Teachers get into Interaction project
Teachers from East Ayrshire's nine academies went back to the drawing board recently to prepare for the launch of an exciting new education initiative in August.
Staff attended a day of discussion and training at Glasgow School of Art to set out each individual school's plans for the INTERACTION initiative and to meet mentors who will assist with the project. The teachers also undertook a mini hands-on design task as part of their day.
The INTERACTION project is the idea of David Ross, Keppie Design Director and local architect, working closely with the Council's Education Department.
The initiative builds on the recent successes of the Council's Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), which was designed to make school leavers more ready for the world of work by developing entrepreneurial skills and attitudes.
INTERACTION calls for pupils to identify and respond to specific needs in their own school, leading to the design and construction of built structures or objects.
S3 pupils will undertake the project and will be mentored by S5/6 pupils. Glasgow School of Art students will also work with the youngsters - and at least one design student will be assigned to each East Ayrshire secondary school.
Central to the proposal is a problem-based learning philosophy which will see young people collaborating with local businesses and education partners such as Kilmarnock College and Glasgow School of Art.
The whole process will be facilitated by Glasgow-based consultancy Stone Opera, which specializes in connecting people with their built environment and surrounding landscape, working also with Glasgow University's Widening Participation Group.
It is suggested that there would be an inter-School competitive element to the process, with prizes on offer for best structure, best business plan and best idea.
David Ross said: "Schools participating in the project will be asked to design, construct and locate a moveable structure from which to sell a product for a period of a month at the end of the process.
"This should involve a number of departments in the school working on the problem simultaneously. We would hope that the art, craft, technical, business & IT would form the core of the teams for this exercise".
Councillor Iain Linton, Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning, said: "This initiative is in the early stages but has all the hallmarks of a unique and innovative project which will enhance what is already on offer in the curriculum, by giving students the opportunity to work with professionals and experts in their fields".
This article appeared in Cumnock Chronicle 25 Jul 12