A Design Challenge Approach to Learning

A Design Challenge Approach to Learning – 3 Day Technology Program

27, 28, 29 May 2011

This 3-day Technology program course, led by Technology Master Learning Facilitators (MLF) Rrezarta Pllana, Nehat Duraku, and Ilir Mazreku, and supported by technology expert Sandie Kendall, brought together 24 Technology teachers – School Based Learning Facilitators (SBLF) from 24 Basic Education Program lead schools. This event marked the certification phase for the SBLFs, who will transfer their learning experiences to their colleagues and students in their respective schools.

The workshop opened with a brief presentation by Sandie Kendall on the significance of the Design Challenge learning approach, why and how it works.  The ensuing hands-on activities required participants to create a Jinx Frame, initiate the design process for a theme park ride/tourist attraction and use the Computer Control Box to program this ride.

A day-and-a-half process, the ride project actively engaged the participants in team work efforts to build a structure that required a cross-subject combination of skills and competences.  Each group presentation included the preliminary planning, role-sharing, design and outlining, programming and demonstration phases.  The exciting process of programming and making the machines move from the computer through the control box was a pleasant learning experience for all present.  The following self-assessment and peer assessment (in pairs) process allowed everyone to vocalize their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the need for improvement.

The competences used, such as creativity and team work, and curriculum requirements were discussed, and participants were asked to identify practical activities from the textbooks, which they can do with their students in class.  They also explored 21st century equipment for schools, such as the Lego Robot, the ‘Science 300’ set, the Robotic Arm, and PLC systems.

The teachers agreed to initiate the Association of Technology Teachers, which the Basic Education Program offered to support.