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Learning Activity: Make, Disrupt, Innovate a Pedagogy of Advocacy

Here is one for instructors, faculty, and program administrators. Julie Schell (2018), Executive Director ofExecutive Education in the School ofDesign and Creative Technologies in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, has made an important observation about design thinking pedagogy':

Design thinking educators realize that one cannot effectively teach a novice to use human-centered design to solve vexing work or social problems using an accelerated pedagogical model. Teaching and learning design thinking in a way that results in impact requires slowing down the learning, taking time to unfold the layers of what it means to be human-centered and pay attention to the innate dignity of human beings.


Indeed, we are in many ways working in silos when teaching design thinking, and that makes it challenging to create real impact through our pedagogy' within the conventional curricular structures. If you had the opportunity to reimagine academic programs and higher education, what would your responses to the following questions be?

Making to Advocate

  • • What management systems, collaboration technologies, and networking platforms can we build to facilitate community engagement with advocacy work?
  • • How can community partners provide leadership in our making of these technologies?
  • • What resources would we need to mobilize such efforts?

Disrupting to Advocate

  • • What ideologies, traditions, and practices do we need to disrupt in order to actualize social advocacy?
  • • What do these disruptions look like?
  • • Who may be affected by these disruptions?

Innovating to Advocate

• How can we foster innovative partnerships with our colleagues from disciplines such as architecture, computer science, fine arts, and human factors to create inter/cross-disciplinary programs that enable advocacy works?

  • • How can we make time for innovation?
  • • How can we keep our focus on social justice while innovating for advocacy?


1. Since the change of administration after the 2016 presidential election, the White House has not provided official support to the Maker Movement nor hosted any Maker Faire, The Nation of Maker project can be found in the Obama Administrations web archives.


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Executive Office of the President. (2014). Building a nation of makers: Universities and colleges pledge to expand opportunities to make. Retrieved from www.whitehouse. gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/building_a_nation_of_makers.pdf

Fogg, R. (2018). Catching disruption in the act: 3 problems innovation will solve in healthcare delivery. Christensen Institute. Retrieved from www.christenseninsdtute. org/blog/three-problems-disruptive-innovation-solve-healthcare-delivery/

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Keyani, P. (2012). Stay focused and keep hacking. Facebook Engineering. Retrieved from 10150842676418920/

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National Science Foundation. (2015). Dear colleague letter: Enabling the future of making to catalyze new approaches in STEM learning and innovation. Retrieved from www. 5086/nsfl 5086.jsp

Obama White House, (n.d.). Nation of makers. Retrieved from nation-of-makers

Rose, M. (2014). The maker movement: Tinkering with the idea that college is for everyone. Truthdig. Retrieved from tinkering-with-the-idea-that-college-is-for-everyone/

Schell, J. (2018). Design thinking has a pedagogy problem. . . and a way forward. Journal of Design and Creatine Technologies. Retrieved from design-thinking-has-pedagogy-problem-way-forward Schrock, A. R. (2014). Education in disguise: Culture of a hacker and maker space. Inter- Actions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, /0(1), 1-25. Retrieved from

Shelton, C. (2019). Shifting out of neutral: Centering difference, bias, and social justice in a business communication course. Technical Communication Quarterly. Online first version. Retrieved from 40287

Smith, A. (2014). Technology networksforsocially useful production.Jowrad/iJPeer Production, 5. Retrieved from peer-reviewed-articles/technology-networks-for-socially-useful-production/

US Office of Educational Technolog)', (n.d.). Makerspaces. Retrieved from http://tech. #


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