'Universal' assignments

I’ve noticed that there are many teachers and tutors on these boards.
Also a part-time teacher (first graders). I love it. These fresh students are really brainwashed into thinking that there is only one solution to a problem. It’s great to show them otherwise, and get the fire burning :wink:

Anyway the fact that there’s so many teachers/tutors on these boards have led me to the following idea:

Why don’t we make some ‘universal’ assignments and let our students work on it?

After the assignment is done we can post the results and discuss. I’m sure it would be a motivator for my students that there’s other students around the globe doing the same assignment.

I have some suggestions.
Design 4 Survival:
As Dieter Rams pointed out. We’d better make our products autonomous since their might be a day where the whole system collapses. Whether this might happen or not doesn’t matter. Must be an interesting exercise.

Dependent User Products
Make a product user-dependent. So the user must ‘care’ for it. Therefore the user will develop a relationship with the product and not cast it away easily/quickly. After Robots by Dune&Raby. A sort of Tamagothi-effect. You don’t change your pet because a new fancier one walks by do you?

The Fun Theory:
Just check the link:

Design for Dissabled people
Give the students a ‘handicap’ (at random) and let them experience it in their daily lives. First they need to spot a problem (cooking, communication, etc…) then generate and explore several solutions. In the end they must create a prototype that solves their problem. This might sound to challenging but I assure you this is one of my assignments with the best outcome.

Rube Goldberg device
Let them salvage waste material at the recycling-plant before they get the assignment. Then let them make a Chain-reaction with the salvaged material.

2nd function:
Buy a simple cheap product. (Give it to your neighbour) and try to change it’s function. By altering how it is used or the product itself.
Educational Toy:
A (wooden) toy based on mathematics or some kinda physics law. (my students should be experts in these areas so they should as well be able to apply it in the real world)

Anybody in?



I love the idea of doing an assignment across multiple schools and posting the results!


Srry to bump the tread. But I still believe in this idea :wink:



These are good topics to develop, and I will certainly look to develop them into something smart and meaningful.

Given the overall economic situation, I just can’t afford to give up all that effort for the sake of a competition with questionable prizes. I’d rather get some feedback from my tutors, my local enterprise board and general public, before submitting it into a small public gallery which I’m a member of.

I’m sure that this is what every student has done, when he/she has seen this topic. You have just given us a brilliant idea for a project, and you’ve cut out the work of looking for initial ideas.

Look at http://www.b3ta.com - the reasons why there are a lot of submissions for image challenges is that the brief is simple, and enjoyable to do. What you are proposing is something that is very complex and requires a lot of energy. The only reward one would want to get for that sort of work is money, promotion or recognition.

Uhm…this wouldn’t be a competition and there won’t be any prizes involved.

I just think that my students would get another motivational kick working on an assignment if they know there’s other students in other parts of the world working on the same assignment. The results will be very different and therefore will also show that an assignment can be interpreted in many different ways. There will probably be a difference in the outcomes because of the different cultures, geographical location, different tutors?


I’m really surprised this hasn’t caught on more.

me to :cry:

Maybe your students don’t want to feel bad about their work? In a global competition like this, the last thing they want to see is a bunch of students from another country who are all consistently producing work which is leagues above their own. Since jobs are hard to get, they don’t want this:

Hehe…My students have nothing to say about this :wink:

And if they do feel bad because their work is not as good as that of another school they can do 2 things:

Cry some more
Or work harder and get better

The latter would be motivational.

This is not a plee to students but to teachers…



Better to see that as a student than as a graduate!