Biomimicry for Interdisciplinary Learning

I recently attended the 2010 Biomimicry Education Summit in San Francisco. This meeting was a collection of about 100 educators from elementary and secondary schools, universities, museums, etc. We spent 2 1/2 days talking about how people have incorporated Biomimicry into teaching environments.

Biomimicry is about how to biological organisms and systems as mentors, models and measures for tackling difficult design problems across a multitude of domains. The design solutions that come from Biomimicry often surprise people because they are so much better than the designs that people are used to getting. Nature has had a LONG time to do a LOT of experiments covering a HUGE range of design problems.

One of the themes that intrigued me is that as these groups are embedding Biomimicry into their classrooms, curricula and academic institutions they are discovering that Biomimicry is a natural way to create interdisciplinary collaboration in the classroom. Doing the Biomimicry requires collaboration between the people who are trying to solve a problem in their domain and biologists who search Nature to find examples of organisms or ecosystems that solve similar design problems.  This leads to engaging learning in the classroom. The teachers like the results, and that the students are asking for more.

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About davidsocha

In autumn 2010 after spending 19 years working in a variety of software organizations as a programmer, architect, manager, teacher, ScrumMaster, product designer, change agent, and agile coach, I finally listened to what everyone had been telling me I should be doing and joined the University of Washington Bothell as an Assistant Professor in Computing & Software Systems. My interests are how to create and maintain great teams, particularly those in software development organizations. I am most interested in distinctions that dramatically increase the effectiveness of teams, such as systems thinking, design thinking, biomimicry, and human centered design. I am a pragmatist, a collaborator, and an optimist.
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