My involvement as an assistant Project Manager for ‘Broadcasting Out Loud’, has been a great learning experience for me and has taught me many skills that I would use in the future. In the future if I ever decide to take the entrepreneurial route, I will always have this experience to improve on.
Grade 8 student
On any given Friday if you visit my small classroom for Grade 8 kids in Toronto, you will hear conversations between students, teachers, mentors, and visitors, about project management, coding, UX, web design, marketing, data collection and analysis and more. Our five collaborative ventures, two of which have more than twelve group members, use Google Apps for Education to collaborate online in and out of school, and Edmodo as a central social networking space to validate each other’s projects by taking surveys and sharing results.
One project has fourteen active members and is continuing into its second year from last year. In other words, the project was ‘dormant’ as a folder of work last June when the students graduated to high school, and was ‘picked up’ by a new group of students last September – what is exciting is the possibility that the project will actually be deployed next year. Or maybe it won’t – it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that by using The Bootstrapping Checklist (or ANY focused and guided iterative inquiry cycle), my students are learning what positive attitude and commitment really mean, not to mention all the other 21st CTL skills that will ensure their successful engagement in our future global economy.
As an infographic, The Bootstrapping Checklist serves as a reference for conversations between teachers, students, and mentors about student-led entrepreneurial and social innovation projects that occur in and outside of school. Thus, it facilitates online collaboration for students in my public middle school classroom, allowing student projects to carry on, grow, and develop, year over year.
The Bootstrapping Checklist provides a real and authentic reason to learn skills like coding and computer science at a younger age, and an incentive to keep at it. Student projects initiated in my public middle school classroom now have the potential to develop further than ever before – and the Checklist serves as the foundation to keep projects going.
The Bootstrapping Checklist as entrepreneurial education gives real authenticity to student projects and collaborations that break down age and ability barriers present for so long in our customary public education models. When students know their ventures have the potential to grow, engagement and achievement go way up.
Getting students at a young age to look at challenges in their communities as potential opportunities goes a long way to changing their attitudes toward seeing the benefits of lifelong learning and a mastery mindset.
This type of learning actually encourages innovation – and thus authentic STEAM design thinking and production – by having students produce practical and authentic solutions to their own real world problems – they are also preparing for their futures.
Because students can now use their ‘voice’ – validated by data – to advocate for resources to move projects forward, the potential for adding value to a school or board via acquired mentoring and community partnerships now becomes an important part of any school improvement plan – the school simply needs to make space, time, and money to support these projects year to year.
Its beauty of the Infographic lies in its simplicity, and although far from simplistic, The Bootstrapping Checklist provides the integration between pedagogy and technology to facilitate online collaboration for intermediate students allowing student project to carry on, year over year.
Are your teachers engaging students in iterative inquiry cycles where data collection by the students is embedded in the process? All it takes is an attitude toward mastery learning and commitment – essential attributes of any 21st Century learner.
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