October 23, 2013
In School of Sustainability professor David Manuel-Navarrete's SOS 494 course, Sustainability Leadership and Social Change, students created, edited, and filmed a documentary highlighting the transformations that Arizona State University and the Sustainability branch at CREST (the Center for Research in Engineering, Science and Technology) are undertaking to put sustainability at the center of education.
"By making the documentary, the balance of power within the class is altered; the instructor is no longer a purveyor of information and the students are not just the consumers," Manuel-Navarrete says. "Instead, it becomes a process of co-production. The co-production allows the students to effectively absorb the course's teachings."
In the documentary, the students point out the blatant "separated-ness" in society: ecosystems vs. cities, cars vs. pedestrians, and most importantly, the divided disciplines that exist in our educational system.
"Our educational system is a reflection of this disconnectedness," the student narrator says. "The linear construction of our educational system segregates students into rigid disciplines and alienates them from the real world."
The video identifies barriers and highlights opportunities to accelerate change at the level of higher education and K-12 education. Fortunately, ASU is at the forefront of transforming the educational system into a more creative, transdisciplinary system that allows students to effectively combine knowledge sectors to solve some of society's greatest issues.