Some of the big questions I've worked with scientists, artists, educators, and researchers on:
How can we engage non-credit learners in online environments?
I'm currently developing a course for Extension employees on motivating and engaging online learners. It's in a "preview" session now and I'm looking forward to making some changes and additions before re-launching in October.
How can we support k-12 teachers in discovering what’s possible through 1:1 technology initiatives?
Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum and the MINNovate Teacher Implementation Network
The Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum is an initiative to promote the creation of open digital curriculum aligned to Minnesota standards. I served as a project facilitator for the development of six courses.
MINNovate is a program built from an Education Minnesota Impact Grant to support MPCC's work with facilitation by the University of Minnesota LT media.lab. It was designed to begin a discussion of best practices in collaborative digital curriculum use. I served as an implementation network mentor.
How can we engage students, especially non-traditional learners, more fully in core curriculum concepts?
Kinesthetically-engaged teaching approaches
Kinesthetic learning allows students to extending and applying their knowledge. They process information while relating to one another, expressing their own ideas, and doing something active while learning. I’ve taught the water cycle through modern dance fundamentals and creative movement, proportional reasoning through post-modern “chance dance,” French through ballet, and more! I also developed a creative movement tour of Franconia Sculpture Park in which students learn about the elements and principles of art, then translate topics such as line, shape, movement, and emotions into performance based movements related to the sculptures they interact with. This allowed the the park to accommodate full grade levels of students while still achieving a deep level of engagement.
How can we engage residents in bettering their community?
New methods for community dialogue
I started a cross-community conversation by meeting people where they are -- like classrooms, meetings, coffee hours, a summer food program -- and through one-on-one chats over coffee. My goal was to empower others by asking and validating their ideas. It led to the forthcoming development of a “pocket park” in a prominent downtown lot after having been vacant and ignored for more than six years.
How can we come together to connect with other community members?
Invitations to play
Even adults need play. It's an opportunity to take ourselves less seriously, a chance to let our guard down, and a moment to connect with someone on a personal level. I've created experiences that invite passers-by to take off their shoes and paint with their feet, and event-goers to walk contemplatively through a contemporary sculpture park with a follow-the-leader approach and gather for an after-dark circle dance while playing with glow sticks.
Read more about Andrea's experience.