The Entrepreneurship Gap: World Class Learners Blog 3

Create a lesson plan or design an activity for your grade level that uses It needs to be at least at a CReaTE level 3 or higher across all four components.

Content: Technology

Grade Level:8th

Standards:  ISTE 3. Knowledge Curator, 6. Creative Communicator

3a Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.

3b Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
3c Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
3d Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
6d Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.


The teacher will introduce the students to the GapMinder website showing students how the graph works.  The teacher chooses a specific topic to show on the graph, then the teacher asks students why they believe the data changes as it does over time and between areas.  The teacher shows the students different areas they can explore, then assigns the students to choose data to graph on the map.  The students have the choice to narrow the information to a specific country, region, or the world to compare the data to one another or over a period of time.  The students will research possible reasons for the data.  After researching the data, students will create a visual story (student choice: video, infographic, timeline, etc.) regarding their data.  Students will make recommendations for what they think should be changed or continued based on research of their topic for the best results (e.g. Lowest Mortality Rate in the USA).  Students may work with partners or alone.

Cognitive Complexity: Student interaction with content at an ANALYZE level (Differentiation; Organizing; Attributing), EVALUATE level (Checking; Critiquing), or CREATE level (Generating; Planning; Producing).  Students are analyzing the data, then researching to evaluate the data, and producing a depiction of the data using technology.

Real World: Learning simulates the real-world.  Student analyze data and researches to determine trends and reasons.  Many careers use similar data to evaluate and make recommendations for changes based on the data.

Technology Integration: Students use technology for Analyze, Evaluate, or Create thinking tasks.  Students analyze data from the gap minder website, evaluate research from online sources, and create visuals using technology.

Engagement: Student choice for tasks posed by teacher differentiated by content, process, and/or product (such as addressing learning preferences, interests, or ability levels) AND Variety of formative assessments of learning.  Student choice of creation allows for students to choose what is best for their interests.

Zhao says, “China cannot have a Steve Jobs”, and he goes on to explain why. What drastic changes would China need to make in their educational system so that an entrepreneur like Steve Jobs could survive and start a company like Apple? Could the 826 Valencia program work in China? Explain.

One characteristic of the educational system in China that deters entrepreneur mindset is the lack of significance placed on or fostered for innovation and creativity.  Prensky (2013) listed the old and new regarding the core subjects.  The old core centered on subjects such as math, english, science, and social studies, while the new related to thinking, actions, relationships, and accomplishment.  While the USA still focuses on the old core, they have also begun adding the new core, while China is still very focused on the old core integrating little of the thinking behind why the students are learning what they are learning.  Lee (as cited by Kang in Khao, 2012, p. 101) acknowledges that students in China can calculate and explain equations, but they do not know why or how to use the information they have learned.  Zhao (2015) says that while China has one of the best education systems, but it lacks creativity which helps create an entrepreneur mindset.

Confidence is another characterisitc that is different from China to the US.  Zhao (2012) notes how many students performed well on tests, but had low confidence overall.  While this confidence might not have affected their scores, it shows how confidence might not be valued in the country.  Without confidence, students are less likely to try something innovative or risky.  Students will play it safe, but will not be successful entrepreneurs.

In order for entrepreneurs to survive and start companies in China, the education would system would have to change so that creativity was seen as valuable, and students were confident in their abilities.  Education is not the only area that lacks creativity and self-confidence, but it is part of the culture.

The 826 Valencia program would probably not work well in China with the same way it is run in the USA.  One reason relates to the home life of students in the USA compared to the home life of students in China.  Eggers (2008) discusses how he built relationships with the community in order to get the students to begin coming to the center, but things in China are very different.  When they began the program, they seemed to focused on language learners and those students that needed extra help.  According to an anonymous article quoted by Khao (2012), Steve Jobs would have had low self-esteem because of his home life being born out of wedlock.  Just like Jobs, many of the students going to the center would be looked down upon, and might not go to the center based on how others treated them.  The author goes on to discuss how the way education works in China with rote memorization, Jobs and other creative minds would not have made it through.  While the students have ample amounts of homework in China, I am not sure that others would volunteer or that students would accept help.  Teachers might be open to asking professionals to come into their classroom, but it would be very strict based on laws of freedom.  Students created a newspaper, broadcast, or book would be censored, unlike the journalists and students in the USA.  In the video of 826 Valencia, the noise level and what appears to be a somewhat lack of structure would be very different from that of school in China typically.  The environment would be similar to that of school, and I am not sure that students would gain the same experience that students get in the USA from the program.

I worked in a Christian school run by my denomination in Hong Kong in  2014.  We had many freedoms to discuss and teach, but this was also in Hong Kong in a Christian school run mostly by leaders related to our church.  We were told that the government was still involved with the school, but they did allow Christian schools in Hong Kong, so there was a little more freedom.  826 Valencia would have worked in the neighborhood we taught in in Hong Kong because the students were very independent and took buses and trains to school.  The students also were very intrigued by us and the school supported us.  One concern would be about volunteers from the community helping students.  I am not sure if that would be something that would work as well as in the US.


Eggers, D. (2008, February). My wish: Once upon a school. TED. Retrieved from

Manson, T. (2007, July 13). A day at 826 Valencia. [Video File.] Retrieved from

Maxwell, M., Tassell, J., & Stobaugh, B. (2014). Create excellence framework. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2013, March 22). ECIS technology conference: Keynote address. [Video File.] Retrieved from

Rosling, H. (2009, June). Let my dataset change your mindset. TED. Retrieved from

Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, CA:  Corwin.

Zhao, Y. (2015, October 25). Who’s afraid of the big bad dragon? [Video File.] Retrieved from

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Entrepreneurship Gap: World Class Learners Blog 3

  1. Jessica Hampton says:

    I like the your idea for a lesson that allows students so much freedom to choose the data they want to compare. I think this is great! Any time you allow students to pursue their interests, the engagement level and dedication to the project is sure to create huge gains.

    I agree that China needs to make some serious changes. Abrami agrees by making the point that if the Chinese government intends to transform China into “an innovative society” by 2020 and a world leader in science and technology by 2050, they have to make some serious changes (2014). I also agree that China needs to stop the memorization and teaching in isolation. The ASCD makes a good point that a creative and innovative curriculum emphasizes big ideas and conceptual patterns rather than discrete information taught in isolation (ASCD, 2011). China would have to shift its paradigm to an education system that values and encourages creative talents, natural curiosity, and engaging in team building activities.

    Abrami, Regina (2014). Why China can’t innovate. Retrieved from

    ASCD (2009). Promoting creativity and innovation in the classroom. Retrieved from

    • diannawolf says:

      Since it’s for my 8th grade students, I thought they should have a little more freedom, but also a little more ownership of the project. Of course, some students would have a hard time starting, so I might have to help them get started, but I think they could handle a little freedom. If not, they need to learn.

      While I know that some are interested in China education being more innovative and creative, I’m not sure how well the teachers, parents, or community would respond to the changes.

  2. Allowing the students to create at their own pace, while owning their work helps to build confidences and credibility in the child. I also agree this lesson would work better with 8th graders but I feel even 6th and 7th graders could also benefit from this ability to create on their own with few restrictions and more creativity.

    Change in the Chinese education system would be a difficult. The necessary changes to allow creativity and innovation who be frowned upon because its provides to much freedom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s