Neosho School District, which serves 4,700 K-12 students in rural Missouri, has embraced project-based and digital learning at every grade level. While students design and create in-school makerspaces and STEM labs, many projects serve the larger community.
For example, fourth graders wanted to raise money for a local animal shelter. They used online software to design doghouses, built one of their models, and tested it out (using dog treats) with some of the shelter’s clients. Second graders used tablets, greenscreens, and digital publishing tools to create promotional videos and flyers for a flower festival and farmer’s market. For a middle school English language arts and social studies project, students created digital videos, infographics, and websites about how to clean up a local park, and then presented to community leaders. Meanwhile, students at the alternative high school are creating virtual reality tours for some of those same parks. In a junior high innovation lab, students design products on their laptops, build prototypes, and create commercials to advertise their wares. Candles and school-themed stepping stones have been especially popular.
“We want students to be creators, innovators, and problem-solvers,” says Educational Technology Director Mandy Lybeck. “This is about design thinking, from initial idea to iteration to completion.”