Michael Golden, CEO and Co-Founder of Educurious, presents a comprehensive overview of the great endeavors Educurious is making in the area of project and program-based learning. Michael shares insight and program approaches that incorporate the collaboration of communities, educators, employers and students to offer opportunities to students unparalleled in a traditional school environment.
Educurious currently has operations in 20 states and was founded on the premise of changing the learning experience for young people to foster empowerment for success in school and future careers.
This student centered approach permits students the ability to think of themselves as a developing experts on a trajectory towards becoming a master. This different position gives them more and more control, allowing them to make the most of each opportunity.
Partnerships with large corporations such as Boeing and the National Screenwriters Guild match students with mentors that will assist and guide them on their individual and self-created unique learning path. Students can then experience and develop a taste for their passion and aptitude that otherwise might not have been known. The business partners can help students from their own work environment. They can jump on skype and talk with the students.
The program is based on 10 principles with the most important being the view of students as developing experts. As a result, almost immediately, engagement and motivation goes up which, in turn, leads to better grades, attendance and test scores.
Success can be gauged and seen when when young people change their self image and aspirations. These dynamic results are demonstrated when young people take ownership of their path with no limits on their career and life goals.
Teachers take on their own developing expert cycle by implementing the “adopt-adapt-innovate” path. They first adopt this new project based process. Then, adapt for relevancy at their community level. Finally, they innovate to create new projects which are inspirational and inclusive. This teaching path perpetuates the continuity of learning and growth.
One common issue that is tackled is how to serve our underserved communities. There are many of these areas that don’t have enough visibility or mentors, either in school out of school. Since mentors are crucial for supporting and guiding students on this path virtual mentorship is imperative, allowing students to explore and experience different things. Students can explore careers while in school and connect with employers. This helps them build the skills needed to pursue that particular path. They can also get feedback to create a better sense of themselves and where they would want to go educationally and in life.
When young people are given power and responsibility over their own learning, the soft skills that are so crucial in today’s society develop naturally.
Educurious offers these 10 Learning Design Principles:
- Position students as developing experts
- Provide extended learning opportunities
- Progress along competency-based pathways
- Provide continuous feedback
- Provide multi-faceted learning support
- Learn contemporary knowledge, skills, and practices
- Build upon interests and identities
- Cultivate social learning networks
- Leverage disciplinary tools and digital literacies
- Support multiple means of expression
I encourage you to visit the educurious.org website to see the descriptions of each of these core principals, based on the research Michael describes in our conversation.
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