One of the most important aspects of reaching students in a meaningful way is the ability to keep them engaged and engrossed in their work. As digital natives, today’s students desire participatory, not passive, learning experiences. Innovation-based courses are a fun, challenging and effective way to provide personalized, cross-curricular pathways.

Our district has implemented the Inventionland Innovation Course with great success. The course is based on Inventionland’s 9-step inventing method and provides students with a real-life “Shark Tank” experience where they create a product from the initial idea, to a concept model, to a product pitch.

These kinds of project-based courses with roots in STEM, STEAM, making, and constructivism are growing ever more popular and provide real-world application of multiple core courses. As an educator, you have to love that. So do the students!

Here are the 9 reasons why today’s students love innovation-based courses:

1. They own it. Put students in the driver’s seat and watch them go! These courses are not geared toward memorizing facts, but rather letting students take the wheel. When they have a vested interest in the course, they become the designers, developers, and owners of their learning journey.

2. They acquire employability skills. These are the skills and behaviors necessary to be successful in any career. Employers want people who can use creativity, critical thinking and collaboration to solve problems. They seek candidates with exceptional time management, planning and communication skills; all of these soft skills are embedded in the 9-step inventing process.

3. Their eyes are opened to fresh ideas. Who says daydreaming at school is a bad thing? Brainstorming serves as a catalyst for these courses. Innovation is thought provoking and forces students to think outside the box. The more their minds roam, the closer they come to the curriculum!

(Next page: Great characteristics of innovation-based courses 4-9)

About the Author:

Mandi Figlioni is the assistant to the superintendent of Burgettstown Area School District.