How it Works
Space Meets Learning
The Milan Center for Innovative Studies (MCIS) is a state-of-the-art facility designed with collaboration, communication, presentation, creativity and research in mind. The space was envisioned with specific zones designed for each of these important learning goals. Yet, each zone is also cross-functional as well, giving students the flexibility use the same space where they are running a science experiment to also give a visual presentation to their group.
Collaboration and Grading
Before entering the program most students have worked in groups at some point, and they often express frustration with the fact that the whole group receives the same grade. In the MCIS students are graded on both the groups' performance as a whole (product grades) as well as on an individual level (reflections on meeting learning objectives and interviews). In the process, students learn to collaborate with others, discuss professionally, and compromise if need be in order to do what is best for the group while maintaining a greater sense of control over their individual learning andgrading.
21st Century Skills & College Preparation
Each project in the MCIS focuses on key 21st century learning skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, presenting, technology integration, project management, and time management. The teaching staff of the MCIS feel that in addition to taking an integrated approach to learning -- projects have integrated math/science, English and government learning objectives -- the toolbox of 21st skills we are building throughout the year will better prepare our students for both the world of work and college.
Implementing Technology as a Learning Tool
The MCIS is a 1-1 learning environment with each student having their own ChromeBook. Additionally, the MCIShas 60 MacBook Air machines and a complete iMac Creative lab. All of these resources allow students to easily integrate programs such as Garageband, iMovie, iBooks, Keynote, and more in their learning projects. Last but not least, each student develops a web-based technology portfolio to highlight their technology accomplishments and learning which can earn them 1.0 technology credit for their work in the MCIS.
"I loved the ability to flow around and work at our own pace. It seemed like we got to capitalize on our skillset that we already had, and build on the things that could use more improvement. At times, I struggled with time management, but I was able to build on that."
"I like the range of flexibility and creativity that is given within each project."
"I really like that it's not a classroom setting. It gives you more freedom to move around and manage your own product and time. I also liked having projects that lasted more than a week. When we take time on a project, it makes me feel much more significant as well as more rewarding to finish."
“My favorite part was working in groups, because within the group each person is assigned a job that interests them and they get a little bit of freedom within that job, and I was able to choose marketing jobs that helped me prepare for what I am studying in college.”
“Before the program it was difficult for me to present in front of people. I was the person who got a red face and said "um" every other word. But, in the wing you practice public speaking so that everyone becomes more comfortable.”
The part I like most about senior wing is working with other people, because it teaches you good people skills. You break the ice with other people you don't know. You learn a lot about your own strengths and weaknesses, and you learn how to overcome those with the help of other people.
I gained a better view on life, after the Big Red Talk. I learned how to treat people nicer. I gained better communication skills. I have built on my weaknesses and overcome a lot of things because of senior wing.