learning
– To give students the opportunity to learn and practice the art of design
– To actively involve real users, the young people, in the design process
– To provide inspiration for the design of 21st Century learning spaces
– To provide inspiration for the design and integration of ICT in education
– To highlight the importance of design and design thinking in the planning and creation of learning environments
– To emphasise the importance of working with potential users during the design process
– To explore Design Thinking as a 21st Century Pedagogy

The Design Challenge

On the first day of the workshop the students will be given the challenge “How might we design for 21st Century Learning?” To begin the group will be given an introduction to the aim of the workshop, the methodologies of the design process that they will be learning during the workshop, and the importance of their participation in the design process.

To establish the context for their design projects the students will analyse and discuss current learning spaces, the use ICT in education, and they will also be challenged to work in groups on self-directed projects to research, understand, present and discuss 21st Century Learning.

The students will then work in teams brainstorming and generating ideas in the areas of space, furniture and technology. For the remainder of the workshop the teams will work on developing their ideas, creating and evaluating prototypes, and delivering final solutions.


Day 1 Monday 11th July:
Welcome, Introduction to workshop & Icebreaker activity
Introduction to design & the design process
Team forming & Icebreaker activity
Present design challenge
Brainstorm, sketch & discuss school, current learning spaces & technology
Brainstorm, research & understanding of 21st Century Learning skills
Presentations of research & understanding

Day 2 Tuesday 12th July:
Welcome & Review
Group discussion of 21st Century Skills, Learning styles, The need for change & The potential of design
Analysing brainstorms from Day 1, Identifying problems & opportunities
Brainstorming learning spaces, furniture & technology
Analysing brainstorms, Dot-voting & Defining team design challenges
Presentation of team design challenges

Day 3 Wednesday 13th July:
Welcome & Review
Ideation, Evaluation, Development
Prototyping, Evaluation, Iteration
Presentation of projects so far

Day 4 Thursday 14th July:
Welcome & Review
Continue prototyping
Final preparations
Final presentation

Follow along or get involved!

We’d love you to follow along or get involved virtually using any of the following social media. Or if you would like to visit Oriel House to see the workshop in action get in touch!



Get in touch!

If you have any questions, comments or would like to come along to the workshop, please contact Emma Creighton at or via twitter @cocreate_design

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