Kidizens – A unique civic and economic enrichment platform
Kidizens is an innovative educational environment where students build, inhabit, manage and govern their own LEGO city. We encourage collaborative and guided discovery of real-world concepts while role-playing and having fun in a universe built of LEGOs.
In designing, building, and governing an interactive LEGO society, our ‘kidizens’ are truly engaged as stakeholders and motivated to learn about everything from the intricacies of a city council meeting to the importance of managing a budget. Along the way, they learn important skills, such as problem-solving, decision making, conflict resolution, public speaking and leadership. The goal is simple: Inspire our students to develop the skills they need to learn how societies function and evolve and become the good citizens and responsible future leaders of tomorrow.
At Kidizens, we believe in the benefits of encouraging experiential learning that engages the whole child. Our students learn by exploring, experiencing and addressing real-life situations. It’s a highly interactive, project-based learning environment where they build with LEGOs to think, explore, and act.
KIDIZENS AND NOVARE
Kidizens has deployed Novare to measure the benchmarks of progress for all groups of kids enrolled in various programs, vis-à-vis Kidizens’ common core and national social studies standards. We are able to use the assessment criteria to see how the children progress and map what we need to teach and cover next. This ensures that the program is geared towards the children in this particular group. We are able to upload all their documentation that they create. As part of the program they are producing commercials, PowerPoint presentations and researching about their product market place. Having a central area where everything can be stored allows us to access all the work, and to look more closely at individual pieces. It also allows us to communicate with the students, offering feedback so, adaptations can be made to pieces of work.
The Young Entrepreneurs project at Sunnyvale Middle School is an enrichment elective for middle schoolers, designed to give children a greater experience of entrepreneurship. The ten-week interactive session allows students to generate their own original business ideas, analyze the merits of the business, develop a detailed plan, think through advertising and explore ways to bring product to market. The session culminates with a ‘Shark Tank’ style presentation, where the original business ideas are presented to small panel of judges, who decide if the business plan is feasible and a ‘good investment opportunity’.
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES
The most effective use of Novare is dependent upon the kids AND the teachers using the system. For those students who were able to access Novare, it helped us not only assess the child’s understanding and grasp of concepts but gave a bigger picture of their awareness of business and enthusiasm for the project. The ability to define our own standards of communication, successful collaboration, and common core was unique and very beneficial. We were successfully able to track the work that was completed and the concepts covered, and understood, so we could shape the next class to meet the needs of the kids. Initially, the set-up is slightly time consuming but by working through things regularly work gains momentum. It has certainly benefitted us, as teachers, at Kidizes and we can see the direct impact it has had on the children we teach at Sunnyvale Middle School.