Dodge Evaluation Question 4

Question 4: In what ways and to what extent is the course exportable? (teacher training, availability of materials)

As is apparent in the history of invention and creativity, the exportability of any innovative program is at least partly responsible for whether the program is eventually viewed as a success. Three aspects of this course need to be analyzed in light of its exportability: possibility of export, format of export, and mode of export.

Is the Course Exportable?

At this stage in the process (including both this course and the college course upon which it is based), the results are promising -- although certain aspects (e.g., reflection component, certain logistical issues) need slight modification or further development. The basic framework of the course is exportable. In What Format Should the Course Be Exported?

Because of the intensive nature of the course, with respect to both time and resources, the course would obviously be impractical as a high school unit in its present form. But this does not mean that the course is not exportable. On the contrary, it can probably be disseminated as: (1) a summer program for high ability and/or scientifically talented high school students, (2) a unit for these students as part of a school's gifted or talent development program during the school year (perhaps even in an afterschool mode), and (3) a series of modules, activities, lessons, and projects that can be "plugged" into the regular school science curriculum. In the first two options, the course could remain fundamentally intact. For the third option, the course would have to be substantially modified. However, splitting the course into smaller pieces for use throughout the school year may prove to reinforce the points of the lessons longitudinally, resulting in a more substantial long-term benefit than an intensive summer course.

How Should the Course Be Exported?

If the course is disseminated as a summer course or a school year special course/program, the following materials should be provided to prospective users:

Disseminating the course as a series of situation-based activities may be the most practical and successful method of dissemination. When both the college and high school courses are considered collectively, numerous scenarios involving various content areas have occurred (e.g., medical research, architecture, the telephone, solar energy). All of these units were designed with the same philosophical approach, and they are all quite similar at a day-to-day functioning level. Although the case approach is not common in secondary education today, it is used very successfully in law and, most especially, graduate business programs. If each case were focused on a group of related concepts that are covered in a typical high school science or technology curriculum, teachers would be able to cover the mandated material while allowing students to learn through hands-on application. This would be similar to the Foxfire Program in Georgia, but with a definite technological focus.

However, the case approach need not be limited to science classrooms. As is frequently stated above, some of the most substantial lessons that the students learned involved group interaction, interpersonal communication, and to a lesser extent, intrapersonal evaluation. A gifted program coordinator might be able to use the cases on a regular basis to reinforce these more abstract benefits of the course while getting students who may not normally do so involved in invention and science.