‘Make innovation part of curriculum’
Destination Imagination (DI), a US-based leading educational nonprofit organisation, is all set to inspire and equip students in the UAE to become the next generation of innovators and leaders. The institute has partnered with Compass International, Dubai, to connect students to opportunities emerging in the global digital economy.
The most popular education offering is the Challenge Programme, where student teams solve open-ended STEM, arts and service learning challenges and present their solutions to trained appraisers.
Michael Flachbart, MD of Development & Strategic Initiatives, Destination Imagination, said his organisation develops challenges that focus on skill-building and problem-solving, while fostering a culture of critical thinking and decision making. These skills, when combined, aim to cultivate 21st-century learning, forward thinking global citizens who are aptly equipped and prepared to deal with a rapidly changing future.
Destination Imagination is composed of three different tasks: Team Challenge, Instant Challenge, and Team Choice Elements. The Team Challenge features a given prompt in seven diverse subjects from Performing Arts to Engineering. All challenges, however, include a performance, which helps inculcate inter-disciplinary learning.
Young innovators spend two to three months developing a solution to the prompt, and present their final solution during the national competition.
Moreover, Instant Challenges are given to participants on the spot and focus on skill-building. Lastly, Team Choice Elements compel students to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, which not only fosters analytical thinking within pupils, but also establishes a culture of feedback, critical response, and constructive criticism.
More than twenty schools around Dubai have already confirmed their participation in Destination Imagination challenges. The first challenge will take place in January 2017.
Noora Saif Alamimi Almuhiri, Secretary General of Dubai Education Zone, who also hosted the event in her Umm Suqeim Model School, said, “Last year, the government launched the national programme to integrate innovation into curriculum of public and private education institutes. This is our bit to contribute towards the national agenda. I truly believe that Destination Imagination would help all students in the UAE to become better innovators and take the nation to new heights.”