The suspense is killing us! We can’t wait for this year’s Beakerhead Summer Intensive! We caught up with the teacher extraordinaire who ran the course last year, Jovan Vujinovic. Is he dying to get started too?! (psst – he’s back).
Beakerhead: What are you looking forward to the most?
Jovan: There are a lot of things that I am excited about when it comes to the summer intensive but if I need to drill down to one thing it has to be the student energy that is generated during those three weeks. You have students who, every day, are fully immersed in a project that they design and create. My role, as teacher, is to be guide and sounding board. The atmosphere is unique and powerful; you can feel the creativity and innovation in the group.
Beakerhead: What are you hoping to improve upon, if anything, based up what you learned last year?
Jovan: Any time you facilitate a project you look to make improvements. Our students from last year’s intensive had some excellent feedback and we have listened. The three weeks will see some exciting upgrades. The cool thing about this project is that it is student driven so we are deliberately going to increase exposure about the course with a speaker series. I think this exposure will both set the stage for students, and generate more student interest. The goal is to attract students with diverse skill sets. In a student-driven project, having a large tool box of skills is directly related to the overall experience will enrich the outcome for all students.
Beakerhead: Will the course be run again at the CBE’s Career and Technology Centre?
Jovan: Yes. We are very fortunate to be back at the Career & Technology Center at Lord Shaughnessy High School. This is a dynamic venue that provides different spaces for designing and creating using authentic tools. I think that is one of the key aspects to this experience – real tools and real skills!
Beakerhead: How does this experience tie into Alberta’s educational vision?
Jovan: This is a great question! One part of the Beakerhead Summer Intensive is that each student has the opportunity to earn three credits toward high school completion (in career and technology studies). Another aspect of the experience is its interdisciplinary approach to learning. If we look at Inspiring Education – Alberta’s Vision for Education there are an identified set of competencies that by 2030 an educated Albertan should be able to demonstrate.
* the ability to know how to (they) learn
* think critically, identify and solve complex problems
* manage information
* create opportunities
* apply multiple literacies
* demonstrate communication skills
* global cultural understandings
* the ability to identify and apply career and life skills
During the Summer Intensive students act as co-designers of their learning; they are positioned to develop these competencies during every facet of the project. To see students grow and develop their skills is exciting but what is more rewarding is to see that at the end of the Summer Intensive students are able to identify these same skills as areas where they have grown. Students last year viewed the Summer Intensive as a place where much of what they learned in the school year was now applicable. They are then excited to return to school in September and employ these developed skills.
We couldn’t be more jazzed to have Jovan back at the helm. If you know a student who may be interested in participating (how could you not after getting to know this teacher?) Check it out!
The Beakerhead Summer Intensive will take place over 14 days in July from July 3 – 24, with a project visioning session scheduled for June 21. Sign up and register here.
After last year’s success, CBE Teacher & Learning Leader, Jovan Vujinovic, will again teach the Summer Intensive course. He has a passion for project-based teaching, technology integration and seeking out innovative ways to empower his students to take ownership of their own applied learning.
by Stacey Ibach