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Edtech Solutions
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Developing Student Agency in the Face of a Changing World

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Snapshot

Thursday, December 3, 11:30 am–12:15 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)
Presentation 2 of 2
Other presentations:
National Reform in School Education in Norway

Minnie Bredouw  
Joan Lee  

As students navigate a rapidly changing future, purpose learning is more important than ever. We'll provide a tangible breakdown of research, methods and learner outcomes that can inspire everyone to adopt a mindset and hands-on approach to integrate purpose learning into the lives of students in a tangible way.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Mac
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Keynote (application)
Dongle to USB-C (if from personal device)
Topic: Social emotional learning
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Career and technical education, Not applicable
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In our session, we will present a short overview of the challenges we seek to solve—with student anxiety and depression skyrocketing with young people today (a 20% increase in the past 10 years) and students feeling a lack of agency and ownership in the process of their learning, all while the landscape of what's needed to succeed as young person changes rapidly (a 2018 World Economic Report indicating that "human skills" such as creativity, originality, and taking initiative, being some of the most valuable for the jobs of tomorrow).

We will then share our theory of change—that making purpose learning accessible to all students has the ability to support learners both in feeling ownership over their education and preparing them to be lifelong learners. Through an interactive demonstration, we plan to delve more deeply into the innovative programming that Purpose Project has seen tangible impact in over the past 2-3 years, with regards to its learning outcomes of developing self awareness, self direction, authentic engagement, and authentic expression.

What's most notable about this impact is that this programming makes a dynamic use of data around character that is unique and unlike any other product. In addition, the initial research indicates that the students who are historically furthest from opportunity benefit the most from this type of programming. We believe this is our unique learning model and blended learning experience we've developed can shed a light on how other practitioners can use similar approaches to achieve these outcomes as well.

As such, we plan to impart best practices to our audience with tangible applications in a variety of environments. We will close with a small group brainstorming session to help our audience develop concrete ideas and solutions about how they can start to help youth develop purpose in small ways the next day in their classrooms, schools, or educational systems.

As such, the learning outcomes are as follows:
– 1: Establish a shared definition of purpose learning.
– 2: Understand new constructs of student success.
– 3: Identify ways to implement and measure practices around purpose learning and agency.

A brief summary of our technology intervention—
We have a proprietary platform that is combination of a digital portfolio and insights engine. Our product is unique because it is a place where students reflect (knowledge construction), experiment (empowered learner & innovative designer) and see insights about themselves to help develop a narrative that is true to self (creative communicator).

Evidence of initial success—
Here are just a few examples of the initial success the programming is seeing in our programming across the country:
– After using the Purpose Project, the number of students who reported that they “felt a clear path after high school” increased by 37%.
– After using the Purpose Project, the number of students who reported that they “know where to turn for support” increased by 32%.
– After using the Purpose Project, the number of students who reported that they “had a positive impact in some way” increased by 20%.


- 10 minute: Background of purpose learning process and corresponding outcomes and impact.
- 10 minutes: Implications and emerging evidence on this process as it relates to new ways to leverage data around character, equity and measuring student success, and creating a culture of lifelong learning with a quickly changing future.
- 10 minutes: Experience activities and provide tangible ways to apply student centered outcomes.

Supporting research

The following 5 experts were foundational in providing input to best practices in character development in youth in the creation of the Purpose Project:
- Martin Seligman, Character Strength Development
- Bill Damon, Purpose Learning
- Dan McAdams, Narrative Identity
- Angela Duckworth, Perseverance
- Tony Wagner, Play, Passion, and Purpose

In addition, here is some additional literature referenced in the creation of the program:
- Damon, W. (2008). The path to purpose: Helping our children find their calling in life . Simon and Schuster.
- Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American psychologist , 60 (5), 410.
- Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press.
- Wood, A. M., Linley, P. A., Maltby, J., Kashdan, T. B., & Hurling, R. (2011). Using personal and psychological strengths leads to increases in well-being over time: A longitudinal study and the development of the strengths use questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences , 50 (1), 15-19.
- Peterson, C., & Park, N. (2006). Character strengths in organizations. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior , 27 (8), 1149-1154.
- Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design . Ascd.
- McTighe, J., & Ferrara, S. (1998). Assessing Learning in the Classroom. Student Assessment Series . NEA Professional Library, Distribution Center, PO Box 2035, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-2035.
- Gess-Newsome, J. (1999). Pedagogical content knowledge: An introduction and orientation. In Examining pedagogical content knowledge (pp. 3-17). Springer, Dordrecht.
- Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK)?. Contemporary issues in technology and teacher education , 9 (1), 60-70.

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Minnie Bredouw, Purpose Project

Minnie Bredouw is the executive director of The Purpose Project, a program incubated at IDEO that helps young people build agency and self-direction. She’s also an educator, teaching at both California College for the Arts and Copenhagen Institute of Design. Bredouw has spent the past decade designing programs focused on youth, equity and education reform, including a multinational reproductive health program for teens; a digital coaching platform to help first-generation college students succeed in higher education; and a program to help transitional-aged youth involved in the justice system learn about their rights to help prevent recidivism. Bredouw has spoken about these topics at the World Bank, United Nations, TEDx, the EdSurge conference and the World Design Summit. Her work has been featured in Bloomberg, Fast Company and by the World Economic Forum.

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