Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is transformative education?
We are familiar with phrases, “Learning from experience” or “Learning it the hard way.”
When we learn from experience or learn from mistakes, we make connections, so we tend to remember it better and we can also apply this knowledge whenever it is needed. When these connections are stronger then it even gets into our subconscious mind, which we sometimes call it habits.
These types of learning are called transformative learning, as the knowledge that you acquired and the connections you have made with it has transformed your understanding and makes you look at things in new ways and this stays with you for a very very long time.
2. How can we achieve transformative learning in our educational system?
Transformative education is teaching and learning which effects a change in perspective and frame reference. So, the goals in education with transformative learning are:
- Critically analyzing and reflecting to make deeper understanding
- Developing new frames of references and learning to see with new perspectives and break from the assumptions of the past
- Understanding ourselves & things in relation with others & surroundings
- Understanding cause and effects, that helps us become aware of actions and consequences
- Practicing logical and analytical thinking to make the connections
- Building capability to Envision alternative approaches and possibilities
3. How do you plan to achieve this transformative education at Children’s Innovation Center?
Our courses are structured to offer experiential and project-based learning with focus on social responsibility.
We have developed a unique teaching framework, its called “Student Activity Progression Framework”.
Every course taught at the Children’s Innovation Center will follow this framework.
There are several phases in this framework.
- First is the learning phase, in which the students will learn the new concepts
- Second is the Exploration phase, in which the students will be given prompts to conduct exploration of their surroundings
- Third, is the Observation phase, in which through the guided activities students learn to gain deeper-insights
- Fourth is the Research phase. Here we will be teaching kids how to do research and will be guiding them through every step including what types of questions to ask and how to interpret the data they collect, and so on.
- The fifth phase is the project phase. This is when the project ideation occurs.
- This is very important to point out. In all other project-based learning even at college level, it begins with ideation, which starts with brainstorming sessions. We can only brainstorm, with what we already have in our brain, isn’t it?
- But at our Children’s Innovation Center, this ideation is the fifth phase, and the student has already done a lot of exploration, observation and research before stepping into this ideation. The student has learned new concepts and have built their knowledge before doing brainstorming for their project.
- This experience is unique and would help them throughout their lives.
- The sixth phase is the last phase of completion, and each course has its own completion requirements.
All courses taught through the Children’s Innovation Center will go through this framework.
Each course is very carefully formulated to build certain skillsets, and will be a transformational experience for the student.
All courses are also highly interactive, and the students will have lots of fun participating in these interactive activities.
4. You had mentioned that the classes are very interactive, can you give some examples?
As you can see from our Student Activity Progression Framework, there is a lot of action and it is not like the typical classes at school.
- We do not have long lectures.
- When we introduce new concepts, we immediately have open discussions about real time usage, and discuss examples
- We then have short activities on these topics either as student labs or other hands-on activities to practice this new concept
- Everything is done in the class and not as homework
- Another example of interactive session is our Argumentation Sessions in our classes.
- Nowadays, whenever we have an argument, we proceed with it with the goal of winning the argument..
- But for Innovation when we are seeking great ideas and solutions - this winning mindset does not work.
- Argumentation must spark one’s curiosity and interest to learn more from the opposing point of view. For that we need to first practice listening to others.
- Practicing listening especially while arguing is a very important skill in collaboration. We are trying to build this skill.
Our courses are all very carefully formulated to not only teach new things but also to build all the soft skills along with it. It is very important to build both knowledge and professional skills, so the child is ready for the future.
5. After completing the foundational courses, what is the next level?
After completing at least two of the foundational courses, which are:
- Digital Storytelling
- Naturalist Designer
- Analytical Writer
- Public Speaking & Communications
Students would be able to register for the advanced STEM Plus workshop, “Learning to be an Innovator”.
This is a unique workshop that teaches the new nature inspired methodologies and principles for Systems/Solutions Design Thinking and the Art of Sustainable Innovation, the much needed “STEM Plus” skillsets for the 21st century!
6. What does STEM Plus mean?
STEM Plus means that we would be going beyond learning the current STEM - Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics, to practicing using the new methodology learned to find new things.
See, science is about discovery. For example, we say that Newton discovered gravity. He did not invent gravity, it already exists in nature. Once we started understanding gravity, this knowledge has enabled us to then apply this knowledge with many of our products and solutions.
There is still a lot more to discover. Instead of only learning about someone else’s discoveries and findings, we need to learn and practice to find new things.
In our STEM-Plus workshop students would learn how to observe the blue print. We will then practice using this methodology to explore, observe, and find new things. This advanced interdisciplinary workshop equips the students with knowledge and practice to go beyond the existing subject-matters and prepares them on the path with the ability to make new scientific and engineering discoveries.
Even if the child does not want to make break-through discoveries, it would help them to observe things with a new set of glasses and develops appreciation for the things around them, as they now have a different understanding.
Schools teach kids to memorize, not to make discoveries. What we are bringing to the students is invaluable and would go a long way with them beyond college.
7. Are there any technology focused courses?
Yes. We use technology as a tool in all of our activities and courses.
We also have these following Big Data, Robotics and IoT courses:
- Building Robotic Hand
- Human Impact on Water Quality (Coming in Fall 2018)
- Understanding Earthquakes (Coming in Fall 2018)
- Electrical Energy to Communicate (Coming in Fall 2018)
8. After learning all these new knowledge and skills, are there opportunities for students to continue further?
We have a Youth Leadership Program, which offers coaching to students to do projects or initiatives at school or outside of school. As our program emphasizes social responsibility, students could also simultaneously earn community service credits for High School, while being in this program.
We will be organizing several seminars with industry experts, so students can directly interact with the experts and learn more about the trending topics in various industries.
We will also be continuously working to bring more resources and opportunities for our students. What we have now is only the beginning, and we are dedicated to adding on more overtime.
We are passionate to build children’s knowledge, skills, confidence and courage, so they could REACH FOR THEIR STAR!