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How design is empowering the next generation

ThinkPlace Canberra partnered with the ACT Government this year to develop a design thinking curriculum for health promotion this year. This exciting curriculum will be offered in Canberran high schools in 2017.

The curriculum is called It’s Your Move and is a semester long course for Year 9 and 10 students that aims to build the designers and entrepreneurs of the future. The focus of the curriculum is health promotion and students will use design thinking to improve the health of their school and local community.

Supported by our not-for-profit arm, the ThinkPlace Foundation, we worked collaboratively with local teachers, ACT Government Health Improvement Branch, and representatives from the Department of Education and Training, Deakin University and Ernst and Young. The curriculum consists of design thinking toolkit, with content consisting of 20 weeks or 70 hours of lesson plans. Students will learn how to use design thinking to develop their own innovative health improvement projects in their schools.

The projects will be student-driven and based on design user research within their schools. Examples from schools involved in the It’s Your Move pilot include:

  • Active Streets: students scan QR codes as they ride or walk to school and get points (Mount Stromlo High)
  • Street Hero: sun smart behaviours and merchandise (Campbell High School)
  • Project Yum: increasing knowledge of and access to healthy nutritious food through a vegetable garden (Amaroo School)
  • Transformed canteens: Encouraging sit-down eating and socialising through recycled pallet furniture  (Lanyon and Calwell High Schools)

These are fantastic examples of students driving healthy change for other students. We are excited to see what next year’s students will design!

This project is an outstanding example of the ability of design thinking to empower people to make positive change, by giving them the mindset, framework, tools and techniques to understand a complex problem and actively solve it. It’s also an example of how the UN Global Goals for Sustainability Development are being enacted in a local context. For the It’s Your Move curriculum, it achieves:

  • 3 Good health and well being
  • 4 quality education
  • 11 sustainable cities and communities
  • 12 responsible consumption and production

Read more about this fantastic initiative here.

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Kerstin Oberprieler

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