Today was the first day of our 2017 Summer Academy at the local BOCES site in upstate New York. Today, also happens to be my first day teaching Innovation class. I had previously only taught social studies classes during the school year and during summer school. This year, I decided I wanted to try something new and broaden my teaching experience. So, I took the opportunity to teach a class that I had almost zero familiarity with and no experience teaching.
What is innovation class?
To be honest and frank, it is different things for different teachers and for each student. As I told my students today, “you know as much about what this class is going to be like for you, as I do.” This wasn’t meant to be a mind trick like a few thought. Instead, it was an honest observation about where we currently stood in innovation class. To me, innovation class is an opportunity for students to blend together ideas from genius hour/20% time, PBL, IBL, and passion projects. It is an opportunity for students to identify and research a problem or question, and develop a solution or a product/service to attempt to fill a need for one. This class is meant to instill and practice 21st Century learning skills, a passion for learning and exploration, and to allow students to go outside the normal box of education.
So what will the students be doing?
We have yet to choose our topics, so that is where we will start first. Students will need to find a topic that interests them and develop a guiding or essential question to drive their research and exploration. Then they will begin their research of the topic and as they conduct their research they will be expected to keep a bibliography of their sources and then produce a solution, product or service to solve their problem or answer their question.
This course will be much more student centered and self-paced then I am used to in a class. However, it will give me the opportunity to practice and experiment with new tools and assessment methods this summer. I am looking forward to learning alongside my students this summer and seeing what they choose to study and what they create.