Three ideas for student projects that can make a difference.
Social entrepreneurship is a hot topic in education right now. The idea that students can identify and solve social problems isn't new. But as more teachers look for ways to combine in-class learning with real-world impact, student projects that extend the learning beyond the classroom walls are gaining momentum. And with the explosion of technology in our homes and classrooms, kids have more knowledge of global issues than ever before. Through innovative student projects, kids are raising awareness for communities across the globe by partnering with local, national, and global nonprofits. In addition, they're working to identify problems in their own communities and finding innovative solutions.
I asked more 6,000 art teachers (I belong to a Facebook group of art teachers) from across the country and around the world how their students are becoming social entrepreneurs. If you're looking to introduce student art projects that have meaningful, real-world impact, here are a few ideas to consider.
The Memory Project pairs art students with kids who have been neglected, orphaned, or disadvantaged in some way. Teachers and/or students pay $15 for a photo of a child, and the students create a portrait of that child no larger than 9" x 12" on paper or canvas. The organizers of this project ask that only intermediate to advanced art students create the portraits by hand, with beginning students encouraged to create digital collages instead. Once the portraits are created, the teacher sends the completed artworks back, and the student artist receives a photo of the child receiving the artwork they created of them. Students of art teacher Laurie Kahn, at Rosylyn High School in Rosylyn Heights, New York, participate in The Memory Project with amazing results.
What are other ways you foster social entrepreneurship? Tell us in the comments below!