Victor Hupe, 17 jaar, VWO 6 leerling op de Populier in Den Haag sprak op vrijdag 15 april zo'n 1000 mensen toe op de TEDxDelft conferentie. Een pleidooi voor meer Maken op school. Heel concreet: 20% van je tijd. Zijn tekst:
It’s one o’clock, you are in class and you’re really bored. You look around you and you see that you’re not the only one. Boredom at school is common. Is it the content of the lesson? Is it the teacher? Is it the fact you are always seated, not moving, learning by listening passively in your chair. You would like to do something … make something … but there is no opportunity .. so you start to draw … in your notebook … I think this sounds very familiar to a lot of people here.You draw figures, dolls, existing things, new things. And new things can lead to new ideas. Because that creativity, inside you, needs to be explored, you want to express yourself!
I’m going to take you on a journey. A journey through the process of what we call “making” “creating”. My story starts with Leonardo da Vinci. And where the story ends, I do not know. Hopefully it never ends.
Drawing, creating new ideas, have all been done before. For example, in the 15th century … by Leonardo da Vinci. Small drawings became big ideas. Initial thoughts became big projects. Sometimes even too complex for its time. But how did he do this? Well, by thinking, drawing, processing new thoughts, reconsidering his initial ideas, so in other words by going through a process … until he was really pleased and even then there was still space for optimization. He designed the helicopter, the glider, parachute, tank, the bike and many other things. He was ahead of his time, because he got offered space and time to develop his ideas and to improve them. It took many years before his ideas became reality. Nowadays, there seems to be less time than before, companies want to make profit, people are busy. Learning by making is a kind of learning that has increasingly been pushed into the background over the years.
Is there still time and space for a new Leonardo da Vinci?
Yes, there is.
I propose to introduce the 20% rule. This rule says, spent 20% of the time making the things you want. Google already introduced such a rule. If you work 5 days, you are allowed to use one day to work on your own project. This has often resulted in the most profitable ideas, for example Gmail and the Google Glass, as well as Google Talk.
At my school, we have something what we call the Fab class. During Fab class, a group of students and a couple of teachers, come together once every three weeks. Students get the opportunity to make their ideas. The school facilitates this by providing material, equipment and space.
But why is the Fab class such a success? In Fab class, Maker Education is put into practice. But what is Maker Education? The word already explains itself. “Being educated in making and creating.” By developing your skills in identifying problems, tackling and solving them, knowing how to use equipment, brainstorming with other people about your project, will all optimize the things you do. A famous Dutch innovative designer said in a television interview:
Making makes you.
I think that’s true.
Now I will tell you what I have experienced and made during Fables. For me, it seemed interesting to start with a larger project. Larger both in form and in duration; I wanted to combine new shapes and work with new and known materials and technology. I decided to make a wooden bicycle. I started with a sketch. I love animals. So for my design, I was looking for a fast animal with a recognizable form. I decided to choose the shark and its dorsal fin. After the 1st sketch, I made a prototype out of cardboard and later one out of wood. Of course there were some problems, which had to be solved, after this step in the process I made a full size cardboard version. When this design proved to be successful, I started to make the wooden bike. As I just said, and you can imagine, I did not always succeed immediately. I ran into problems like, how to get the axle of the rear working in the wooden frame. The probles taught me something. They forced me to re-evaluate the process and the design. Steps which I normally would not have taken. After many hours of work and just as many learning moments, my wooden bike was a fact! It took me a year to finish but it was amazing. And this is the result.
And I must say, it looks a lot like Leonardo’s bike.
Another project that I developed during the Fab class was a cup for small children. Small children want to do the same things which adults do. For example, drink of a big cup. Even if their hands are still to small. If they would succeed, it would give them a lot of confidence, so I came with this cup. It looks big, but it is suitable for small hands.
In the Fab class I worked on projects, which gave me problems and those problems stayed in my head. Solving those problems was something I did not do at the Fab class, I thought about them outside school, when I laid in bed or when I was cycling. So it are not only those few ours in a weak, no it’s a mind-set.
I have many more ideas and thoughts I want to put into practice. I hope that when I get my degree in June, I will get the opportunity to develop, create and learn at the faculty Industrial Design at the TU Delft. When I see what they have developed … for example the Nuna. Already six out of eight times the Nuna participated in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, they and took home the trophy. Each year, the team responsible for the Nuna improves the car. By learning from previous designs, looking critically at themselves and keeping an open mind to the world around them.
First the boredom at school, a story about Leonardo da Vinci, the Fab class and Maker Education, my own designs, the Nuna by the Delft University of Technology. Various topics, one common thread. The process. With the 20 % rule in school, students will be more focussed in class, because they can explore their creativity at the moment they work on their own project. Even outside school they will think about it, because the problems, they stay in their heads and they want to solve them.
For everybody, be critical of your design, learn from your mistakes, be prepared to start over, be open to suggestions from others, create and most importantly never give up!
So, Let’s make the world a better place!