Innovations Class: Take It

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Carmen Fury, Writer

As registration is coming up there are a lot of options, but have you heard of the Innovations class? Just in case you haven’t heard of this class, it is student-led. Mrs. Dauma, the teacher offering the course, serves as a coach or a mentor. She shared, “Students who take the leap into Innovations class will learn to make a difference in the world by being producers of knowledge, not just consumers of it. My goals for the students are that they take ownership of their chosen topic of study (which can be anything!) and can experience a type of learning unlike anything they’ve ever been able to experience in school.”
Mrs. Dauma wanted students to understand that “this is not your traditional high school class. We will delve into what it means to be innovative. Today’s companies expect their employees to be well-versed in creativity and innovation. For this reason, I will put you in the driver seat and give you a measure of freedom to see where your innovative spirit can take you. I am allowing you to ask the questions AND find the answers. I’ll just be here to help keep you on track and help you find the resources you need. This course will combine theory and experiential assignments to introduce students to the main concepts of creativity and innovation. As a result, students should have a greater understanding of and appreciation for the creative/innovative processes and be better able to harness and direct those forces for themselves and others.”
What started her drive for the class was her own personal experience. “When I was in high school, I was a part of my school’s gifted program, which culminated with seniors being able to create yearlong Independent Study projects. These were intense research projects that included – among more traditional research project components – each of us coordinating a panel discussion and a field trip related to our project. That year opened my eyes to all that experiential education and student choice could bring to a student’s experience, and when I became a teacher, I knew that I wanted to be involved in those sorts of opportunities. For ten years, at Discovery Middle School, I taught a class like Innovations which was absolutely amazing. The students blew me away every year with their ideas, initiative, and creativity. Madison City Schools visited a school in Atlanta several years ago that had a class called “Innovations” that was very much like my DMS class, and they asked me if I’d be interested in teaching it, so of course, I jumped at the chance!”
Statistics show that out of 46 students, 65.2% of them show some interest in taking a class like this. What some students have to said is that “I want to acquire more leadership skills and abilities” and “I feel it would benefit me to learn from my peers.”
The other 34.8% of students worried that students couldn’t handle this kind of class. Some of them wouldn’t take a class like this “because it would be unorganized and chaotic, regardless of how responsible the student leading is” and “I think that there is too much potential for the class to get off-topic and not get any work done.”
Personally, I think that this class can benefit a lot of students, especially with getting them out of the school walls. Another benefit of this class, I believe, is that this class can help with cooperation among classmates. This can also look really good on college resumes (if you’re into that).
If you are as interested as I am in this class, request this semester-long class in your I-NOW.