Playing with Firebrands

Playing with Firebrands is a suite of interactions with the purpose of empowering students in public education through engagement.


The Problem

Our education system isn't designed for what students want to learn. As a result, many students graduate without a clear sense of their passions or purpose.


Curriculum is top-down, and in the US, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are pushed by a government agenda. Students have very little say in how they're going to spend the typical 12+ years of their lives in school. The result is that many students leave education without a clear path for what they want to do, and more critically, who they want to become. How might we challenge the traditional model for public education to encourage and develop impassioned students?



Thesis Presentation

sva theater, may 2017


Research Summary

Progressive Education believes education should accommodate the holistic needs of a child. But these practices are often limited to privatized education. The objective is to bring best practices to a larger audience.


Final Thesis Deck V216.jpg
Students need a balance of structure and freedom. They benefit when there are key goals, milestones, and objectives, but also have freedom to explore and ask their own questions within the context of the framework.
— Don Buckley, Tools at Schools


The thesis process included secondary research, 30+ expert interviews, 100+ sketches, and a lot of prototyping.


Design Interventions

Here are a few projects tacking education from different lenses, from cultural perspectives to hands-on learning:


Center of Attention

A multi-disciplinary workshop connecting basic physics principles to handstands.

Cue + A

A platform for student-driven lessons,  both inside and outside the classroom.


A search engine plug-in encouraging questioning over answers.