TED Conversations

Rachel Lehmann-Haupt

Senior Editor, TED Books, TED Books


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How can design-driven and vocational education improve our schools and communities? Join our live Q&A on Feb 5th at 3PM

In 2009, author and TED speaker Emily Pilloton moved to Bertie County, North Carolina — the poorest county in the state with a population of just 20,000. There she and her partner Matthew Miller launched Studio H, a design/build program aimed to inspire creativity in high school kids.

Through the eyes of her students, Pilloton tells the story of the group’s hopes, failures, triumphs, and the power of design-driven education. According to Pilloton, we can dramatically revamp vocational education and build the change we wish to see in the world. Ultimately her students were given the key to the city by their mayor for initiating, designing, and building three public chicken coops and a 2000-square-foot public farmer’s market.

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Author and TED Speaker Emily Pilloton will be joining us for a one-hour live conversation on TUESDAY, FEB 5th at 12PM PST/3PM EST. Mark your calendars!


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    Feb 5 2013: Vocational education has historically been, as it name would imply, about vocation. It's about skills that lead to employment. Design is about skills, but also about learning how to think and create. If vocational education is learning carpentry skills so you can build a birdhouse, design-based education (like Studio H) is surveying the local birds, thinking about their habitats, designing a birdhouse that will best accommodate their habitats, learning an array of skills (maybe carpentry, but maybe also welding or 3d-design, CNC and laser-cut fabrication) to build it, and then putting it out into the world for that local bird to use, and for people to learn about it.

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