Silk Roots – A Design Template for Interdisciplinary Learning Projects


This paper introduces a design template for interdisciplinary project-based learning (PBL), utilising a design thinking approach, with the "Silk Roots'' project as a case study. Traditional education often compartmentalises knowledge, limiting students' understanding of real-world complexities. In response to these limitations, the paper presents a comprehensive four-stage framework for the implementation of interdisciplinary PBL rooted in design thinking principles.
Empathise: The design process begins with identifying users and stakeholders, recognising teachers as designers. The primary user is the student, but the community and curriculum are also significant stakeholders.
Define: Students seek real-world relevance and complex systems understanding. The process of crafting projects must address these needs while promoting collaboration, diverse perspectives, and student agency.
Ideate: The context of the educational system, the desired learning outcomes and the practical realities inform the possibilities that can be envisaged.
Prototype: The implementation stage involves a student cohort studying the silk industry near Bengaluru, India, with teachers facilitating their exploration. A unique outcome is the facilitators' transformation into co-learners, enriching the educational journey.
Implement: The success of the "Silk Roots" project led to the creation of a generalised design template. The template supports a project designer through logistical and philosophical considerations. It begins with conceptualisation and definition of the project study area, logistics and planning, the process of student research and the final outcomes of the project.
While such interdisciplinary PBL experiences might have cultural and practical limitations, the larger learning outcomes justify their consideration.

Author Information
Nivedh Jayanth, Mallya Aditi International School, India
Mary Rita Paul, Mallya Aditi International School, India

Paper Information
Conference: BCE2023
Stream: Interdisciplinary

This paper is part of the BCE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Jayanth N., & Paul M. (2023) Silk Roots – A Design Template for Interdisciplinary Learning Projects ISSN: 2435-9467 – The Barcelona Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon