Revolutionizing Project-based Learning
For over 20 years, The Praxis Group and the Digital Safari Academy at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord CA have collaborated in developing and refining the Innovation Project™ as a framework for project-based teaching and learning. The Innovation Project is an “executive entrepreneurship” training program that integrates standards-based curricula in Economics, English and Multimedia.
The Innovation Project is a semester-long journey through the world of business and economics. Unlike other entrepreneurial programs, the Project is based on the “Silicon Valley model” emulating the real world of high-tech start-ups and venture capital financing. Students form virtual companies then spend an entire semester developing their innovative “beyond the edge” products, developing their business plans and preparing to make their pitch for funding before a panel of real business consultants and investors. The Project premise: if it can be imagined, then it can be made, marketed and sold.
Each Innovation Project company works with a mentor throughout the semester. Mentors are real-world entrepreneurs, bank executives, business consultants and angel investors who provide guidance and insight into the process of building a successful company and raising millions of dollars to launch and grow a company. Over the years, we’ve found that many of the student presentations are equal to or better than those of real companies!
The Project culminates in the annual Digital Safari Innovation Fair, a two-part event including a tech expo and business plan competition.
Making Innovation as Cool as Music and as Exciting as Sports!
The Project has proven to be a highly successful way to motivate students to explore business, science and technology while empowering them with the skills that will last a lifetime. The results have been impressive – teachers report a “dramatic improvement in the quality of student work and student engagement in class.” Teachers have adapted the Innovation Project model to other subjects saying that it has “revolutionized” how they teach.
The Innovation Project and Innovation Fair are part of a much broader vision that, we hope, will eventually include Innovation Fairs in other regions, states and maybe even a national fair.
We invite and encourage students and teachers from all high schools to participate!