I first asked that question 10 weeks ago. I was presented with the wonderful opportunity to create a class that would be unlike any other in middle school in Palm Beach County, Florida.
I called it the Innovation Class. A course is designed for students who wish to improve their creative thinking skills as well as their critical thinking skills. Students are studying the creative process, different types of innovation, how innovation is created, and how innovation can be transformed into commercial reality either as new products or new services. This will involve an examination of startups, existing corporations and nonprofit entities.
We started our school year three weeks ago with an overview of innovation. The students explained what innovation looked like to them. We introduced coding through code.org and my students anxiously await the ability to use Microsoft’s Project Spark coding platform on Surface tablets.
We have been exploring different presentation platforms and how most of them can be incorporated into Microsoft PowerPoint. The Surface RT tablets being used in the classroom allow my students to use Office 2013, which excites them because Office 2010 is what is installed on district computers in my classroom. We will be adding Office Mix soon.
We have a drone, thousands of Lego blocks and roller coaster building kits. We are fundraising for a 3D printer. We have set up a makeshift television production studio in the back of our classroom but are also fundraising for updated equipment.
This course offers students an opportunity to obtain the fundamental insight needed to understand the innovation process and to become a player in it. My goal is to promote innovative technology literacy as students investigate the world around them by examining and using new and emerging technology.
The curriculum is aligned to the Next Generation Sunshine Standards, National Educational Technology Standards as well as Common Core State Standards The higher order thinking skills that will be developed during this course will allow each student to successfully prepare and meet future academic challenges.
The Microsoft in Education Global Forum rubric of collaboration, knowledge building and critical thinking, extending learning beyond the classroom, cutting edge use of technology for learning, design of the learning environment and educator as innovator and change agent will be put to daily use.
The guidance department at my school has informed me of over 70 students requesting to have a schedule changed to take this class and the school year is only three weeks old. The 28 students in the room realize how fortunate they are to be starting something so new and groundbreaking in our school district.
It is very important to me that this class shows value to all stakeholders involved. I do not like wasting people’s time. I teach bell to bell and from the first day of school to the last.
I would value any input from my fellow Microsoft Expert Educators in what this class should look like. What would you make sure students knew if you were teaching this class? Ask you students what they would like to learn if they were taking this class. Your input is important and valuable. Please feel free to make a suggestion.