Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Design and Creative Education

(This guest post was written by Rupa Chaturvedi, Founder and CEO of Raaya Design. Rupa has worked in the Education, Technology and Product Engineering domains for the past 15 years. Rupa is also President of the Raaya Foundation and founder of social-impact programs such as “Adopt a Community” to aid rural artists and “Gurukool” India’s first interactive learning center.)

It is inspiring to see movies with messages for the society-at-large, especially from Bollywood – the world’s biggest hub for “masala movies”. I am thankful that 3 idiots was not yet another attempt at capitalizing dark socio-economic issues as most movies on India tend to be. Which is why it may never quality for an Oscar!

Our education system sucks. We all know that but remain enthusiastic about putting our children through the same mundane system for the best years of their life. Grades matter the most and learning doesn’t. Education is about memorizing text and answers rather than understanding underlying logic and applying it. Art and creativity are for children who can’t afford systemic education. I got defeated too in my own battle to pursue a creative career! “Design? What is that?!!!”

But it is encouraging to see media initiatives that are trying to change the way society thinks. 3 idiots is a brilliant attempt in helping parents and educators understand that a change is required in the way children (and adults) are taught. I remember watching a similar movie from Bollywood on educating and accepting Dyslexic children in society. The impact experiential and engagement-based learning can have on children’s education cannot be underestimated.

Another cool movie was from my favorite studio Pixar called “UP”. The sheer idea of floating a house on balloons is so brilliant and fun. My two year old started experimenting with objects of different weights that could floated by balloons. Somehow I think this story originated in a child’s mind. And what a wonderful mind it must be… can such creativity and thinking be taught? I think animation should become a core subject in school curriculum. Isn’t it a great platform for expressing imagination?

If you have been following TED India you have probably read about the Riverside school founded by Kiran Bir Sethi and her innovative teaching structure. What fascinates me the most is the influence of design on her work and thinking. You can watch the video here.

Raaya Design has launched the design of India’s first interactive center, Our project is a manifestation of our desires to learn and teach through contextual engagement and hands-on experience. We are designing and building exhibits and learning tools that will help children from all walks of society learn without language barriers. Gurukool will house an art and music classroom along with a environment sciences and technology lab.

All volunteers are welcome!

Image Source : TheNickster

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