Project Idea #4: Grab a challenge on Innocentive

Innocentive is like a matchmaker for problems and solvers. If you’re looking to make a difference (or just looking for an interdisciplinary project), the innocentive site (https://www.innocentive.com/) can provide a ready-made “bug list” of challenges that are looking for creative solutions…and creative solution seekers.

On the landing page, one of the top level menus is “Challenge Center.” Once you’re in the center, you can use various filters and tabs to narrow a search. 

Another bonus — many of the challenges come with solution “rewards.” For instance, a past TSA challenge posted a $15,000 prize. (Hat tip to @LauraFlusche of MODA.) So, a school full of innovators might just find an additional source of income, in addition to doing good work for the good of others.

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I am writing a series of blog posts about project ideas that could happen within a school – projects that could both transform school and, ultimately, transform us beyond school. This is my fourth part in the series. I’d love to know what you think.

More on Project Ideas:

https://itsaboutlearning.org/category/project-ideas/

Project Idea #2: Use TED as a rolodex of idea sparks for a virtual army of engaged citizen leaders

I love this talk from Aziza Chaouni: How I brought a river, and my city, back to life.

As I watch, I see an inspirational activist and change maker. And I see a meta-lesson. I see the potential and possibility of dozens and dozens (thousands?!) of student learners giving just such a talk to showcase and share the work that they are engaged in — as their school work — to make a difference in their project(s) of passion and curiosity as engaged citizen leadership.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have watched a TED or TEDx talk everyday since May 11, 2011. Maybe it’s rewired my brain somehow. Because I see in my mind’s eye a virtual rolodex of project stories — to spark, to inspire, to model storytelling, to demonstrate the integrated and connected nature of real-world learning.

Imagine schools across the world where student learners are giving such updates on their project work. What if they joined the rolodex of examples?

Imagine. Make happen. What are the possibilities?

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I am thinking of writing a series of blog posts about project ideas that could happen within a school – projects that could both transform school and, ultimately, transform us beyond school. This is my second prototype. I’d love to know what you think.

Project Idea #1: Establish a true, three-part government in school. Live the democracy.

Project Idea #1: Establish a true three-part government in school. Live the democracy.

How serious are we – U.S. schools and educators – about educating citizens for our American democracy?

How many of our schools allow for, or even promote, student governments that model and mirror the three-part system of our governmental system?

Imagine a high school that elected two senators for each grade level. Imagine that high school electing representatives for each grade level, based on population of the grade level. Or perhaps advisories or homerooms could provide for the “state” structure to mimic.

What if there were a true judiciary of the student body, elected and appointed just in the same mechanisms as our U.S., state, and municipal judiciaries? 

What if there were a true executive branch of the student government, elected and empowered in the same manner and mechanism as our President, governors, and mayors?

Imagine that such a system started in elementary school, progressed through middle school, and culminated in high school. 

Over the years, how might our democratic citizenship be “practiced” in the ways of leading and participating in our civic structure and responsibilities?

Imagine a student or group of students who became so passionate about such an idea that they made it happen. Image if they lived the lessons they are being taught in U.S. History and Government classes. 

What system of government are students actually practicing in school? Is it a representative democracy? Is it a relative dictatorship? I wonder what that’s teaching them over 13 years. 

What if they lived and practiced the system that we want them to take responsibility for? What if we operated school in the ways that would more authentically educate a citizen of our democracy?

Imagine. Make happen. What are the possibilities?

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I am thinking of writing a series of blog posts about project ideas that could happen within a school – projects that could both transform school and, ultimately, transform us beyond school. This is my first prototype. I’d love to know what you think.

Two Questions On My Mind – How We Spend Our School Time

For some time, I’ve been contemplating more than a couple of questions. Yet these two keep emerging for me in the past few days and weeks…

  1. If most life is project-based, is it too much to devote ~10% wk in project-origin in school? (3.5 of 35 hrs.) 2.5 hrs is pass time! ON TWITTER
  2. Interesting to visit schools July-Aug, and on Sat/Sun. Lots of sports practices. I wonder… why we feel we cannot “practice” academics too ON TWITTER

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Math teaching and math learning. @JoBoaler

What do you know about how math is taught versus how math is best learned? Do you have twenty minutes to spark and forward your own deeper understanding about maths learning? How does your child’s school approach math teaching and learning? How are you serving as a school leader to enhance math learning in your school – do your school practices match the research?

So, if a maths question doesn’t have the space inside it to think and learn and discuss, then its potential as a learning task is very limited.

When we open tasks and ask students to think about how they see them and to talk with each other, the opportunities for learning are increased.

Maths classrooms should encourage more depth and less speed.

– Jo Boaler, YouCubed

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In the summer of 2013, I enrolled in and completed Jo Boaler’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), “How People Learn Math.” In my 43 years, it has been one of the strongest learning experiences I have had.