Cultivating Curious Minds Blog

This blog on the Cultivating Curious Minds website provides information, strategies technology tools, and resources for educators on increasing innovation in the classroom, international education, and effective professional development

Adventures in Passion Projects: The Background

Since attending the Shekou Summit in Shenzhen in September last year, and hearing Jenny Mageira speak the concept of Passion Projects, I have been intrigued by the idea. As the ICT Educational Specialist at my current school, with seven years experiences teaching Technology and Design, I have ample experience in the arena of Problem and Project-Based learning. However, Passion Projects delve deeper into these concepts. The idea of Passion-Based learning, to my interpretation, involves incorporating student passions into the existing curriculum as a means of fostering curiosity and deeper meaning in our students.

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While Problem and Project-Based learning engage students in the learning process by having them seek answers to real-world problems or issues, Passion Projects, in contrast, have them focus on exploring their passions, and result in students subsequently shifting from becoming problem solvers to problem solvers.

As I delved more into the idea of Passion Projects, I stumbled upon Jennifer Gonzales Podcast Episode where she interviews Don Wettrick regarding his Innovation Class.

This episode, along with George Couros's book The Innovators Mindset, inspired me to modify my curriculum to incorporate a student-driven Passion Project. In the Ontario Curriculum, Secondary School students complete a 30% Culminating Project that must assess all of the overall curriculum outcomes and can include a project or exam or a combination of both.

In my Grade 11 Communications Technology class I always opt for a project but this time I decided to have students choose something they are passionate about and find a real-world issue or problem to solve using their passion.

In order to adhere to my curriculum outcomes, students must present their solution in the form of Communications Technology of their choice and must follow and document the steps of the design process in the form of an e-portfolio.

As this is a daunting task, I am incorporating "Passion Project Fridays" into my classes for the remainder of the term and leaving three weeks at the end of the semester for students to fully focus on their Passion Project.

Stay tuned next Friday for an overview of the assignment and details on the introductory lesson for student Passion Projects.

Have you incorporated passion projects into your classroom? Please comment below! WIth suggestions, success stories or tips! For my FREE guide to starting a Passion Project with assignment guidelines, rubric and lesson plan templates, please subscribe to my mailing list.