Global Children's Designathon
What is Global Children's Designathon?
Anne Sallaerts, Managing Director
Worldwide there are 2 billion children of school going age. How can we prepare them to prosper in a rapidly changing, increasingly technological and complex world? How can they learn to design a better world for themselves and the planet?
Surprisingly to many adults, when the children are asked what change they would like to see in the world, they don’t ask for more time to play or sweets, in fact they want to cure cancer or remove all plastic from the ocean. To share a few concepts children came up during Global Children's Designathon 2017 on the theme "water": children in Amsterdam came up with a new type of pavement which can filter rain, children in India came up with a cotton net to prevent dumping waste in rivers, children in Clearwater (Florida) came up with a home elevation system would provide a way for a home to rise above the water level in flood prone areas.
The Designathon method combines aspects of Design Thinking and Maker Education, both approaches which are gaining ground in education systems around the world. A designathon is a structured workshop in which children (ages 4 - 12 years) invent, build and present their self-devised solutions to a social or environmental issue around the Sustainable Development Goals. A workshop lasts four to six hours and is facilitated by education professionals. The experience helps children become future ready through learning to design and use technology such as mini-motors and sensors. The method was first developed in the Netherlands and tested during the first Global Children’s Designathon in November 2014.
Our efforts culminate in the annual Global Children’s Designathon. During this one day event, children in the cities around the world come together to work in parallel and design & develop innovative concepts and build prototypes for one of the Sustainable Development Goals. During the day children have contact with each other through a live connection. They present their ideas to each other, and at the end of the day to a panel of experts, and a public audience.
With this event we are highlighting the ability of the children to imagine and design a better future and simultaneously we are calling for changemaker education, globally.
Teachers can use this method in their classrooms and clubs or can join us for the Global Children's Designathon, every year in November.