immipact: Framework and Platforms

Carlos Miranda Levy • 13 April 2017

Immipact Platforms

Blended Learning Platform

An online, collaborative learning platform with digital tools for signing up, participating, interacting, sharing content, evaluating and following up non-digital activities and progress.

Matching Platform

We believe in the power of collaborative work, connecting and engaging together, beyond what we ourselves do. This is achieved by enabling voluntary matching mechanisms for immigrants and locals to find each other.

All immigrants can fill their areas of expertise (skills, abilities, past experience), interests (topics, activities, etc.) and activities willing to pursue (learning, working, starting a business, volunteering, etc.) and indicate their interest of being matched in any of the following spaces:

  • Mentor - Pupil Matching:

    • Immigrants and volunteers can both find others to mentor or from whom receive guidance and tutoring.
  • Peer Matching:
    • Immigrants are matched with locals with similar skill sets, interests, experiences, trade or businesses to explore collaboration opportunities, interact and exchange.
    • Bakers are connected with bakers, restaurant owners with restaurant owners and cooks, teachers with teachers, shop/business owners with business people, etc.
    • They can come up together with collaboration plans, business ideas and even help each other on their own.
  • Inmatch:
    • Immigrants are matched with other immigrants with similar interests and shared paths so that they can support each other in the learning, skills development and integration journey,
    • This provides them with a wider and more diverse social network than the one of their immediate peers in their current locations, limiting the influence of negative or absent roles.

Support Platform

  • Both common and specific support areas allow participants to ask questions and receive assistance online.
  • A Digital Library of resources includes online, interactive, downloadable, printed materials and a carefully curated collection of links and references.
  • Frequently Asked Questions are collected and regularly updated.

Methodology and Educational Framework

Competency-based Learning

Our approach is based on the development of concrete skills, rather than abstract concepts or knowledge, as defined on UNESCO's 2015 report "Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good?". But instead of the conventional one unit per skill or competency approach, we group the skills in applied projects to develop the skills through practical experimentation.

Project Based Learning, Social Constructivism and Instructional Scaffolding

The learning tracks, curriculum and method are inspired on Stanford's P5BL (Problem, Project, Product, Process, People Based Learning) while the actual learning units and lessons are built with a Project Based Learning approach combining Papert's Constructionist and Piaget's Constructivism techniques and supported by a digital instructional scaffolding environment in the spirit of Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development and Jerome Bruner's social constructivism, where pupils and mentors learn from each other and collaboratively build knowledge.

We extend Bruner's belief that "any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development" to youth and individual's, applying his Spiral Curriculum approach to introduce simplified skills and later returning to them for enhanced more advanced applications and abilities.

Célestin Freinet's influence is present in the application of a Pedagogy of Work (pédagogie du travail) and Collaborative Learning (travail coopératif), where 
students learn by doing, collaboratively creating products or delivering services, acquiring real experiences (Natural Method/méthode naturelle) around Centers of Interest (Complexe d'Intéret) embodied in the multiple tracks or aggregated curriculum units.

A Library of Work (Bibliothèque de travail) with practical exercises and enhanced learning content caters to each students learning styles with written, visual, printable and multimedia units.

The practical, achievable and satisfying results of the short, focused learning units, clearly suggesting and explicitly listing additional applications, provides a natural incentive for Discovery Learning on students.

Diversified Practice

Despite the common demonization of conductism and repetition, we believe that, as in sports or music, excellence is achieved by repeated practice, but with increasing difficulty levels and alternative combination of elements so that practice does not become repetitive, maintains the attractiveness of challenge and progressively builds skills and knowledge. Digital tools allow us to alternate elements, track progression and increase the difficulty of exercises for each student in a personal basis.

Grading, Evaluation and Gamification.

As opposed to a single, monolithic score, all evaluations are provided by using a multiple criteria matrix (RUBRIC) to recognize each student's learning styles, aptitudes, progress and challenges. This matrices include both a self-evaluating and a peer-evaluation componentes to complement the tutor's evaluation.

In addition, we use gamification techniques to acknowledge, reward and incentivize students particular actions, learning achievements and social interactions. For example, visible badges are shown in the student's profile highlighting the number of exercises completed, his engagement level in the community of learning, the number of questions asked, the number of resources shared, the number of corrections suggested, etc.

Structure and Format of the Learning Units

  • Show the magic first:

    • All units start with a practical example, where an action, delivers a result.
  • Don't just show and tell: Get pupils excited doing and learning by discovery.
    • Content, coverage and deliver maintain a balance of 25% Theory - 75% Practice.
    • Theory can come at the end, after practice or be split and distributed along the lesson.
  • Each unit is part of a larger path that delivers professional skills, results and outcomes.
    • Each unit is clearly linked to the larger path with recommended previous and next units.
  • Each unit delivers a practical, tangible and demonstrable skill and outcome.
    • Even those that serve as theoretical foundation, include a practical activity with a practical outcome.
  • All units include recommended further readings and online and printed resources and activities.

The Projects and Practical Learning Units

This list is a work in progress and more units will be added both as we generate the content and as a result of specific requests, interests and priorities from the stakeholders. Most of these units include three or more sub-units or levels to be revisited or progressively explored by participants in accordance to the spiral curriculum approach. In the most common scenario, a unit includes three sub-unites for ideation, design and implementation, with intermediary validation, testing and enhancement actions and connections in between as well.

  • Create a Citizen Reporting App with Geolocation and Maps.
  • Create an Online Store for Products.
  • Create an Online Service Store.
  • Create an Interactive Content Web Site.
  • Create an Interactive Digital Social Space.
  • Create a Mobile app.
  • Solve a social problem with a digital solution.
  • Solve a social problem with a business solution.
  • Create a video game.
  • Create a mobile video game.
  • Run a successful crowdfunding/fundraising campaign.
  • Create a business idea, pitch, one-pager and plan.
  • Create a social business idea, pitch, one-pager and plan.
  • Create a transmedia experience and project.
  • Program a Raspberry Pi device to react to human interaction or environmental conditions.

The Underlying Curriculum

  • Basic Foundation & Knowledge.

    • Introduction to disruptive innovation, exponential technologies and opportunities.
    • Creative thinking, problem solving and opportunities from challenges perspective.
    • Flowcharts and Business Process Management Notation.
    • Open and free available resources for self-learning and developing.
      • Books, courses, code snippets, applications, images, videos, templates.
  • Basic IT Foundation.

    • Open source philosophy, methodology, tools and projects.
    • Development Techniques and Approaches.
      • Waterfall development vs Iterative and Incremental development.
      • Continuous Delivery and Lean Software Development.
      • Agile development and design:
        • Scrum, Kanban.
        • Feature-driven-development (FDD, IID)
        • Test-Driven-Development (TDD, ATDD, BDD). 
      • SOLID - First 5 principles of Objet Oriented Design
    • Release management and version control:
      • Semantic versioning: major, minor, patch.
      • Tip of trunk and Chronological versioning.
      • Software release life cycle:
        • Pre-alpha, alpha, beta, release-candidate, production.
      • Long Term Support and End of Life.
  • Basic IT Tools & Skills.

    • Distributed version control systems and code repositories: git.

      • Graph theory, tree, trunk and branches.
    • Databases.
      • Entity relationship models, Relational (SQL) and Non relational (NoSQL) databases.
    • Data Serialization.
      • CSV, JSON, YAML and XML.
    • Deployment Environments.
      • Development, testing, staging, production and experimental.
    • Local Development Environment.
      • Integrated Development Environments, Virtual Machines, Local Web Environments.
    • Web Services.
      • Representational State Transfer (REST).
    • Interactive Web.
      • HTML5, Javascript, JQuery.
    • Mobile Development Platforms.
      • Android Studio.
      • Xamarin.
  • Disruptive Technologies and Trends.

    • Mobile app development.
    • Web development.
    • 3d printing, DIY and the maker movement.
    • Robotics, drones and other automated vehicles.
    • Wearable devices, intelligent devices, sensors, and the Internet of things.
    • The sharing economy: crowdfunding and crowdsourcing.
    • Geolocation, georeferences and mapping resources.
    • Bitcoin and alternative currencies.
    • Big Data.
    • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
    • Transmedia.
    • Nano Technology.
    • Cloud Computing.
  • Business & Startup Foundations and Skills.

    • Startup 101:

      • Small Businesses, Scalable Startups and Unicorns.
      • Business Concepts, One Pager and Pitches.
      • Social and Impact Entrepreneurship.
      • Feature or Product.
      • The importance of Team and Mentors.
      • Funding:
        • Bootstrapping, seed funds, investors and venture capital.
      • Exit Strategies.
        • Valuation, Profit and Value, Customer Acquisition.
    • Lean Startup:
      • From idea to business.
      • Minimum viable product, prototypes and validation.
      • Iterative development, release and launch.
      • Pivoting.
    • Revenue / Monetization models:
      • Advertising, Subscription, Sale of Products, Provisioning of Services, Freemium, in-app Purchases and Paywalls, Licenses, etc.
    • Markets: Niches, hyperlocal, global.

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