Designing for change

A design change group from 2018.

A new and improved version of Youthtown’s Design Change programme, run through Tauhara College in Taupo in Term One, has seen young people designing projects that reflect the values of global citizenship.

In 2018, Youthtown, supported by a major grant from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and with the collaboration of the Raukawa Charitable Trust, delivered workshops once a week across three schools in Taupo, Tokoroa and Rotorua, working with around 55 Year 9 and 10 students. Over the 10-week programme, facilitators supported the participants to work in teams to identify an issue, research the problem and identify potential solutions. The programme culminated with teams developing a prototype that they believed could address the issue.

The revised version of the programme was delivered twice a week at Tauhara College with a Year 9 STEM class. The class, made up of just 13 students, was divided into three teams. One worked on mental health and created a Rainbow Room – a space for students to come and connect, one team worked on the issue of stalkers on Instagram and wanted to create an ad to raise awareness with young people on how to protect themselves, and the other team worked on self-love and body confidence, with plans to create some positive ‘non-filters’ for Facebook and Instagram.

“Time was an issue as we only had two hours a week for 10 weeks, but the students had awesome ideas,” says Pip Bennett, Youthtown’s Youth Coordinator for Taupo.

“Their key learnings weren’t only about creative thinking and human design thinking; they also learned about working together in a team, and problem solving, and empathy – thinking about others.”

Youthtown is keen to deliver this programme in other schools in the future.

Some quotes from students:

“It was a great programme and a different learning experience.”

“I really enjoyed this class, it was lots of fun and I learned lots of new things.”

“It was really fun doing this, I’d like to do it again one day.”

“It was cool doing this, I’ve never had a class where we did this stuff before.”