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Destination ImagiNation

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Engaging global youth through innovation design challenges

Note: Education Futures is on a reduced publication schedule for the summer, and will return with its regular schedule in mid-August.

Slides from Saturday’s talk at World Future Society‘s World Future 2009 conference in Chicago:

Destination Imagination is the world’s largest creative problem solving program for kindergarten through college-aged learners. DI participants develop life skills while solving challenges through their unique, hands-on experiences in the sciences, technology, mechanics, engineering, theater, improvisation, goal setting, time and budget management, team building, and leadership. The University of Minnesota’s Leapfrog Institutes builds positive futures for human capital development through the infusion of creativity and innovation in education. DI’s collaboration with Leapfrog Institutes extends the organization’s creativity and imagination program with knowledge construction, innovation, and active futuring components.

Two weeks of creativity

This past week, I have been in Knoxville, TN, for Destination ImagiNation’s Global Finals. Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in education, “DI is an innovative organization that teaches creativity, teamwork and problem solving to students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Its main program is an unconventional team learning experience where student teams all over the world solve mind-bending Challenges. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work as a team, and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.”

Following DI, I will travel to Amsterdam for the Creative Company Conference and ITSMF Academy. The CCC, in particular, should be interesting as I will join Sir Ken Robinson, Frank Heemskerk (Dutch foreign trade minister) and human capital expert Mirjam van Praag in a discussion on creativity and entrepreneurship in education. This will be fun. Stay tuned!

Upcoming talks

Spring semester at the University of Minnesota will conclude in about a month, and I am already busy assembling my summer schedule. So far, it’s looking great!

I hope to meet up with Education Futures readers at each of these events. Contact me if you’ll be in town for any of the above talks!

Global Finals 2008 recap (with video!)

Last week, John Moravec and I were the guests of Destination ImagiNation during the DI Global Finals in Knoxville. We were delighted at experiencing the largest imagination and creativity gathering ever to assemble – anywhere! Our greatest respect and admiration was for the kids’ impressive demonstrations of intellectual, academic, and personal skills – just three of their many other attributes. Many with their parents in tow, over 1,000 teams of kids and young people ranging from elementary to college levels were there, some from countries such as China, Korea, Turkey, Canada, and Mexico.

Soon, we hope to begin collaborative work with the Minnesota affiliate of DI, and with the national/international level as well. Is it an exaggeration to say that DI is doing what the majority of schools (and colleges) are avoiding, namely to promote imagination, creativity, invention, and innovation? We think not! Hats off to everyone associated with Destination ImagiNation!

John compiled a short video from our visit: