Let's expand entrepreneurship education from its current enterprise development focus to one that encourages students to learn and practice a process that will help them make better informed decisions regarding any change scenario in their lives.
We just finished our first semester of teaching the Ice House Entrepreneurship Mindset (IHEM) program to a small group of students in Battle Creek (MI) who dropped out of high school and are now pursuing their diplomas virtually. That class not only offered the online content created by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative with Kauffman Foundation funding but also encouraged students to design, carry-out and evaluate career-related, or other, projects of their choosing.
The early results in offering a course that combines student designed projects with learning about the principles underlying the entrepreneurship mindset are very encouraging. Students were actively engaged early in the semester as they investigated and designed projects that interested them. And then as they began to implement those projects, we used the online entrepreneurship mindset content to reinforce and amplify the positive and negative aspects of their efforts.
Please see the attached file representing the course's syllabus which has been designed to run next Fall (2012) as a dual credit high school class offered by our local community college.
We, the co-facilitators of the IHEM program in Battle Creek, think the formula (entrepreneurship mindset content combined with student directed projects) is one of the better ways to teach critical thinking skills to young people. We would love to work with others who embrace the same vision as we continue to tweak and expand the IHEM network.
We can only dream of the possibilities in collaborating with other sites around the world that offer the same type of course. For instance, imagine a high school student in Battle Creek (MI) who is interested in becoming an artist being mentored by a practicing sculpture artist in Santa Fe. Or how about multiple sites of Ice House students collaborating on a team project that investigates and designs alternative scenarios to a social need in one, or more, of their communities.
We are new to OpenIDEO, but the high level of participation in the challenges is remarkable and exciting. We look forward to your response to this invitation.