July 31, 2012

The Class I Always Wanted

In high school and college, being the nerd that I am, I always dreamed of a fantastic course where I and other students simply got to ask cool questions and where we were given the time, resources and space to find the answers. I dreamed of learning to program something that I wanted create - not being told what to create. I dreamed of building a robot or a contraption that did nothing useful but was fun and challenging. I dreamed of a true nerd elective where problems came first and solutions came second, where problems came from creativity and solutions came from a desire to learn and not from a lecture.

Next year I get to create that course. I get to teach a Nerd Elective! The course was created on the premise that many students at my school were not being challenged with the current math and science structure. We have the beginnings of a robotics program and the resources to support it. The stage is set. Now all I have to put the structure together and create the environment for the students to thrive in...

The Plan So Far...

  • I will give a brief intro to some ideas: Lego robots, iPad app development, Flash programming, Kodu Game Lab (maybe) and anything else I can find in the next 5 weeks. 
  • Students will create their own question or project including time frames with goals, deadlines and expected challenges. 
  • Students will work alone or hopefully in groups of 2. 
  • Final choice of projects and deadlines will be supervised and negotiated. 
  • Projects MUST be interesting to the STUDENT. 
  • Student will create a record (blog?) of there work including discoveries, progress and challenges.  

What I need...

  • Framework to foster creativity and maintain accountability. 
    • Rubrics to grade student work?
    • Reasonable expectations for students. 
  • More project platform ideas. 
  • General advice. What am I not thinking about? 

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