The Senior Project is the academic capstone of the iSchool experience. Students begin their process in the spring of their junior year with Critical Thinking, a course that examines the ways of thinking that are specific to the academic discipline of the student’s choice. After developing a unique area of inquiry in that field, students enter Research and Writing in the fall of their senior year prepared to write an individual literature review and refine their project idea. In the winter of their senior year, students propose and execute a project of their own design that is meant to situate their academic interests in real world contexts. In the past, these have included films, scientific experiments, architectural models, campaigns, museum exhibits, handmade books, mobile apps and digital games, among others. The 2013-14 senior projects will be exhibited in January 2014. I’ve coordinated the iSchool Senior Projects program since 2011, and teach the Senior Projects class each year.
Critical Thinking / Syllabi are discipline-specific, but there is a common final outcome (PDF)
Research and Writing /
Senior Projects / Syllabus (PDF), find course materials below
- Documentation Template (make a copy, name like Christina Jenkins / Section A / Senior Projects 2014)
- Embrace Ambiguity (“The best way through the fog is through the fog” – from IDEO, via Vimeo)
- Ira Glass on the gap between what you can do and what you think is good (via YouTube)
- “The gap is between doing anything and doing nothing.” (Clay Shirky, via TED on YouTube – watch at 4:44)
Resources / Inspiration
- MIT OpenCourseWare // http://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/for-students/
MIT posts syllabi, assignments, activities, notes, readings, videos + other materials on this website for the public to learn from. The link above directs to a space for high school students to find resources relevant to their own work. Explore the links at left for research leads in architecture, science, math, writing, psychology and more.
- TED talks // http://www.ted.com/talks/tags
TED sponsors 20-minute talks by people who are considered experts in their fields. TED speakers talk about things ranging from architecture to submarines to creativity (TED stands for Technology, Education and Design), and it’s worth taking a look for inspiration.
- Kickstarter // http://www.kickstarter.com/discover
Kickstarter invites people in need of funding to post creative project ideas on its website. Check it out for inspiration – and potentially for funding.
- Tactics from Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution // http://beautifultrouble.org/tactic/From hoaxes to strategic non-violence, learn strategies from activist artists.
- Media That Matters // http://www.mediathatmattersfest.org/issue/youth/
If you’re interested in film, Media That Matters sponsors a film festival that celebrates short films that address social issues and advocate for change. The link above is for films related to young people, but if you click on it and scroll down, you’ll see “Browse Films by Issue” (including gay/lesbian, family & society, and criminal justice, among others.)
- Case Studies from Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution // http://beautifultrouble.org/case/This collection of activist art projects touch on a variety of mediums, causes and strategies.
- Powers of Ten (Charles and Ray Eames, via YouTube)