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2 Posts authored by: Shani Fisher Employee

This afternoon, Jeffrey Young of The Chronicle of Higher Education, interviewed Christine Ortiz, dean of education at MIT, as a follow up to the article he wrote last month on a new nonprofit university she is leaving MIT to start, that provides students with a well-structured global education experience in a non-traditional format.  She shared some of her interdisciplinary vision via a slide that highlighted personalized learning in the knowledge domain, core science and engineering, and humanities, arts and social sciences (visualization credited to Jason Chuang).  Ortiz emphasized students being engaged, passionate, and that they would have flexibility in their day.  She sees the new classroom as focused on project-based learning and investigation to advance students to higher levels of learning, led by mentors (more one-on-one interactions versus standard lectures). The curriculum will not only be STEM but will incorporate the humanities, and it will have accreditation in place to insure quality. 


How do you create global educational experiences in your classroom? What project based learning assignments have you done successfully? If you’re looking to incorporate more active learning in your economics classroom, Worth Economics supports your efforts with EconED Active, a site dedicated to open resources for active learning in your classroom.  And follow our author Eric Chiang and Marketing Manager Thomas Digiano  as they travel around the world to gather ideas for taking your Principles of Economics course global. Watch for how this Around the World feature gets incorporated in Chiang's upcoming book, Economics: Principles for a Changing World 4e.

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In a plenary session on the first full day of events at SXSWedu, Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, focused participants on meeting the needs of every learner we touch.  The crowd cheered when she encouraged us to understand that people think differently and we need to bridge the gap between the field and academics.  “A lot of my work has been observation. Observation is a part of science.”  She went on to say, “When I learned how my visual thinking was different from verbal thinking, it gave me insight into how different people’s brains approach problem solving. If I don’t have a picture, I don’t have a thought.”  Drawing from her observations in the field, she cited her exposure to different experiences that created opportunities that some labeled students aren’t getting to. "How did I find my passion? I was exposed to it."  She showed real concern for obstacles education creates for students, like a student who was denied taking a biology class that she really wanted to take because she wasn’t able to first pass her algebra class. 


The talk really left me thinking—what are we trying to accomplish in the economics classroom?  Are we preparing materials for different kinds of thinkers as we create our lessons?  Are there enough visuals to encourage the visual learners and enough content to support the language-based thinkers?  And, are we exposing students to enough economics to get them interested in the field?