Design Studio Model

  • Design Studio: a summer intensive lasting one to two weeks, forming a collaborative research and development "think tank" focused on a the development of technology-rich long-term projects within a content area such as environmental science.   
  • Mini-Conference: a year-end  gathering to present, share, critique, expand and extend the innovative, R&D work of Design Studio participants.

The following model assumes a project collaboration between districts and central coordinating agency ("Coordinator") organizing, coordinating, and providing services.

Design Studios bring together teachers, technologists, content experts, and students for extended, multi-session workshops on the development of curricular applications of networked multimedia.   Each Studio includes a series of lecturers to provide substantive content, mixed with time for hands-on work with computers.

Teachers find Studios most successful when content-based development strategies are the primary focus, along with best practices for employing collaborative technologies for researching and designing learning activities together. What participants  learn to do in a Design Studio they can then more effectively model and support in a 1:1 environment back at school.

Design Studio activities include:

  1. Presentations by content experts (university historians and those affiliated with the digital archive which serves as the project focus);
  2. Demonstrations by instructional technologists (staff who collaborate with teachers on a wide array of projects across disciplines);
  3. Roundtable discussions (of issues inspired by presentations and demonstrations, or arising from the work at hand);
  4. Work periods (where faculty explore communication and presentation tools, finding resources on the Internet and incorporating these into the first drafts of their curriculum additions and project activity plans for the upcoming year); and
  5. Group Sharing (where work groups share their discoveries and evolving plans, developing the collegial relationships that will be sustained during the upcoming year).

Beyond the two-week intensive, a Design Studio initiates an annual "action research" cycle of development, implementation, documentation, evaluation and mini-conference sharing, with technical assistance provided throughout as-needed.


Design Studios are not "standalone events", but the result of a commitment to an annual cycle of project research, development, implementation and evaluation.  What happens BEFORE the Design Studio matters almost as much as what happens AFTER.  

The capacity of the Design Studio to inspire exploration and experimentation is due to its intense concentration of resources, both human and electronic, and the ease and informality of the work space during the two-week period. To maintain some of this collaborative design culture after the end of the intensive, the activity and energy of Studio work groups are sustained online through collaboration and project management technologies like GoToMeeting, Google Applications and Basecamp. Below is a diagram of the stages of a Studio Cycle.

For more information, consult the attached PDF.

NOTE: The Teachers College Institute for Learning Technologies first developed the Design Studio model to implement, according to constructivist principles, real-world projects using multimedia and network technologies to enable sophisticated learning environments, and to sponsor exploratory development and participatory design efforts to discover and document the potential of emerging technologies to transform public education.

DesignStudioModel.pdf209.96 KB

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