Think back on your experience learning science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Not just the learning you did in school—but in all those different places where real learning happened for you…in a library, a lab, a park, a museum, a kitchen. What if you could create an experience like that, something that helps students get excited about math or science? Maybe it helps them understand something they see all the time. Maybe it explains why the world is as it is, or what the world could be.
At the WW Academy, we’re out to change teaching by redesigning learning. And we’re looking for people to join us in our mission.
So here’s the challenge: Identify what worked really well in your moments of real learning about STEM, and use your insights to fix what didn’t work. Design a great way for middle or high school students to learn an essential STEM skill or understanding.
The experience you design could happen in school (perhaps by helping students learn algebraic thinking in the lunchroom), or on the way (for example, in a school bus that builds growth mindset), or somewhere else entirely (astrophysics at the food truck?).
You may submit your solution in any format you choose: in a video, a physical prototype, a website, an annotated sketch—or something else entirely.
A compelling solution…
- will show, not tell. (Go visual—not just words and numbers!)
- will address the needs and values of the students you’re designing for.
- does not have to be polished! We’re looking for your imagination and thoughtfulness, what you come up with when you’re having what Seymour Papert calls hard fun.
Learn more here about how to submit your solution and other competition details. Your solution could win you up to a full scholarship to the WW Academy.
Your STEM learning design could earn you up to a full scholarship to the most innovative new graduate school of education in the country!
School needs a redesign. It’s too much memorizing and not enough making. Too much following directions, and not enough figuring out where you want to go. Too much note-taking and not enough sense-making.
The Woodrow Wilson Academy was created to give new teachers the tools to make a better version of school—a place where learning looks more like play, where students have their own reasons for the work they do, where the content they learn connects the most beautiful parts of math and science to what matters in the world.
At the Academy, teacher candidates learn in the same way they’re going to teach:
- Outcomes-driven: Every part of our program focuses on building a set of high-impact skills and understandings, the competencies that teachers need to start out successful and to keep getting better over time.
- Self-paced: WW Academy students earn a M.Ed. and teaching license as soon they’ve shown that they’ve developed these competencies, not because they’ve spent a certain amount of time in the program.
- Project-based: Instead of taking courses, WW Academy students learn through challenges—a kind of scenario-based learning that builds skills by confronting you with the the real problems teachers face.
- Real practice: From the beginning of the program, Academy students are continually experimenting: trying out ideas with young people, in traditional classrooms—as well as museums, maker-spaces, and other out-of-school contexts.
One of the key competencies the Academy teaches is design thinking—because we recognize that teachers are always designing: lesson plans and curricular units; classroom spaces and communities; the way they get their students working together and the partnerships they build with parents.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to teach like a designer—if you think you could help us build a future of learning that’s better than anything we’ve got so far—then here’s your chance to prove it.
Your learning design could be anything and take place anywhere. Feel free to show rather than tell—more graphics, fewer words. The goal is to show us how you think, so your presentation doesn’t have to be slick or polished. (We’re designers: everything is a prototype!) Above all, create a learning experience for middle or high school students, because a real-life group of students will decide the winner of the competition.
The competition deadline is January 31. Learn more about the details here.
Think big. Be creative. Make it a challenge—hard fun!
Ready. Set. Design.