Rubric for a quality project: 1. Innovation and Creativity
Some days ago, we published an article describing the criteria for the evaluation of Quality Labels (you can see it here). These criteria are not only an instrument for evaluations by third parties: they are also to help us teachers when planning and carrying out our projects.
Quality does not necessarily imply a large complex project; quality is to set objectives which are educationally effective and to be capable of fulfilling them. For this reason, knowing and understanding these criteria can be a useful tool, a list of “qualities” which we should try to introduce into our projects from the beginning, although we are not thinking about applying for a quality label, prize or other recognition later on.
In the next few weeks, we will be publishing a series of articles on the 6 criteria in which we will include a series of indicators as an evaluation scale, not just for assessing and self-assessing the project in its final stages, but also for planning its initial steps.
We will begin with the 1st criterion: “Pedagogical innovation and creativity”. In spite of the title, it is not a question of inventing new teaching methods in every project; as there are a lot of inventions which we can incorporate into our teaching. The idea here is to move a little away from usual classroom practice. We are using tools which are not our everyday ones: computers, internet, working with students from other schools… Let’s take advantage of these circumstances to also introduce methodologies which are different from those used every day..
Every criterion has 6 descriptors which relate to different levels of quality. In the case of pedagogical innovation and creativity, they are as follows:
0. There is no participation from the students or other teachers.
1. Most of the activities are designed by the teachers and carried out by the students. There are no possibilities for the latter to participate more actively.
2. At least some of the activities are designed using methodologies which are different from the traditional lecture. The working methods permit the students to interact with their partners (for example comparing information, working together to obtain a common product…).
3. The project is designed and implemented so that the students interact with their companions and also organize the work in different ways (individually, in small groups, in international teams…).
4. The project encourages interactive and collaborative pedagogy: the learning strategies are clearly identified (information gathering, comparative work, problem solving, collaborative creation: literary, artistic, scientific, journalistic…).
5 . As well as all that is described in point 4, there is a strong relation between academic rigour and creativity in the management and development of the project. There is originality in the chosen topic.
An example of quality in this aspect can be found in the “Cyberdiscovery” project, by M.ª del Carmen Rodríguez, in the IES “Viera y Clavijo” school, San Cristobal de la Laguna, which has been awarded a 2015 eTwinning National Prize. You can see an article on this project, including links to its results, by clicking here.
As you can see, the three main concepts are methodological variety, collaboration and protagonism of the students (beyond that of just being “those who carry out the activities”). At what level would you classify your normal teaching practice? How far do you want to go in your project?
Source of the images: eTwinning National Support Service.