As the new year begins, the ESC is excited to launch Project Innovation
- a program to develop educators' use of design thinking and problem-based learning through inquiry-based, hands-on learning experiences for their students. Led by Rob Niedermeyer, the ESC's science & STEM specialist, and B.J. Thaman, ESC instructional technology coordinator, it intends to help teachers see STEM as not only a content area, but a pedagogy, through which they can teach differently and engage students in new ways while providing better learning experiences.
Project Innovation provides multiple options to meet district and school needs.
- Explore | ESC staff lead professional development, introducing design thinking in the classroom, and facilitating the use of STEM equipment.
- Create | ESC staff collaborate with teachers, creating engaging, standards-driven lessons/units that utilize STEM equipment ranging from 1-2 days to 1-2 weeks.
- Inspire | ESC staff support districts/schools creating specific courses, pathways, and/or innovation spaces within their current school schedule, building, or district.
The program uses a variety of equipment to engage educators and students including, but not limited to, laser cutters, 3D printers, vinyl cutters, 3D doodler pens, zSpace, Makey Makey, low cost options such as cardboard, and more. This also gives districts and schools the opportunity to use equipment in a classroom setting to see if it meets school needs prior to making their own purchases.
Project Innovation is funded through a federal COVID grant and is being provided at no cost to ESC member districts
. It is currently being utilized in districts such as Buckeye Valley Local Schools, Dublin City Schools, Fairbanks Local Schools, Lancaster City Schools, and ESC alternative education programming (Ventures Academy and Ventures II).