Talking Teaching: David Ardley (Video)

The Talking Teaching video series and podcast is a series of conversations between Karl Millsom and other educators from around the world.


In episode 3 of Talking Teaching, Karl spoke with David Ardley.


David is an Assistant Head at his school in Switzerland and has had a long and varied career teaching Design and consulting with schools around the world to develop their design facilities.


We talked about applied learning, the unique characteristics of Design as a subject and the importance of preparing teachers to use ICT effectively.


Here is David on the importance of embracing change and how Design is his 'hoshin'...





Although I was trained by degree to deliver Design (and Technology) Education within Secondary schools, my career to date has allowed me to be involved in whole school development whilst still delivering the subject I love to students who are hopefully inspired by Design and anthropology. That is still my ‘hoshin’ (Japanese term for ‘educational compass’) in terms of where I am headed educationally; inspiring students and colleagues to help develop schools, using appropriate tools and processes, in response to global need and future employ.


Design (and design education) has always been at the core of what I enjoy. Even as a kid I was collecting things (my wife calls it hoarding...) and I was fascinated at the design of things; why was that 45 record yellow vinyl - how did they do that? Why is that Yo-Yo a butterfly hub and that one a core hub? Why do red Kryptonic wheels on my Sims Superply skateboard deck work better than OJ’s on my Taperkick deck? Moving forward I went through Walkmans (Sony) and typewriters (Olivetti) and then became a fanboy of MacDonalds fast food toys in the 70’s, Apple products in the 80’s, Starck, Alessi and Newson products in the 90’s and on to a myriad of products from Nike trainers through to fast food packaging, cars (Lotus/Caterham 7’s) and other things. The psychology of ‘why’ people buy products now interests me—just look at what Supreme have done with everything from Louis-Vuitton luggage through to Superdry hoodies.

Design, and anthropology, should be at the core of any education curriculum in my book as everything else subject-wise radiates off. Design is a subject of application. Everything on the planet (unless it has grown out of the ground or popped out of a human) has been ‘designed’ in some way—a response to human need. A sketched idea that evolves into a product be it a luxury or necessity.

School curricula need designing better—of that there is no doubt. Century-old ideals need revisiting; you do not have to throw the baby out with the bath water, but we (schools) desperately need to revisit our core principles (what subjects do we need to include as core drivers...) and establish what we do with regard to preparing youngsters for the world of work, be that via tertiary study or not.

On the back of this, I have used information and communication technology (ICT) throughout my career in support of subject delivery; as a tool to help hone, develop and support students and teachers in schools. Recent times have seen social media take hold and send forth a tsunami of resources that teachers and schools need to (must?) embrace moving forward, rather than being intimidated or simply focusing on the negatives (all of which are totally valid: cyber bullying, well-being, too much screen time, etc.).

As ever, educating students and adults (parents and teachers) on how and when to use these mobile technologies, and associated accessible content, appropriately and correctly is key. The devices, Wi-Fi or world-wide web themselves are not the issue; how we educate to use them responsibly, appropriately and safely, is.





You can watch the full conversation below. Please don't forget to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE on Youtube if you find it interesting.

If you prefer an audio-only version, you can subscribe to the podcast here.



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