June 27, 2013
Focusing on providing instruction and instilling discipline, the mainstream model for education has, in many ways, remained unchanged since it was developed during (and for) the Industrial Revolution.
But how does this model translate now that we can access almost any piece of information through our computers and phones? And when success is measured more by your creative, problem solving skills than it is by your ability to follow orders.
Most educational experts point to the need for more independent collaboration, more team building, more problem solving skills, and more engagement with real world challenges. A new documentary highlights an innovative project in Bertie County in Eastern North Carolina which showcases what the educational model of the future might just look like:
"In "If You Build It" we spend a year in the life of one of America's most innovative classrooms. The film follows Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller as they teach the fundamentals of design, architecture and construction to a class of high school juniors in rural North Carolina. Faced with rising unemployment rates, a struggling educational system and simmering racial tension the people of Bertie County North Carolina turn to Pilloton, Miller and their students for help. We discover that what the class designs and builds for their hometown has a chance to transform their community for generations to come."
The project featured in the film was instigated by Studio H, a non-profit organization now located in Berkeley, California. During the course of a semester, students earned high school credit through designing, prototyping, and building a 2,000-square-foot farmers market pavilion which has since become a focal point for the community around it
The film has been showing at the Full Frame Film Festival in Durham, as well as the AFI Docs Festival in Washington DC. Please view the If You Build It Facebook page for more details of screenings.