Lifelong learning and success for girls
This post uses the visible thinking routine, Connect Extend Challenge to connect innovative ideas about lifelong learning, entrepreneurial learning and developing technological confidence in girls within a short-term Minimester environment.
Developing incentives for girls to think about taking up technology careers
The recent Wildypreneurs Year 9 Minimester event (see post) made me notice the connections between firstly, the benefits of entrepreneurial learning and educating girls to have confidence in business enterprise and secondly, the link to technological innovation in designing mobile apps, 3D prototypes and creative digital communication.
As Mark Dodson, Professor of Innovation Studies at the University of Queensland Business School who has recently completed a research article on Women in Technology for the World Economic Forum said on the ABC,
… once it becomes clearer that you can use technology for good, whether in companies or in government or in charities and NGOs or whatever, then girls will become more attracted to it. Girls want to make a difference with their working career, and that is what would motivate them to come into technology careers.
Mark’s conversation on the ABC’s radio program Future Tense with Antony Funnell highlighted this connection of STEAM and business enterprise and the need for schools to provide female business role models. The Wildypreneurs Year 9 Minimester extended this idea by inviting community business mentors to listen to the students’ pitches.
I think what is happening in the university sector and in the business schools sector is there’s a much greater focus nowadays on encouraging entrepreneurship. The study, research into entrepreneurship and the teaching of entrepreneurship has really increased over recent years, and a lot of that entrepreneurship is focused on social issues, social entrepreneurship, which is very attractive to women particularly who want to make that difference to the world. But you also see many more women coming through and teaching other women about entrepreneurs,…
Extending this connection between enterprise and innovation, the Mitchell Institute report, The Paradigm Shifters: Entrepreneurial Learning in Schools notes that,
The world is changing. Young people need more than knowledge and basic skills to thrive in today’s complex, global community.
It has become widely accepted that capabilities like creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and persistence are what students need to go on to future success. World-leading education expert, Professor Yong Zhao puts it like this:
Students need to be able to think like entrepreneurs: resourceful, flexible, creative and global.
Entrepreneurial learning can help all students be their best
We found that entrepreneurial learning can help grow the capabilities that are needed for lifelong success. By identifying and solving problems, communicating ideas and taking more control of their learning, students found more relevance in their education and experienced impact that stretched beyond assessment marks.
Entrepreneurial learning is a way of grouping skills and capabilities to position secondary students for success. It aims to cultivate mindsets and capabilities needed to identify and respond to new opportunities and problems, through creating artefacts for authentic audiences, real-world learning and iterative experimentation (Lackéus 2015).
The Minimester maximised student engagement and motivation
The Wildypreneures Minimester was a product orientated week of immersion that taught design thinking and gave exclusive attention to students and their business proposals. Students were guided and self-directed to produce a business pitch and create an exhibit of their unique business idea. Taking inspiration from the Minimesters at Avenues World School, it provided…
further opportunities for students to explore areas beyond the
regular curriculum, … this opportunity to explore the unknown and find new interests builds confidence …
The enthusiasm and drive shown by the students during the Wildypreneurs Year 9 Minimester demonstrated how girls embrace collaboration, and opportunities to be self-directed, to engage in discussions with mentors and their persistence to achieve success. The challenge will be to extend these skills of enterprise and innovation. As the Mitchell Institute pointed out, to:
Develop more personalised education experiences so each person can pursue passions and talents to excel in unique ways.
Engage in creative and entrepreneurial product-oriented learning experiences that can, in authentic ways, benefit local and global communities.
Cultivate and prototype new approaches, processes and or products.
Minimester Avenues World School (Finding Your Passion, page 17)