San Francisco State University
Industrial Design Outreach
Thurgood Marshall High School
Industrial Design Outreach
A curriculum founded as a direct response to the lack of design course offerings in San Francisco’s underserved high schools, iDO presents a compelling model for a teaching mindset for industrial design. iDO surfaces the value of iterative problem-solving, the inspiration of making and an overall tangible and approachable set of methods that reveal how design education can play a part in high school education and build up vocational and college skills.
Industrial Design Outreach
The Industrial Design Outreach (iDo) program is an educational enrichment program. iDo was founded in 2003 as a direct response to the lack of design course offerings in public high school curriculum in San Francisco. iDo introduces underserved public high school students to industrial design, computer software tools, and traditional and modern manufacturing systems. These experiences foster curiosity, promote creativity, build self-confidence, and allow them to develop valuable vocational and college skills. San Francisco State University (SF State) students act as mentors, developing and delivering hands-on interdisciplinary design projects to the teenagers.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
iDo was founded as a direct response to the lack of design course offerings in public high school curriculum in San Francisco. Most high school students in the city have not been exposed to design, given the specialized nature of the field and statewide cuts in education that have dramatically decreased the number of arts offerings in public schools. Consequently, most students are unaware of potential careers in design. Furthermore, even for those students with a familiarity and interest in design, most lack the knowledge and resources to create a portfolio, which is one of the essential requirements for art school admission.
iDo is an intensive program that currently serves 30 high school participants at one high school site each semester. (age ranges 16-18) through its outreach program at local high schools. iDo began working at Thurgood Marshall in conjunction with efforts to reinvigorate the school in Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood and reach a greater number of ethnically diverse, low-income students. In the 2011 school year, 28% of all students were African American, 24% Asian, 0.6% American Indian, 4% Filipino, 16% Hispanic, 25% Pacific Islander, and 1% Caucasian. Additionally, 63% of Thurgood Marshall High School students came from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, 37% were English Language Learners, and 16% were students with disabilities.
In 2011, there were up to 60 college volunteer student mentors. iDo provided over 9,000 hours of community service to the program during this period.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
iDo values are to deliver engaging experiences to some of the most difficult urban high school students. We will work with anyone, often students with learning and behavioral issues. Or belief is that anyone can learn, and that all have the propensity to be creative thinkers. We are committed to give our utmost, to each student, whether they have good attendance records or not. Some of our students live alone and work to sustain rent and food. Within this paradigm, we have had to re-engineer our program to cater to and help those succeed within this difficult human condition.
We also believe learning should be joyful. This is somewhat challenging to deliver within a disciplined focused high school. We have, however, over the years developed methods to achieve this. One such method is to keep university mentors with the same table of four students throughout the year. This provides deep connections between mentors and students, leading to trust, respect, improved behavioral conditions, resulting in joyful learning.
iDo is a completly self supported organization. iDo receives funding from private donors whom believe in the organizations mission and leadership. iDo budget is approximately 43,000 per year.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The two leaning projects in 2011 included the Moment in Time project and the Community Bench Project. Both projects took 1.5 years to develop, test, procure equipment and materials.iDo meets on Thursdays 12:00 to 2:00 PM 48 weeks a year. Summer is the primary planning period, with the fall, winter, and spring as the in-class delivery periods. We are in the high school classroom five days a week. Class sessions are 1 to 1.5 hours each. We are also in the classroom before and after each class for planning and set up.
iDo has a university student executive team composed of a student director, director of research, marketing, and curriculum development. This structure provides excellent leadership and organizational skills to the participants.
The Moment in Time project addressed both history and design. The students were asked to approach the project as a conceptual and functional problem, and resolve the problem within an innovative design solution. Students were given the opportunity to translate forms of nature into a three dimensional wall clock products. During the project, the high school students investigated natural forms, all the while designing, writing, ideating, sketching, experimenting, prototyping, strategizing, and solving many engineering problems. They prototyped numerous concepts in cardboard, developed their own visual language, and transferred the language into a clock construct. In order for students to safely manufacture the pieces of acrylic plastics, iDo mentors trained them in power tools. The teenagers had no knowledge of abstraction, and were completely unfamiliar with methods in innovative thinking. Most had never used an X-acto knife let alone power tools. Cutting and gluing acrylic is particularly difficult for anyone. A Moment in Time project was the strongest creative problem solving experience and the highest level of design and manufacturing complexity that iDo has delivered. And because of this, the teenagers delivered some of the most innovative solutions and highly crafted products in iDo’s history.
The iDo Community Bench project introduced the high school students to the design and fabrication of a bench to be diplayed at the SF De Young Museum and placed on permanent display at the new SF State Library. This product incorporated ergonomic, symbolic, and manufacturing considerations. Portions of the bench were manufactured with the Design and Industry Departments computer numeric control manufacturing system, allowing high school students the opportunity to witness advanced technology in the realization of their design. iDo provided a CNC laser in the high school iDo Design Lab, in which each high school student were trained in illustrator and CNC laser machine control technology, allowing each student to personally laser manufacturer their parts.
In support of all the projects, iDo wrote a series of lectures and demonstrations. The lectures included lessons on history, society, mathematics and science in design, renewable energy, ideation techniques, research methods, art, design, architecture and fashion as influences, Adobe Illustrator training, cnc manufacturing, construction techniques, assembly methods, safe use of hand and power tools, writing within the discipline, and critique techniques.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
iDo re-engages disfranchised students within their high school. Many of our students commit to the program as they ignore other course work.
We have gained data on high school participants and graduation rates.
In the 2011 iDo high school participant exit survey, students responded to a series of questions. They were given a pre and post iDo survey. The following data reflects 24 respondents. Of the survey data collected, when asked about the iDo’s effectiveness, 100% of respondents thought the class made them greatly or somewhat more creative, 75% thought the teachings of design methodologies improved their ability to perform in other academic subjects, and 66.7% thought the design class improved their interest in other academic subjects. When asked about their thoughts of iDo in general, 95.2% indicated that the iDo mentors were very helpful during the development of their project, 85.5% indicated that they would like to participate in another similar experience, and iDo had a 100% overall approval rating.
In 2011 100 percent of graduating seniors graduated high school. We also know that many go to college and are now seeing some of them at SFSU and in the Design and Industry Department (DAI). Those in the DAI program are now joining iDo, completing the full cycle from teenage participant to university mentor. Further, the iDo university mentors have received awards for their work in iDo, graduated to exciting professional design positions, teaching certification, and participation in nonprofit organizations.6. Describe the overall philosophy that drove the design brief, research methodologies, tools and outcomes (e.g. self-defined or client-defined briefs, participatory briefs, process outcomes or artifacts outcomes, etc.).
iDo developed and delivered the Design Academy at Thurgood Marshall High School. The participant cohort from the first semester entered an intermediary level design class in the spring semester. This allowed for a more advanced understanding of design methodologies, the use of sophisticated technology, and deeper integration of the iDo program with participants’ studies in science, history, and literature. This allowed for more advanced understanding of design methodologies, the use of sophisticated technology, and deeper integration of the iDo program with participants’ studies in science, history, and literature. At the end of the Academy, participants have
• Learned design fundamentals including research, brainstorming, sketching, model making, traditional manufacturing tools, and critique
• Use of computer aided design drawing and computer numeric controlled laser technology
• Apply ergonomics to product solutions
• Created an independent design project of their choosing
• Developed a portfolio for application to design colleges and universities
Once the two-semester program is complete, selective high school students will participate in an internship at a design or manufacturing company. The iDo Design Academy curriculum is also be structured for UC credit certification and aims to create a stronger educational pathway from high school to college.7. How did the project, program or curriculum improve the students’ learning objectives, the institution’s overall learning and teaching and/or beneficial impact to outside community or industry partner?
How do you measure students personal growth in increased curiosity, development of their creative thinking, enhanced their self confidence? How do you place value on a student who does work that commemorates his murdered brother? How do you quantitatively measure a student whom honors her cancer ridden aunt within in a clock design? How do you quantify the deep connections between the high school students and the college mentors, whom provide a forum of support that go beyond the designed learning outcomes. How do you place value on a program which has Chinese and Spanish, speakers, allowing them to communicate directly to recently immigrated high school students. How do you place value in the joy on their faces as they discover their own potential to be creative? How do you assess the teaching of integrated science, literature and design curriculum? How do you assess project based learning that is not designed for test taking?
Here are some iDo high school student quotes for your consideration:
“Mentors just get us and so they can totally relate to us.”
“Mentors just get us and so they can totally relate to us.”
“You can express yourself in so many different and fun ways in this project.”
“So pretty! And it’s mine!”
“I love how everyone’s design in the classroom expresses their personalities.”
“I would say the design is actually one of my best efforts in this class. And I am proud of it.”