How might a collaborative challenge be designed as an instrument for evaluating 21st century literacies?

This project investigates the potential of designing a co-curricular learning activity that could happen during orientation at high schools and in undergraduate education to annually revisit an experiential application of highlighted 21st century skills. With a focus on innovation and creativity, communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving the participants work in groups on a collaborative challenge.


Description Participants are presented with a playful, yet important socio-cultural scenario they have to propose a solution for over the next 90 minutes. The original provocation includes signals of the near future and introduces the drivers behind the changes. Throughout the challenge new directions are shared every 15 minutes, making explicit the process stages of generating solutions and communicating your ideas. The students rapidly prototype their proposition by recording a 2mins 3-act video that narrated 1) the scenario, 2) what the problem or opportunity was, and 3) how they proposed addressing it.A primary affordance of the scenario challenge was the video share (over popcorn) at the end of class — the collective laughter creates a safe context for taking risks, rapid prototyping and embracing the discomfort of putting unresolved ideas out there.
Approach The 21st century challenge was refined through multiple playtests with more than 100+ college students, teachers and high school classes. Video of the group collaborations, design probes, participant debriefs and reflective self-reports, and co-designing iterations of the various stakeholders all directly informed the final design of the learning experience.

Funded by the Institute of Urban Education and The New School
Principal Investigator Lisa Grocott
Research Associate Jacqueline Cooksey
Research Partner Karen DeMoss (Institute of Urban Education)

Background Image: Contemporary signals of what is happening and the drivers prompting change distributed to introduce the future scenario context.