We put our teaching philosophy to the test in 2021. Our theory of change is that when they are prepared to prosper online, they can lift their community out of poverty. Now that we have thousands of students becoming digital natives in school, we can begin to test our theory of change.
In 2019, we hosted over 1,200 students in our open lab experiment. We had simple rules: everyone was welcome to use a computer, uninterrupted, for exactly 20 minutes. Using this framework, we were able to personally help hundreds of students every day become confident at a computer. They learned to log in, open applications, debug problems and learn new skills on their own.
We developed a teaching philosophy during the open lab experiment, and we were eager to bring it to nearby schools this year. Our philosophy has principles like:
This year, our teachers brought these principles to the classroom. The result: students thrived! We had principles telling us that attendance was improving. We were able to create an atmosphere where students were eager to learn.
In TechLit classes today we have taken the approach even farther. Students help each other will basic skills like touch-typing. They team up on projects like coding challenges with MIT Scratch (a block-based programming environment). They can even find and follow video tutorials. In the image we shared today, you can see three students following a video tutorial, building a game together in Scratch.
From here we’re ready to test our theory of change. We want to know that our students are in fact prepared to prosper online. We want to know that they in fact are able to lift their community out of poverty. Next year, we will begin measuring the effects of our computer classes and teaching philosophy.