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Introduction to CEC

Posted by phourigan on May 21, 2010

I was asked to put together a course description for next year.  I’ll be working twice per seven day cycle with our 8th graders.  If you have comments, please share.

CEC class (Challenge, Exploration, Creativity) challenges students to dive deeper into subject area knowledge, solve problems and share their work and experiences with students around the world through the innovative use of technology.

Students learn to apply 21st century skills to essential questions rooted in the core curriculum.  Project parameters do not dictate a particular solution; instead, students tackle these essential questions by applying multiple learning strategies, engaging in problem solving, making global connections and producing original and creative solutions.

Creative work must meet the project requirements and detailed rubrics track progress and measure the effectiveness of the end product.

The Internet provides factual knowledge at a moment’s notice and many traditional projects suffer by asking students to regurgitate facts and do not encourage creative thinking or problem solving.  CEC approaches learning with the understanding that all facts are available – students must use those facts to create a new product that demonstrates higher order thinking, creativity and innovation.


Old project: Write a paper that discusses symbolism in Animal Farm.

Pre-Internet, students researched the characters to find their real-life analogues and conducted further research to construct a historical context for those figures.  The student wrote the paper, turned it in to the teacher and the project ended.

Post-Internet, students type “symbolism in Animal Farm” into Google, find a paper that discusses the symbolism in Animal Farm, and spend several hours trying to turn the paper into their own words.

New project:

Essential question: “Why do we still read Animal Farm today?”

The Challenge: Retell the Animal Farm story in a way our lower school students will understand.

Acceptable solutions:

Student created comic book

Student created movie

Student created video book review

Student created trading card game

Assessment: Did our lower school students “Get it”?  Were deadlines met?

Global connectivity:

Post student work on the Internet

Students blog their experiences


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