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Making Children’s Learning Visible Through Invention Education

As educators continue to provide their students with the highest-quality educational experiences possible during this time of great uncertainty, many are turning to innovative solutions that both inspire students and prepare them to overcome complex problems.

In a recently published white paper from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we explore how invention education, a pedagogy that invites children to approach problem finding and problem solving through practices used by accomplished inventors, can help students make their learning visible.

We invite you to read an excerpt from this paper detailing the history of learning documentation and explaining why the act of hands-on creation is integral to its effectiveness.


Helping Students Document Their Learning

One of the universal concerns shared by many educators is whether their students are demonstrating newfound knowledge. While there exist plenty of grade- and age-related learning benchmarks and standardized tests that do their best to provide an objective measure of a student’s understanding, these do not always account for each child’s ability to problem solve in a real-world setting.

In fact, when it comes to the subject of standardized testing, studies have shown that performance on these assessments can often “tell more about the community in which a student lives than the amount the student has learned or the academic, social and emotional growth of the student during a school year.”

Though many modern critiques of an overreliance on testing are largely in response to national educational policies enacted in 2002 in efforts to close student achievement gaps, the desire to discover more authentic ways of measuring student thinking has a long and well-researched history.

In 1967, while studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, philosopher Nelson Goodman founded “Project Zero,” a research group that focused on the analysis of artistic expression as a valid and authentic expression of learning. Over the following decades, the group expanded its scope to explore the importance of students documenting their learning by “observing, recording, interpreting and sharing through the process and products of learning in order to deepen learning.”


Read the Entire White Paper for Free Today

To read this white paper in its entirety, and to learn how you can use engaging, hands-on activities to help students document their learning and experience authentic social-emotional learning (SEL), we invite you to visit our website.

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