SuoMu, the Finnish Association of Design Learning, promotes the use of design education in different teaching platforms, leisure activities, and among the general public.
Design learning in both the primary and advanced level highlights the prevalence of design in all its aspects of our everyday life and makes the processes of design itself visible.
SuoMu works in co-operation with various educational and cultural actors. It is an association that produces contents, such as design workshops and lectures for schools and different cultural events.
In 2012, they launched a project called ‘MUTKU – Design learning for elementary school’, which became a design education guide book for primary school teachers in 2014, year of its publication.
MUTKU’s design learning concepts are basically four:
- Observe and explore
- Develop ideas and prototypes
- Review the process and share results
The book can also be used as inspirational tool to learn more on design education in clubs or other activities, so not just at school.
In Finland, the reaction to the project has been great and interlocutors have shown a high interest in design education.
During the Helsinki Design Week, 2015, Mutku guide books were distributed to all elementary schools in Helsinki with the support of Helsinki City Education Department.
A pilot project with Helsinki based Arabia elementary school´s teachers started in the same year, with the aim of renewing teaching practices throughout the curriculum.
The result, in 2017, is that Finnish Schools are adjusting their new curriculum and design learning is taking a bigger step in learning.
In the events of SuoMu’s Touring Design School one can step into the shoes of a designer and go through the whole design process with SuoMu’s facilitators, in various subjects.
SuoMu’s Design Ambassadors tour to primary schools spread inspiration and information about design and creative learning.
For instance, a lesson on packaging design can be used in a math or language class.
It would include:
- Introduction to design, how you can effect on your surroundings with design
- Phenomenal based learning, using design process as a learning method
- Transversal competence, using design process as a learning method
A wide approach which definitely stimulates the problem solving attitude of children, bringing them to a new dimension where learning is playful and more appropriate to the way a child learns: interacting with people and things in a dynamic way.
With design learning you can develop processes, products and services, and students have an active role in it!
Children and families together will get a chance to test the methods of design learning.