Does Through My Window align with the (ITEEA) Engineering Habits of Mind?
Here's how Through My Window aligns with the Engineering Habits of Mind:
Creativity: Story is critical to our project, and engaging students’ imagination in their pursuit of deep understanding about engineering is the very basis of our instructional design. The project is based on the use of Imaginative Education, an approach in which developmentally appropriate narrative is designed to provide a new view of engineering and structure learning about engineering in meaningful ways. What Through My Window provides is pioneering and unexpected in the context of typical STEM offerings—a look at engineering education through a very different window.
Systems Thinking: All of the engineering concepts in Through My Window are embedded in narrative, providing context for their application and encouraging “systems thinking” instead of sequestered learning. Through the eyes of the characters and in their role as actual participants in the online learning adventures, students see how “systems may have unexpected effects that cannot be predicted from the behavior of individual subsystems” (ASEE Habits of Mind).
Optimism: Using a cast of relevant, relatable middle-school characters for real-world middle-school students, Through My Window makes engineering approachable, engaging, and fun for students and teachers, people with and without engineering background, and in formal and informal settings.
Collaboration: Collaboration is key in Through My Window. Students are best prepared for our technological society when they are technologically literate and can improve ideas and understanding by incorporating the diverse perspectives of others in their own understanding. Through My Window provides ample opportunities to do so—through a “sharing ideas” feature on the website, and through journaling and collaborative activities offline.
Communication: Similar to collaboration, Through My Window promotes idea sharing, the appreciation of diverse perspectives, and group discourse. Phrases like “half-formed thought” and “I think” are encouraged to provide meaningful communication between students. Offline activities include reflection that involves communicating through story, visual pictures, video, diagrams, dialogue and student blogging, factual writing, mock letters to engineers or newspapers, and more.
Ethical Considerations: Through My Window embraces and appreciates the ethical dilemmas that students face every day. Through story, a strong connection to how students’ ethical challenges closely mirror ethical considerations encountered by professional engineers is made. The novel, learning adventures, and offline activities address ethical concerns. A unit on engineering ethics is currently in development.