As always, participating in IMMOOC Season 4 has been a very valuable experience. This week’s prompt of; How are you working to make the world a better place by creating more thoughtful, compassionate, creative, and skilled individuals? really spoke to me. This question in many ways captures what I see as our end goal and ultimate mandate as educators; helping to support our students in becoming the most compassionate, creative and skilled individuals they can be to prepare them for their future.
I am blessed to serve as the Manitoba Affiliate Director for the non-profit organization Destination Imagination. My life and own learning has been deeply enriched since becoming a part of this phenomenon a number of years ago. One of the ways I make the world a better place is by spreading the true joy, creativity and deep learning that is at the core of Destination Imagination. One way I support the development of compassionate, creative and skilled individuals is through this initiative each year.
Last week I watched as 17 teams of over 100 students from throughout Manitoba came together to share and celebrate their learning at the Manitoba Destination Imagination Provincial Tournament. It was event charged with high energy, great enthusiasm, and creative spirit.
DI is the largest creativity program in the world. It is present in over 30 countries, 48 states and at varying levels in provinces across Canada. DI has been around since 1982 with over 2 million participants since and 150 000 annually. It is a leader in inquiry and project-based learning and blends STEM with fine arts and social entrepreneurship. At the end of each summer, DI publishes 6 different challenges and teams of up to 7 students spend the next 9 months trying to come up with the best solution possible. Then students compare their solution to those of others at a tournament with the culmination being the Global Finals in the third week of May where they can compare their solution with those from around the world.
DI gives learners of all ages (primary to university) opportunities to use the creative process to design and manage a project, and gain the skills needed to succeed in our 21st C world. They learn to communicate, collaborate and think both critically and creatively. They learn to problem solve and be novel or flexible in their thinking. As they meet trials and experience failures along the way, they practice perseverance and develop resiliency. They explore, experiment and learn to think outside the box as they imagine, plan, design, create, refine and share their solutions to challenges. They learn empathy, compassion, patience and the art of compromise as they work collaboratively with others. Each team’s solution is unique and presented in an eight-minute performance which showcases the individual skills, strengths, interests and passions of the team members.
Sometimes just the right thing somehow crosses our path at just the right time. Destination Imagination is just that thing for many as it continues to help develop more thoughtful, compassionate, creative, and skilled individuals each year, across the world.