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The Bootstrapping Checklist

The Bootstrapping Checklist is a social entrepreneurship network for grades 6-12, guiding students to learn together online and remotely.

Photo of Rich Baxter
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher

Tell us about your idea

The Bootstrapping Checklist is a social-entrepreneurship network for grades 6-12 that helps guide students to learn together online and remotely. The workflow introduces students to project management, innovation and social entrepreneurship and engages students in experiential learning activities related to the STEAM curriculum. 

The power of guided iterative design such as The Bootstrapping Checklist is that it provides the seamless integration between pedagogy and technology needed to accelerate technology adoption by students and facilitate sustained entrepreneurial and socially innovative student projects. It is inherently mobile, social, and cloud based, and it demands that students use validated data to make design decisions.

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What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

I don't love summative evaluations in K-12 - or "final assignments". Unless this type of assessment is 'actionable' by students, it's not particularly useful to them and lends itself more to a performance or fixed mindset, which research tell us is not as useful as a growth mindset. Students need feedback they can use to improve whatever it is that they are working on - and guided iterative design thinking allows for deep and meaningful projects that can be worked on year-over-year by individual students or teams, turning classrooms into project incubators, and schools into community innovation hubs.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

In my teaching practice I have noticed that guided iterative design thinking accelerates technology adoption and is thus necessary for students to excel in this age of mass information. I decided to share my innovation to get the word out as quickly as possible that students can learn and support each other remotely using this type of pedagogy.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

I live in Toronto in a leafy neighbourhood that backs on to some great mountain bike trails. I teach in Scarborough in an exciting and up-and-coming part of the city that is great for a foodie like me. Toronto is growing very quickly and we still have a lot of inequality, youth violence, and poverty. We also have one of the best education systems in the world, and I think teachers should share and scale their best work as quickly as possible.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Naman Mandhan

Welcome to the Challenge, Rich Baxter ! Thank you for sharing your idea with the community. I appreciate your approach towards actionable learning methods.

I would love to hear more about examples of some projects that students have worked on, as well as how the student teams were structured.

I'm also curious to hear your thoughts around mentorship. Could there be opportunities for student teams to be partnered with professionals working in the social entrepreneurship space, or maybe college students?

Photo of Rich Baxter

Naman Mandhan There are a few projects that really stand out, particularly a project called Broadcast Out Loud (BOL) that lasted for 3 years and had 31 students work on it, and Forget the Score, an app that allowed kids around the school district to input their basketball game scores after lunch recess:
BOL really opened my eyes to the potential of schools maintaining student projects year over year. This can be facilitated by each school creating its own "commons" of student group work - and these commons can then be shared among students in the same schools/districts (for privacy and security) - Obviously, the larger the school district, the larger the commons can be, but there is no reason that school districts couldn't partner with other districts and help students share work with each other.

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