project based learning

Discover the Amazing Benefits of Project Based Learning on DQ

The TechnoKids Computing Curriculum applies a project based approach to learning. What does that mean? According to PBL Works, project based learning, or PBL for short, is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. At TechnoKids we believe that kids learn by doing.

Recently, the TechnoKids Curriculum Collections were certified by DQ Lab as aligning to global standards for digital intelligence (DQ). One of the reasons the TechnoKids program earned the DQ Seal, is likely due to the PBL approach we use in our digital literacy and coding projects. There are many reasons TechnoKids Computing Curriculum and project based learning promote digital intelligence in kids. You can jump ahead to learn more.

What is Digital Intelligence?

Digital intelligence or DQ for short, is the social, emotional, and cognitive abilities people need to thrive in an ever-changing digital world. The DQ Institute provides a taxonomy which organizes digital knowledge, skills, and attitudes into a framework. The framework includes 32 competencies which are considered essential for a fulfilling digital life. The competencies are organized into eight areas, with four levels of mastery. The TechnoKids program with its emphasis on project based learning has been certified by DQ Lab as aligning to all eight areas, all four levels, and 19 competencies.

digital intelligence competencies chart
The Digital Intelligence (DQ) framework organizes competencies into eight areas, with four levels that increase in complexity.

TechnoKids and Project Based Learning Promote Digital Intelligence

The TechnoKids program includes four Curriculum Collections which are Primary, Junior, Intermediate, and Senior. The projects in each collection promote digital intelligence. The TechnoKids projects teach students how to apply digital tools to complete open-ended challenges or investigate authentic problems. For example, they might design a website for kidsconduct a poll about school uniforms, or raise public awareness about coral reefs. Since the topics of each project are student-driven, everyone in the class has the freedom to pursue their unique interests. This project based approach to learning lends itself to developing digital intelligence in kids.

powered by DQ

TechnoKids Curriculum Collections align with multiple digital intelligence
competencies within the DQ Global Standards (IEEE 3527.1TM).

Discover the 7 Ways Project Based Learning Promotes Digital Intelligence

When examining the DQ framework it can seem overwhelming. There are 32 competencies. These are divided into microcredentials, which are tiny micro blocks of learning. Essentially, there are over 100 digital intelligence learning objectives. Project based learning offers a solution to busy teachers. Open-ended tasks make it simple to integrate digital intelligence into traditional subject areas. In the TechnoKids program, students can write a report, create a newsletter, or publish a biography about any topic. This allows teachers to blend technology activities into an existing curriculum unit. Now digital intelligence can become part of social studies, history, geography, or language arts instruction. DQ is no longer an extra thing to teach. Instead, it is just part of the regular school day!

The DQ Institute divides digital intelligence competencies into eight areas. These are digital identity, use, safety, security, emotional intelligence, communication, literacy, and rights. PBL with its focus on hands-on learning, easily blends multiple DQ areas into the same task. For example, in the TechnoKids project, TechnoEarth, students become environmental stewards that raise awareness of an issue by creating an interactive infographic. This task blends competencies from the Digital Identity, Digital Use, Digital Communication, Digital Literacy, and Digital Rights areas. This is just one instance of how PBL can promote digital intelligence.

The DQ Institute divides digital intelligence competencies into four levels. These are digital connectivity, citizenship, creativity, and competitiveness. The transition from foundational abilities to mastery is easily achieved with project based learning. This is because when students engage in a problem solving task, often at the start, they only possess basic knowledge and skills. However, as they progress they gradually gain proficiency. For example, in the project TechnoCode students assume the role of a game developer. They achieve digital connectivity by setting up an online profile, digital citizenship by engaging with others in an online community, digital creativity by coding original games, and digital competitiveness by sharing their work in an Activity Studio for children to play. As you can see, PBL makes it simple to target all four levels of digital intelligence.

Project based learning allows for the repetition of learning objectives, without the boredom of doing the same thing over and over. According to DQ Lab, to achieve a digital intelligence competency, a program must cover a topic multiple times with sufficient depth and breadth. PBL provides a variety of experiences, which helps students to consolidate learning in a fun way. For example, in the Junior Collection, students achieve competency in Public and Mass Communication, by presenting information and designing a website. Although the activities address the same DQ competency, the tasks are unique, which engages learners.

Some of the DQ competencies at first glance seem too abstract for an elementary, middle, or high school setting. However, project based learning makes complex ideas relevant to children and teens. One of the ways, PBL achieves this goal is through role playing. In many TechnoKids projects, students assume the career of a professional such an entrepreneur or game developer. They participate in a real-world simulation. This personalizes learning, which ultimately puts achieving digital intelligence competencies within reach for kids.

Digital intelligence is more than technical skills and knowledge. There are many DQ competencies that focus on socio-emotional and interpersonal skills. For example, there are competencies for empathy, collaboration, and communication. Project based learning inherently targets learning objectives from these competencies. PBL tasks in TechnoKids projects revolve around solving real-world problems. The assignments include understanding the user experience, teamwork, and reporting findings to an authentic audience. Project based learning builds “soft skills” that are highly value in the workplace, such as being a team player. As well as the personal characteristics, such as kindness or confidence that can lead to a fulfilling digital life.

Of the eight areas of digital intelligence, two relate to safety and security. The competences address cyber risks and how to protect against threats. It is possible to teach these important skills using a teacher-directed approach. However, considering how often students are online without supervision, it is vital they can transfer their knowledge outside the classroom. Project based learning teaches how to safeguard privacy, devices, and the network in the context of authentic learning experiences. This increases the likelihood that students will continue to apply these best practices. For instance, in the TechnoKids project TechnoRace, students participate in an online community to build a game. This PBL task provides the opportunity to create a profile and connect with other members. Students learn how to manage passwords and protect personal security. Providing practical learning opportunities will help students apply DQ competencies to their everyday life.

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