X-Men, Challenge Based Learning and the NMC Community

Working with children for a long period of time can do wonders for your immune system. Sadly this week mine failed me, causing me to end my NMC Summer Conference experience early! I haven’t been this disappointed in a long time.

The first day of the conference was unreal. The speakers were fantastic and the entire NMC community was so friendly. Joichi Ito was the perfect opener. You know someone is an amazing speaker when they have the ability to reach those in the audience who are not particularly knowledgeable on their topic of discussion. I am no expert on venture capitalism or the development of the Internet, but I was completely captivated by Joi Ito the entire time.

I was particularly moved by his 6-minute post-speech interview during which he says, “It feels like I have found my tribe,” in reference to the MIT Media Lab. In his interview, he draws a comparison between the MIT Media Lab and the first scene in X-Men, explaining how the MIT Media Lab allows all of those who “don’t belong” to have a home.

“All of these kids with superpowers feel like misfits everywhere they are, and then they show up to this school and they realize the things that used to be problems are actually features.” -Joichi Ito

As a special education teacher and supporter of Inclusion, something about this video really touched me. Thanks Joi, for helping to make misfits shine.

Challenge Based Learning:

Strong teachers know that presenting a problem and asking students to work on finding a solution can yield extremely high engagement for students. Creating units that offer these experiences for our students is extraordinarily time consuming…when making up the problems. In today’s session: Challenge Based Learning: Take Action and Make a Difference we pondered why teachers create problems that don’t exist? Aren’t there enough real problems in our homes and schools that we can begin to try to solve together?

Challenge based learning is a framework that can be adapted or differentiated to work in  the K-12 space, Higher Education, or even a business setting. Challenge Based Learning (CBL) is engaging for students because during a CBL unit they are treated like adults (which they love!) When presented with a challenge and asked to take action to impact others, our youth will rise to the occasion. CBL taps into our youth’s innate desire to help others and make change.

Want to learn more about CBL? Here is a great place to get started!

Leaving the party early was a great disappointment, but being present – even for just Day 1 was a huge opportunity. Many thanks to Larry Johnson, Samantha Adams and the rest of the NMC Community for being so welcoming!

Also, if you haven’t checked this out yet, you need to. The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition

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