Engagement Strategy Toolkits

A Learning is Open toolkit written by Big Picture Learning

Learning through internships (LTI) is a unique educational strategy aimed at making education more relevant and engaging. Unlike the job-training placements of prior reform generations, the Big Picture Learning approach to LTI experiences is not intended to consign students to a vocational track that steers them away from college. Part of the growing movement to prepare all students for college, careers, and civic participation, LTIs seek to engage youth in rigorous project-based learning within a “real-world” 21st century learning context. To learn more about launching an internship program at your school, check out ImBlaze.

A Learning is Open toolkit written by the California Academy of Sciences. Download an updated version of this toolkit here.

Citizen science is a process through which everyday people—students, teachers, neighbors, and others—take an active role in scientific discovery. By working together to gather data, interpret results and solve problems, citizen scientists participate in a grassroots approach to the scientific process by leveraging their combined talents to contribute answers to real questions. In the classroom, citizen science projects are an effective way to include students in cooperative projects, as well as give them a tangible way to put new concepts and methodologies into practice.

A Learning is Open toolkit written by The Exploratory

More than just learning how to work with their hands, Tinkering & Making helps learners explore ideas and how they impact the world. Tinkering & Making often combines art and science so learners may express their own creativity and aesthetic.

In the classroom, tinkering and making projects are a platform for teachers to develop environments where learning by doing is the norm. With the appropriate activity and project structures to help support the experience, tinkering and making provide an explicit way for the classroom to embrace a variety of skills and mindsets that not only engage students but also prepare them for life and work in the real world.

A Learning is Open toolkit written by the Engagement Lab

Engagement games can be catalysts for the power and productivity of playful learning. They harness play to help students learn difficult concepts and—more importantly—to engage players and apply their learning in live, real world scenarios.

Engagement games use game mechanics to bring play and serious real world processes together, so that real action occurs while playing the game. Fusing a sense of play onto serious processes—from community deliberations to disaster preparedness—can result in increased participation and diversity, increased trust in the system and each other, and most importantly, increased ability to understand and affect change.

A Learning is Open toolkit written by the New Learning Institute.

Problem-based learning (PBL) challenges students to identify and examine real problems, then work together to address and solve those problems through advocacy and by mobilizing resources. Importantly, every aspect of the problem solving process involves students in real work—work that is a reflection of the range of expertise required to solve issues in the world outside of school.

While problem-based learning can use any type of problem as its basis, the approach described here is deliberately focused on local ones. Local problems allow students to have a meaningful voice, and be instrumental in a process where real, recognizable change results. It also gives students opportunities to source and interact with a variety of local experts.

A Learning is Open toolkit written by CommonStudio.

Design thinking is a creative and collaborative process for identifying problems and coming up with innovative solutions. It is a strategy for teachers to engage students in an active, meaning-making method that encourages connecting core content to the ways that it can be applied in the real world. In the end, it’s a structured way to plan and facilitate project-based learning.

The process is adaptable enough to be used in a range of subject areas and is naturally interdisciplinary. In any design project, students have practical and relevant opportunities to improve verbal, written, and visual communication skills. Beyond these considerations, utilizing the design thinking process is an applied way to give students a running start for the jobs and challenges of tomorrow.