Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Using Kickstarter To Kick Start Innovation (Innovation series part 1)

This year I taught a unit called Technology & Innovation. One of the three essential questions for this unit is, "What triggers innovation?" There are a few ways I thought that one could teach this question:

1) The first is to study famous innovators and their motivations.

2) The second might be to create theoretical innovations on existing things. After all, every innovation is essentially a remix:

3) We could try to make something new.

4) We could design an online "Innovation Station" (like the one featured on the "The General"episode of Techlandia), create Innovation projects and challenge others to try the projects out.

5) Instead of virtually setting up an Innovation Station, we could physically set up a Makerspace and see what others could come up with.

I really like ideas 3 through 5. Because this is my first year with this unit though, I decided tackling idea 3 was enough. I hope to implement ideas 4 and 5 next year.

To get kids thinking about making something new, I turned to Kickstarter for the format and exemplars.

I liked this grouping a lot, and made some minor changes to fit with my kids. The first is that I deleted "Film & Video." We do a lot of film and video in class already, and I didn't want this to be redundant.

I also changed "Theatre" to "Performance Art." This would give my kids more freedom with performing if I could expand a theatre to include anywhere.

I changed "Games" to mean only boardgames and tabletop games. We do a lot of Scratch already, and again I didn't want this to be redundant.

Finally I removed "Technology" because we would create something new using Makey Makeys and Scratch later.

The next thing I did was to look for exemplars for each of these categories that I felt could inspire 9 and 10 year olds. The only category I did not find was "food." So instead we talked about what could be possible.

Here are the exemplars I found. I shared them a category at a time, and after each category had the kids brainstorm ideas of their own. In the next post I'll share what my students created.




Or any Rube Goldberg Machine



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