Lake Shore Central School District’s Curious Case of the World 2017 Results and Learning Outcomes.

Overview

Lake Shore CSD participated in a Belouga x What If...?360 curosity based workshop in October 2017, with a focus on sparking creativity among students through global education. What If...?360, is a curosity learning process that turns ideas into actions through a collaboration, starting with an individuals curiosities and leading to collaboratively designed action plans. Belouga is a global web based platform used by teachers in 70+ countries to have their classrooms connected and collaborating with peers around the world.

The DNA of Belouga surrounds curiosity by providing students and teachers the ability to learn about the world, with the world. Thus, the What If...?360 method is a key component of the educational experience on Belouga.

The Lake Shore CSD workshop took place over two days, with a total of 60 students and 16 educators (teachers, principals, super intendents and tech integration specialists) from the district participating. Both students and teachers were introduced to the What If...?360 approach and then able to excerise these skills in relation to global education and collaboration through Belouga.

"A key shift in curiosity-based learning is in the role of the teacher. The instructor changes from the traditional role of director/dictator to one as a facilitator of the students’ learning process. Additionally they function as a peer and consequently as a co-learner in the group sessions."
Bussakorn Binson, "Curiosity-based learning (CBL) program" US-China Education Review, ISSN 1548-6613, USADec. 2009, Volume 6, No. 12 (Serial No.61)
Traditionl Learning Visual Diagram Curiosity Based Learning Visual Diagram

The What if...?360's process starts with curiosity, with the direction of the conversation and topic coming from its participants. Once a topic is identified, it takes participants down collaborative pathways of empathy in order to better understand and address problems. This opens communication and creates new channels for cross –sector and cross – generational communication.

The outcomes and actions from this process are more sustainable because they are self-generated suggestions rather then top- down directives, ultimately using a simple, dynamic process to address complex problems.

The process is broken down into 8 steps:

  1. Get Curious
  2. Create What if...?360 Questions
  3. Form Breakout Groups
  4. Idea Dump
  5. Free Flowing Discussion
  6. Design Action Steps
  7. Share Your Actions, Insights and Ideas
  8. Take Action!

This process is then facilitated throughout Belouga for teachers and students to exercise when communicating and collaborating with their peers around the world.

Student

Experience

Students took part in the morning sessions, learning about the What If...?360 8-Step Curiosity-Based Learning Process to explore their individual curiosities.

  • Students shared their thoughts on the power and potential of curiosity
  • The conversation began with "What if broccoli tasted like chocolate and, chocolate tasted like broccoli?"

During the Wi?360 8-Step CBL Process students designed their own homework by:

  • Starting with their individual curiosities
  • Curating a consensus-driven "What If...?" question collaboratively designing sequential action
  • Identifying what traditional school subjects they can link their homework too and how they can use Belouga to share their curiosity to collaborate with students around the world on personalized learning based projects
Students with a poster

Teacher

Experience

The afternoon sessions were dedicated to the teachers, where they learned about the What If...?360 8-Step Curiosity Based Learning Process. The goal was to showcase how they can go from a point of personal curiosity to collaboratively designed lessons that would connect their classrooms with a classroom in another country in relevant, student-centered learning using Belouga.

Throughout the workshop teachers observed and interacted with the students going through the What If...?360 8-Step Curiosity Based Learning Process and an in-depth look into Belouga and how they can apply it to their everyday teaching objectives

During the Wi?360 8-Step CBL Process teachers designed a Belouga activity by:

  • starting with their individual curiosities
  • curating a consensus-driven "What If...?" question
  • collaboratively designing sequential action-steps detailing what they need to do starting from that day to global engagement with their lesson on Belouga

After going through the Wi?360 CBL Process, educators looked throughthe papers and artifacts from the students' workshops to debrief, connect, and develop new ideas to use in classrooms

Teachers at a Belouga/What if...? Conference

Takeaway

During the two day engagement, students and educators were left with Curiosity-Based Learning tools to create content, do lessons connected to State standards, and collaborative, student-designed homework.

In addition, teachers on-boarded their students onto Belouga to begin taking these tools and collaborating with other students around the world. Within one week of the workshop 19 teachers in the district were using Belouga in their classrooms made up of a total of 534 students.

The Takeaway: By the Numbers
Twitter posts showcasing Belouga & What If 360...?

"This curiosity based learning experience allowed our students' curiosities and interests to shine. They were engaged with the What If process from start to finish while collaborating, questioning, and making connections to their learning. We were amazed by what they produced during the session. Our goal is to develop global citizenship in our students and provide them with opportunities to take their learning beyond the walls of their school. Getting our classrooms using the Belouga platform helps support this in many ways. Students were given the question, "what if your curiosity can change the world?" Through Belouga they can do just that and take their learning from "what if?" to "what's next?"

Michael Drezek

District Technology Integrator
Lake Shore Central School District

"The reaction of everyone in attendance was overwhelming excitement and promise! We watched as our learners were guided through a process that engaged them in sharing their curiosities and stretching their thinking as they collaborated with others. The students met their new favorite author– and left knowing that THEY have the power to make a DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! Belouga is the platform that empowers our learners to impact the lives of children in other countries. Our students are curious learners who have only just begun this journey to open their minds and broaden their understanding of the world around them!"

Mrs. MaryBeth Brumagin

Former 5th Grade Teacher, District Technology Consultant
Belouga Community Lead at Lake Shore Central School District

Interested in bringing a Belouga workshop to your school?