EdTekTalk: Inspiring students through architecture

By Diana Fingal 8/17/2014

ISTE reached out to inspiring people from a range of fields and asked them to share their insights in mini-keynotes at ISTE 2014. This EdTekTalk is one in a series of five videos that showcases futurists, designers and entrepreneurs.

It was a two-hour meeting about door knobs that ultimately drove Emily Pilloton to leave her prestigious job at an architecture firm to teach design to teenagers living in a poor county in North Carolina. And she’s never looked back.

Pilloton, who founded nonprofit Project H to help develop effective design solutions for people who need it most, didn’t know exactly what she was getting into when she took a job teaching 16-year-olds in Bertie County, North Carolina. Her story is the focus of the documentary “If You Build It,” which follows her class through the process of designing and building a farmers’ market in their town. It turned out to be a tall order and a labor of love.

Pilloton says she grew up in a tree house, and making things was how she came to make sense of the world. That’s what she hoped to pass on to her students.

“We can design and build real things in the real world for real people that are done with love and a little pizazz and audacity and spectacle,” she says.


The EdTekTalks are returning to the ISTE Conference & Expo! Sign up for the conference mailing list to be the first to find out which innovators from beyond ed tech will speak at ISTE 2015.

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