Saturday, March 11, 2017

ideas and opportunities

Here is my simplified concept of the entrepreneurial competences that  are related to ideas and opportunities.

Boosting a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship in your students - European Schoolnet Academy Mooc

ethical and sustainable thinking

Entrepreneurial minds are not just dreamers distanced from the world that surrounds them. They are able (or should be) to assess the consequences that their ideas and actions have on other people, on society, on the environment. Enterprising teachers and students should therefore work on analyzing their ideas in ethical and sustainable terms, adapt ideas according to the situation or social needs, or take ethical and sustainable principles as a trigger for new ideas. 

Ethical behaviour
Solving real –life dilemmas in class is a good way to introduce your students to ethical thinking.  The topics could be inspired by situations that children and young people can closely relate to.
Example of a real-life dilemma: 
Lea has been offered something she really wants. Unfortunately, it's terribly unfair to a lot of other people and she knows it. Should she allow herself to benefit from an unfair situation?
Real-life dilemmas help students to see the different nuances of the meaning of acting responsibly, which is a relevant competence not only related to entrepreneurship. You can explore many other scenarios at the Daily Dilemma Archive
Sustainable thinking
What entrepreneurs should always have in mind is that what they do today will have an impact on theirs and everyone’s tomorrow. This entails thinking what consequences an action might have on the community, environment, economy and society as a whole.
Fair trade is a good example of a topic, which you can tackle in the classroom. By learning more about fair trade, students in both primary and secondary education can learn more about the relationships between farmers, businesses and consumers and how we can produce food in a sustainable way.
Primary school 
Tea in Malawi – what happens when you choose Fairtrade?’ is a learning activity for ages 7 to 12 which allows students to learn how tea is grown and how Fairtrade works. Through a series of group work students will examine the different factors that influence tea production and they will play a game where they would make decisions about how money is spent, taking in consideration workers.
Secondary school
Leandro and the mysterious case of the disappearing and reappearing river’ is a learning activity (ages 12+) that tackles the question of how human actions influence environment and climate through a discussion on the process of producing tea. You can use this activity or create a similar activity to bring their attention to situations where our actions have a durable effect on nature, society and economy.
You can explore other activity created by the Fairtrade Foundation here

An ethical doubt I can use in my classroom: 
During the course on pests and plant diseases, and the use of agrochemicals.
"You are a farmer and you have  a serious problem with a disease of  your crop. The agrochemical you must use is dangerous for the consumer, unless you harvest after 7 days. But the market offers high prices now and prices will drop next week. What will you do?

the value of ideas

Innovative minds are nurtured into appreciating the importance of an idea. They see potential and find ways to realize it. 
We can help our students to find the right balance between imagination and applicability of ideas by teaching them how to evaluate their ideas.
In order to evaluate an idea we need to see it through various perspectives and consider all aspects of it.  
One activity which is very useful for bringing awareness to all aspects of an idea, and the various opportunities it may bring, is mind mapping (also called mental map). 
Mind mapping is a way of capturing your thoughts by presenting them in a visual form, identifying strategies and patterns, steps in achieving a certain aim. Mind mapping allows you to consider several aspects of an idea, a project, a topic. Mind mapping could be facilitated by many different digital tools but sometimes just using a pen and putting all ideas on paper would work just fine (and that's what I prefer!)
Mind mapping helps students to put ideas in context and evaluate their relevance to the world that surrounds them. Mind maps can be presented in different ways: spider's web, fish skeleton, network scheme, etc. You can find different examples of the types of mind maps online.  If you want to explore this method further, have a look at this activity from the Virtual Guide to Entrepreneurial Learning

Here is the mind map that I develop, thinking about how I could add entrepreneurial competences in my classroom.

A mind map doesn't have to be fancy! It's all about the process of analyzing and developing thoughts

Boosting a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship in your students - European Schoolnet Academy Mooc

innovation starts with a vision

Entrepreneurial mind-sets are forward thinking
Idea generation can be done through visualisation of scenarios - being able to see clearly the realisation of the idea and its impact. 
In order to foster this competence in our students we need to give freedom to their imagination and to open their perception to new and unexplored areas of knowledge and ideas. 

What can you do to support your students in visualising future scenarios? 
  • provoke curiosity about the future
  • ask questions in order to develop students’ strategic thinking 
  • have always clear, and simple questions to guide your students through the process of visualising ideas. (Imagine that…How does it works? What are the steps to achieve this? What if? ) 

Classroom activities could be both oral and supported by visual elements, such as sketches, notes, comic books, lists, etc. 

Sharing visions and looking through the eyes of others is a powerful way of broadening one’s mind and imagination.  That is why visualisation techniques are suitable for activities with the whole class or in groups. 
The following scenarios help you to spot what differentiates "spotting opportunities" from "having a vision"..
  1. A small child in a classroom/school breaks a leg and needs to come to school on a wheelchair. The classmates and the teacher observe that there are barriers in the school that impede the child to participate in all activities as before. For example, it is difficult to reach the theatre where the class generally has their drama lesson. The teacher and the class take this as an opportunity to reflect on current architectural barriers in the school and to propose improvements. This activity is about spotting opportunities
  2. The teachers and the class take this a step further. They consider what their neighbourhood would look like if there were no architectural barriers at all. How would the neighbourhood look like? How would a town that is built with access and mobility in mind look like?  This activity is about vision

Thursday, March 2, 2017

1.4 Stimulating learners’ creativity and value creation

Entrepreneurial minds are restless in their will to create new or better solutions and outputs. Sometimes this means seeking and testing various ideas, and opening one’s mind to alternative ideas.
The 30 circles challenge is a a nice warm up activity that suits all ages (just remember to give more time to younger students). You can ask your students how many drew a funny face, how many a sun, or ask them if they want to share some ideas that they are particularly proud of. Another follow up from this activity could be to pair the students and ask them to compare their outputs, looking out for similarities and differences.

Have you ever wondered what creativity is and how it may be defined? Dominic Wyse, professor at UCL in the UK, has been working on the topic for several years. In his inaugural professorial lecture in 2014, he explains that originality and value are undeniable features of creativity. Dominic defines creativity as “a person’s ability to create something that is regarded by appropriately qualified people as original and of value” . He considers that teachers are the “qualified people” that are asked to judge the creative outputs and processes of their students.
 In the context of entrepreneurial learning and of this MOOC, we think of creativity as possibility thinking, the “what if?”. We consider that creative processes enable us to generate ideas, and that idea and possibility generation is central for enterprising students (and teachers).
Creativity can be fostered or nurtured. At the same time, it can be stifled or scorned. We would like you to reflect on creativity in the classroom. In discussing this, we would like to apply the Reverse thinking method (which is actually a method for creative idea generation).
As the term ‘reverse thinking’ itself suggests, instead of adopting the logical, normal manner of looking at a challenge you reverse it, and think about opposite ideas. For instance, if I want to find ways to lose weight, I might ask myself the question “how can I put on more kilos?”.
This method for generating ideas is easier and generally more fun. It lowers fear of saying the wrong thing (as you are talking about bad examples) and stimulate wider dialogue. It also allow us to look at things from a different perspective.
How schools (or education) might be discouraging creativity? in this Tricider, ideas are shared.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

1.3 spotting opportunities

The question is...
In what situations (from every part of life) can this competence (spotting opportunities) be fostered? 
Suggest ways for your school to support the empowerment of students in spotting opportunities.

The more I think about it the more I get confused on how to reply.
Entrepreneurship is very often associated with identifying problems, needs, and coming up with creative solutions for the benefit of others. Often, entrepreneurship minds bring the attention of others to needs and opportunities that they have not considered before by trying to look at things from various perspectives.
Sometimes we do not spot opportunities because we are not used to see things from a different perspective.

So I think that helping students develop the ability to see things from a different perspective must begin in the early school years (pre-primary and primary school), through play and funny activities. The "what is like to be a ...." activity can offer a lot. Changing roles and imagining. Can this be implemented in schools on a daily basis? 
Growing up, these students will be able to spot opportunities. Connecting subjects with real life situations, spending more time outdoors instead of staying in the classroom, allowing free expression of ideas, giving the speech to students can foster this competence. We just need to create the frame to express it. I would like to see thematic "ideas that matter" school contests, innovative students councils' initiatives, "walk in my shoes" projects.
The QR codes that are mentioned offer an attractive to students means. I can't think of something more specific at the moment but I'll keep reflecting.

(I liked the "what is like to be a cat" activity and I imagined teaching about agriculture through a "what is like to be a plant" concept)

Final important is imagination in spotting opportunities? Imagine, close your eyes and create in your mind something that doesn't exist. Isn't it obvious that reading fairy tales in early years and fiction stories later on, help imagination grow so that the ability of taking a different perspective to things and situations is fostered?

Boosting a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship in your students - European Schoolnet Academy Mooc

1.2 Entrepreneurial education in my school/classroom

Entrepreneurial education is introduced and implemented in various ways in Europe. There are three ways of promoting entrepreneurship education: 

1. by fostering entrepreneurship education through one specific subject; 

2. by adopting entrepreneurial education as a cross-curricular and transversal competence applicable to all subjects; and 

3. by thinking of entrepreneurial education as a method rather than an aim. 

What is the state of entrepreneurial education in your country/region/school?
  • Entrepreneurship education is embedded in the school culture, where it is promoted through several actions by all teachers/educators;
  • A cross-curricular approach, where entrepreneurship education objectives are expressed as being transversal and horizontal across different subjects;
  • Entrepreneurship education is taught as a compulsory separate subject, or as part of (a) compulsory subject(s);
  • Entrepreneurship education is taught as an optional subject, or as part of (an) optional subject(s);
  • Entrepreneurship education is not taught at all.
We are asked to share our experience on Twitter using #entreprecourse or in the course community.

Hmmm....let's see...
I teach in a vocational highschool, where entrepreneurship can be taught in an optional school activity project, laying on the initiative of a teacher to take the responsibility of it. I'm not sure if there are relevant compulsory subjects in the department of Economics. So, to have entrepreneurship education we firstly need teachers with entrepreneurial mindset, who will identify the need for it and go ahead and improvise , more or less. Entrepreneurial activities could be implemented into the "vocational guidance" course which is compulsory in grade A but still it lays on the hands of the teacher. I would personally like to see school culture dealing with entrepreneurial education as a method rather than an aim.

by the is an excellent info-graphic from Kornelia Lohynova. As I see it, schools in Greece are not ready to support entrepreneurial education, be it due to lack of means or lack of teachers' attitude and skills.

1.1 Entrepreneurial mind-set and sense of initiative

Module 1 is about Engaging students through entrepreneurship education

First question to reflect on: 

What does an entrepreneurial mind-set consist of? What are the skills and attitudes that you can think of.

my answer

"The sense of initiative and entrepreneurship is the ability to turn ideas into action through creativity,innovation, and risk-taking as well as the ability to plan and manage projects.
In other words, entrepreneurial learning, as seen in this course, is not about preparing the next business leaders of our society, but is about nurturing open- minded, creative thinkers. It’s a mind-set which would allow pupils to approach every opportunity, goal or challenges with the same curiosity and creativity, regardless of the context, subject, and situation."

Reflecting on the skills needed, I find it more and more complicated to define them, analyse them. What about self-confidence, perseverance, resilience? They are not skills but internal abilities and together with skills they are more or less interconnected and they need as a basis an already gained general growth mindset.

Boosting a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship in your students - European Schoolnet Academy Mooc