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And We’re Off! Transition Year at Coláiste na Sceilge


We’ve had a busy summer preparing our programme for the Transition Year students at Coláiste na Sceilge. At the start of September, we met the three classes we will be working with and were delighted to get started. We are focussed on integrating inclusive design into our programme; to meet SDG 4- Quality Education. Here is a little about our first two weeks with the students.


Getting To Know You

Icebreaker activities are fantastic for building connections and trust amongst all participants in a group so we thought it was very important to start our programme off with these. We wanted the students to see from the get-go that they will be working in different ways and using alternative methodologies than perhaps they see in their other lessons, so we planned three tasks for them to complete.


The first, was a Find Someone Who task that required students to individually mingle and discover different pieces of information about their peers. The task was designed in such a way that we were able to get valuable snippets of knowledge about our students’ skills, interests and motivations that we would be able to capitalise on in future planning sessions. Further, the task was also to begin to develop skills that we would use later in the term within a SDG scavenger hunt in Cahersiveen. Observation, understanding a situation or problem and its available resources requires asking questions and gathering information; key skills required for design thinking as well as the steps within the pCr framework underpinning the CoDesRes project.


The second task asked students to work in pairs on a Lead and Be Led activity. We wanted them to see the value and responsibility that lies not only with the leader, but with the person being led. The sense of agency that each role has is one that we want students to recognise throughout the year with us, as we collaborate on projects.


The final group challenge was for students to employ some design-thinking by attempting to Build The Tallest Tower, with only a few key ingredients; uncooked spaghetti, a marshmallow and some string. It was a good insight into how the groups collaborated with each other, who took on leader roles, and what methodologies they used to design and build their towers. This task also introduced a creative thinking and design-led approach to problem-solving something that our current education system is weak on despite being increasingly cited as necessary by industry, employers and those considering future scenarios.


Observation Mapping


Developing observation skills will be important to the STEAM-led projects and challenges we have planned over the next academic year and is the first step in the pCr methodology. We want students to fine-tune their attention skills towards alternative ways of learning, develop an awareness of sensory engagement and the importance of observation in design-thinking and problem-solving.


Week Two of Transition Year saw us completing visual and audio observation maps on the beach; integrating two of our SDGs- Life Below Water and Life On Land. Students were facilitated in orienteering themselves North, South, East, and West; and at each point, spent a timed portion of the lesson drawing or mind mapping what they observed visually. It’s amazing the amount of things we don’t notice unless we are really looking! Students then completed the same task in one direction, mapping what they could hear. We had a great discussion about what possible far-off sounds could be.



We are looking forward to building on these skills as the year progresses and are actively working with our Transition Year classes to develop them as co-designers and peer educators.


What a great introduction to our programme at Coláiste na Sceilge, with three wonderful

Transition Year classes to work with. We have a lot of exciting projects coming up, so watch this space!


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CoDesRes: Co-designing for rural Resilience through P2P networks and STEAM place-based learning interventions. The CoDesRes researchers are part of SMARTlab UCD  and the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland. 

 

This research project is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the statutory function of co-ordinating and promoting environmental research.

 

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