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Art Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Award-winning Summer Institute For Teachers

Design-Based Learning Methodology Galvanizes Participants and Fosters Engaging Learning Environments

Published on Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 4:40 am

For the past ten years, Art Center College of Design has been teaching teachers in its highly acclaimed Summer Institute for Teachers. This year’s Institute will take place on July 27–29 and August 1–2, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Art Center College of Design’s South Campus, 950 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena.

The intensive five-day Institute for K–12 Teachers in all subject areas and grades offers four units of professional staff development credit. Founded in 2002, the Summer Institute for Teachers received the 2006 Award of Merit in K–12 Architectural Education from the American Architectural Foundation.

Design-Based Learning was developed by Doreen Nelson, a professor at Art Center College of Design and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She was the recipient of the California State University 2006 Wang Family Excellence Award in education and also directs the Summer Institute for Teachers. Through Design-Based Learning, Art Center empowers educators to excite students about learning, improve their test scores and boost their overall performance—in any subject.

The faculty of the Summer Institute for Teachers is comprised of public school educators who have earned a master’s degree in Design-Based Learning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. They have successfully put this innovative methodology to work in their own K-12 classrooms and participate in the Summer Institute to enable their colleagues to do the same.

In engaging hands-on workshops, the educators teach participants how to enhance their own students’ comprehension and tap into natural creativity and higher-level thinking. The participants take away techniques that require nothing more than basic classroom materials such as paper, pencils, glue and recyclables, so their teaching will not be adversely affected by budget cutbacks or textbook changes.

“We are very excited to celebrate the Summer Institute’s 10th anniversary and continue this important influential work,” noted Paula Goodman, Director of the K-12 Programs at Art Center College of Design. “Through the Institute and Design-Based Learning, We can give teachers a powerful new methodology to motivate and teach all learners, including at-risk, gifted, ADD and ADHD students. And, the program uses basic materials, so budget constraints are not a concern.”

Teachers using Design-Based Learning challenge their students to create never-before-seen solutions to specific problems. As an example, a sixth grade class studying ancient Egypt, China, Greece and Mesopotamia might work in teams to build a 3D scale model of a place in that ancient world. The Design-Based Learning approach “sneaks up on learning” by engaging students’ innate curiosity in a fun, interactive environment.

Tuition is $680 for credit (non-credit tuition is $500) and discounts are available to teacher pairs from the same school. Several full-tuition scholarships are also available.

For more information, visit

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