Curiosity Project

A living document accounting for one sabbatical exploration into the nature of curiosity.

Guide author

This guide was created by Allie Flanary as part of a professional leave project in Fall 2014.

No Longer Updated

ARCHIVE: Guide No Longer Being Updated.

Where it All Began...

the origins of curiosity... and a little profanity

So, I've been at this for a while now. Originally, I led with my long-winded research/sabbatical proposal because it seemed important to get that out in front of people, to justify the work so to speak.

Predictably, the work happened in an unpredictable fashion. Just about nothing I suggested might happen during my sabbatical actually just happened. I learned a lot more than I'd have learned if things had proceeded in an orderly fashion.

By all means, please feel free to read about where I thought I was going, just don't take it to be the most important part of the journey.

This tongue-in-cheek image borrowed from the internet at large is what it's all about.

There are people sitting around wondering really excellent things. Let's make room for more of that!

Curiosity Project proposal

I have a theory. It’s that supporting curiosity leads to greater academic persistence and improved student success. There are many theoretical approaches to supporting student curiosity and inquiry; this proposal is about taking time to explore teaching and learning by using design-thinking (context-driven, human-centered problem solving) and maker-thinking (thinking-through-making) as one potential approach. proposed model

I have selected a number of librarians and “thinkers” to engage during this investigation. Most notably, I will be working directly with Sara Ryan, author of young adult literature and Teen Services Specialist of Multnomah County Library. I have also set interviews with Jaime Hammond, Acting Director of Library Services at Naugatuck Valley Community College and Steve Teeri, cofounder of the Detroit Public Library H.Y.P.E. Teen Center and maker space. Additionally, I will be making visits to the Athenian School Maker’s Studio (late Summer 2014, Danville, California) and to ADX Portland (Fall, Portland, Oregon). 

Recent scholarship around the impact of design-thinking, maker-thinking, and interest-driven learning on student success within STEM disciplines give me hope for greater application in all disciplines. I’m not suggesting that all classrooms need 3D printers, or that we’re all going to begin making things as a means of teaching general education fundamentals. I do think there’s a way to bring these strains of pedagogy, design, and curiosity together in a meaningful way for students. Maker focused thinking (and learning) incorporates educational practices we’re already using at PCC: small group discussion, project-based learning, and collaboration. Maker-thinking invites the learner to figure things out, invoking self-reflection and problem-solving behaviors. 

PCC Values: Leadership through innovation, continuous improvement, efficiency, and sustainability; Being a responsible member of the communities we serve by actively participating in their development; Collaboration predicated upon a foundation of mutual trust and support; An agile learning environment that is responsive to the changing educational needs of our students and the communities we serve – making students marketable for jobs in the future and promoting economic development 

PCC Institutional Goals: Quality Education; Student Success; Economic, Workforce, and Community Development, Sustainability