Yesterday afternoon, FastCo.Design posted an awesome writeup about our project (thanks Mark and Debbe) and our mission to bring creativity and problem solving confidence to kids across America. I’d like to share a bit more about what we’re trying to with this trip and how you might be able to help out. Together, let’s spark a movement to bring more creative exploration to kids.
When we first started this project a few months ago at the Stanford d.school, we didn’t know too much about how the education system worked. All we knew was that while the standardized system of learning worked well for some students, many other kids (and teachers) found rigid standards and the mentality of “teaching to the test” to be uninspiring and not so fun. Worse still, after spending a couple months hanging out at schools, we found that this top-down, “check these boxes” learning system had conditioned kids to fear being “wrong,” and created an environment of learned helplessness.
We want to help change that. As we mentioned in the FastCo piece:
We want to make sure that fun, open-ended opportunities are made available to kids as they move through school and life because this is what helps kids get over their fear of failure and grow confidence in their abilities to be creative and work through tough problems.
So how can you help?
We’ve realized that in order to have more of a sustained impact, this summer road trip need to just be the beginning of a concerted effort to get these experiences and ideas to more communities. To that end, we’re looking for ways to continue SparkTruck past this summer as a recurring project.
Our dream is to put together the partnerships and funding needed for future batches of young people to put together a truck and hit up all the communities we can’t make it to this summer (We’ve got a backlog of 142 communities and counting…)
We also know that in order to convince policymakers and other higher-ups to continue supporting our project and creative exploration in schools, we’ll need to do more than only take cute pictures and blog about our travels. We also need to collect some “hard” data that makes the quantitative case for the impact of these kinds of experiences.
Despite our best efforts (see pg. 8 of our info packet) we’re definitely not data collection experts, but perhaps some of you are. If so, we’d love to work with you to build a case for more exploratory experiences in education. Like our friend Jonah Lehrer reminded us in a panel at Aspen Ideas Fest, it’s on us to make the case for creative education to policymakers.
At the same time we’re also looking to partner with companies or organizations that can help us build the physical and financial infrastructure to make the SparkTruck a continuing project. We’d also love to start conversations with educational policymakers and influencers on how else we can help bring these much-needed experiences to more kids. If you or someone you know can help, we’d love to hear from you.
Let’s spark a movement, and keep the SparkTruck rolling!