About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 762-770
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

CO-OPERATION AND COMPETITION: HOW PARTICIPATION IN ACADEMIC COMPETITIONS USING PROJECT-BASED AND STUDENT-FOCUSED LEARNING SUPPORTS TRADITIONAL EDUCATION WHILE FOSTERING CURIOSITY, COURAGE AND CREATIVITY

J. Harper

Destination Imagination (UNITED KINGDOM)
Non-traditional, project based, student focused learning and academic competitions support and enhance traditional teaching.

A research review highlights 3 key benefits for students involved in this type of education: An increased number of students choosing STEM subjects at University level; the opportunity for students to compete and excel in academic competition similar to physical sports competition; and increased acquisition of key employability ‘soft’ skills, namely, team work, communication and problem solving.

This learning format supports and enhances traditional school learning because students learn to communicate with their peers and teachers differently. The educator is facilitator and students feel comfortable to explore and test new ideas, thus developing their own learning. This has the potential to influence academic achievement and University subject choice.

Many competition projects are based around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Surveys indicate that club, project and competition based learning can provide a type and level of engagement with science learning beyond the capability of a traditional classroom science class. There is evidence of a significant relationship between the number of STEM clubs students participate in and their choice of a STEM major at University.

Survey research indicates a link between student participation in academic competitions at high school and their choice of a related post-secondary education program. Further, it indicates participation in competition may in fact be more important than participation in school science classes or any enhancements to science class and provide an important dimension of student exposure to information about science and science careers. Competition offers an opportunity for students to compete and excel on a mental level much the way they do on a physical one in sports. Contests can prompt students to strive for excellence if their parents and teachers view competition positively.

Cooperative team projects can increase social interest and community service through participation in a community outreach or STEM-based community project. Survey research indicates that these impacts also extend to peers, families and community members. 21st Century skills - communication, working in teams and problem solving - so important for employability are embedded in project-based competitions surveyed, and related research indicates that social adjustment at age 11 correlates to the likelihood of employment in later life.

Destination Imagination (DI) is one of several organisations around the world offering this type of learning. It annually provides seven fun and engaging open-ended challenges that foster additional work with STEM, Performing Arts and Community Outreach, and is designed to bridge the increasing gap between our emerging digital and human ecosystem and what kids are learning in school.

DI is a global, not-for-profit organisation with 200,000 participants annually, in 32 countries, reaching over a million students in a decade. It is partnered with NASA, National Geographic, Disney and many others.

Survey research on DI concurs with the above findings, concluding that team members outperformed comparable non-DI students on creative thinking, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving assessments. Positive values and attitudes towards creative thinking are shown to be statistically significant.
@InProceedings{HARPER2015COO,
author = {Harper, J.},
title = {CO-OPERATION AND COMPETITION: HOW PARTICIPATION IN ACADEMIC COMPETITIONS USING PROJECT-BASED AND STUDENT-FOCUSED LEARNING SUPPORTS TRADITIONAL EDUCATION WHILE FOSTERING CURIOSITY, COURAGE AND CREATIVITY},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {762-770}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Harper
TI - CO-OPERATION AND COMPETITION: HOW PARTICIPATION IN ACADEMIC COMPETITIONS USING PROJECT-BASED AND STUDENT-FOCUSED LEARNING SUPPORTS TRADITIONAL EDUCATION WHILE FOSTERING CURIOSITY, COURAGE AND CREATIVITY
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 762
EP - 770
ER -
J. Harper (2015) CO-OPERATION AND COMPETITION: HOW PARTICIPATION IN ACADEMIC COMPETITIONS USING PROJECT-BASED AND STUDENT-FOCUSED LEARNING SUPPORTS TRADITIONAL EDUCATION WHILE FOSTERING CURIOSITY, COURAGE AND CREATIVITY, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 762-770.
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