Due to the lack of gender equality in STEM fields, this program aims to teach boys and girls science through hands-on projects, while introducing engineering experiences in their educational path. Moreover, this project wants to increase students curiosity and passion about STEM subjects while having fun learning about them. So the pillars of Tech Projects are curiosity, passion and fun, because without these three there is no motivation, and therefore, the interest is null.
So, in 2016 Tech Projects was born, which soon became a project and a revolutionary subject within CIC batxillerats. With help form the school and its students, in 2018 Tech Projects got the support of MIT (Edgerton center) and together, managed to develop a cross-cutting project where science, art and engineering meet.
In 2016, a teacher from CIC batxillerats decided to change the way she taught her physics class and started offering Tech Projects as an optative subject to her senior year high school students. This subject uses a project-based learning methodology, where students will have to apply their knowledge in physics and electronics in order to design and develop a project.
Throughout the academic year, students meet twice a week for a 2h sessions to bring their most bizarre and creative ideas to life, while rediscovering their curiosity and improving teamwork and cooperation. In addition, this students have the opportunity to share and get help for their projects from mentors from the Edgerton Center of MIT.
As years went by, CIC institution realized that this learning experience should not be only limited to STEM-oriented students, but to all pupils regardless of age or educational path. So, with the cooperation of Ed Moriarty and the Edgerton center, MIT-CIC hackathons began, offering students from different high-schools a 3-10 days experience designing, building and improving a project of their choice.
Tech Project intends to be a place where students have to use all the knowledge they have in order to develop their projects and solve the problems they might find while doing it. While applying all their knowledge, students will be using H.O.T.S ( High Order Thinking Skills), a theory developed by Blooms in 1957.
But, what exactly do we mean by “higher order thinking skills”? “HOTS”, as they are sometimes called, are complex cognitive skills involving analysis, evaluation, synthesis, judgment, and creativity. Higher-order thinking requires students to go beyond simply memorizing facts. Instead, students are expected to do something with the information they are learning. This may mean identifying relationships between ideas, combining and applying concepts to solve a novel problem, or generating entirely new ideas based on what they have learned.
However you define higher-order thinking, the goal is to get students to move beyond simply recalling facts on demand and start using knowledge in complex ways.
Higher-order thinking is an important component of 21st Century Skills. These are the skills that are most in-demand in the Knowledge Economy. They include:
- Learning skills: Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.
- Literacy skills: Information literacy, media literacy, and technology literacy.
- Life skills: Flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity, and social skills.
All of these skills are grounded in higher-order thinking. For example, media literacy requires students to be able to evaluate sources of information, determine which sources and facts are credible, and put new information into context with other information. Creativity is rooted in the ability to synthesize information from different sources, evaluate different ideas, and combine concepts in new ways. 21st Century Skills are, fundamentally, different ways of combining and expressing higher-order thinking skills.
Developing these skills, including the ability to combine different styles of thinking and determine which cognitive skills are most appropriate for the task at hand, will prepare students for the demands of the 21st-Century.
It will also give them the tools they need to become lifelong learners, participate fully as citizens in our democracy, make positive connections with others, and reach their personal goals.
- Armstrong, Patricia. “Bloom’s Taxonomy.” Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University, 13 Aug. 2018.
- Bloom, Benjamin Samuel. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: David McKay, 1956.