From Classroom to Creative Designer

Panda’s Creative Director, Paul Danbury, talks about his experience at the Children’s Commissioner Takeover Day.

Last Friday (22nd November), I decided to do something a bit different and go back to the classroom to help 12 young people from Lampton school, a DfE Outstanding Academy and Teaching school, learn exactly what it would be like to be me for a day.

The activities were organised as part of Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day 2013, a national event led by the Children’s Commissioner for England to give children and young people the chance to shadow jobs, get involved in decision-making and offer their opinions on key issues. For an agency that specialises in the education sector, our decision to take part was an easy one.

At Lampton, we spent the day undertaking a website design project, through which the 12 pupils learnt about website design and development – sketching ideas before turning them into creative graphics and presenting their designs to other students in the group. Working in teams of two (one creative and one programmer), the pupils had to consider how the two areas fit together to create a final product that would be fit for purpose.

students-working-team-sketching

As an agency, we try and ensure pupil voice is heard in all of our work and offer a unique approach to school-specific design that provides students with the opportunity to contribute to the process. Whilst we always knew this was the right thing to do in terms of getting the best design outcomes for the school as a whole, taking part in the Children’s Commissioner Takeover Day showed me first hand, the difference we can make to the pupils too.

critique-session

The day gave us the opportunity to establish a creative environment in which the children could learn – not as pupils, but as equal peers in a simulated work-environment – identifying skills that would be needed for the world of work (from standing out on your CV to effective project collaboration and even how to provide appropriate, constructive critiques).

The young people themselves said:

Coolest experience the school has offered
Priya, age 16

Good experience, constructive & learnt some new skills
Siobhan, age 16

Great learning something fun and challenging
Ravin, age 16

And whilst a career as a teacher is definitely not in my future (hats off to those who do!), I would do this again every time. I was so impressed by the pupils desire to listen, participate and work collectively in their teams, that I hope this (all be it) short experience gives them the encouragement to pursue their creative (or computer programming) ambitions!

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