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How to implement an interdisciplinary PBL high school program?

Innovation Institute

Shanghai, China
Innovation Institute at Shanghai American School is a two-year interdisciplinary project-based learning program in high school wherein students grapple with a series of open-ended, complex questions that address some of humanity’s most pressing problems through collaborative and creative processes.
Introduction

Innovation Institute

“Every major project we had was a ride of its own. No ride was the same as any others, because of different group mates, different objectives, and different end products. After finishing each project, there's a feeling that 'Hey, I did this!' that I can sort of get when I do well on something like a test, but not really. That's because my group and I had made something tangible, like a coffee table book or a film or board game. I feel satisfied knowing all the work that goes into something like that. Sure, it feels good when you ace a test, but that's just me feeling great about my grades. These projects make a person feel good about themselves. ”

Junior Student, 2017 (“graduate” of Innovation Institute)

INTRODUCTION

What is Innovation Institute ?

Innovation Institute at Shanghai American School is a two-year interdisciplinary project-based learning program wherein students grapple with a series of open-ended, complex questions that address some of humanity’s most pressing problems through collaborative and creative processes. It is through each area’s unique content, the application of skills, and the meaningful integration points between disciplines that Institute students develop learning skills needed to generate, evolve, and refine creative solutions to some of the challenges facing modern society.

In an increasingly globalized and technological world, leaders in all areas acknowledge that mastery in critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and communication are essential to our ability to successfully respond to current and future challenges.   

Innovation Institute helps students to develop 21st century learning skills (sometimes called 21st century competencies or the 4C's). The program was developed by founding teachers and an administrator who felt strongly that students would benefit from an engaging, interdisciplinary, project-based learning environment.

This program incorporates 4 courses in both grade 9 and grade 10: English, science, social studies, and a design course that is a fine arts elective.

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Innovation Overview
13 - 16
Age Group
245
Children/Users
1
Country
2014
Established
Not-for-profit
Organisation
1 652
Views
Tips for implementation
What is needed? Teachers willing to collaborate to develop and implement interdisciplinary projects for students. Also, students interested in collaborating and willing to take a risk by learning in a flexible learning environment that incorporates discipline-specific learning with interdisciplinary PBL.
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HundrED Review
Innovativeness

Innovation Institute moves away from traditional teaching methods, creating an innovative space for students to learn.

Impact

Innovation Institute gives students the opportunity to develop both academically and personally. Students are able to take control of their own learning and are consequently fully engaged in their education.

Scalability

Innovation Institute are happy to be contacted about their program.

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Milestones

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Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

00
Develop a Program (Optional)
Can you do interdisciplinary project-based learning within your existing structure? Or do you need to create a new structure in order to make it happen?
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01
Backwards Design to Develop a Project
Teachers collaborate to backwards design to develop an interdisciplinary project.
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02
Project Launch
Plan an Engaging Project Launch
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03
Foundational Learning
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04
Incubation
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05
Iteration
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