An IU School of Education professor worked with a U.S. State Department’s program in fall 2019 so his students could to develop curriculums for collaborative workshops by working with the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo.
Professor Adam Maltese said he wanted his students to be able to receive feedback from an actual client instead of peer reviewing each other. The program, Diplomacy Lab, also gave them the opportunity to implement their curriculum instead of just discussing a plan.
"We can sit and peer review our plans all day but having an authentic partner to design for and to give us feedback and, in an ideal world, implement is an unmatched experience for students," Maltese said in an IU press release.
The Diplomacy Lab works with U.S. college students to provide resources that will help foreign policy issues, according to the release. The labs can range from an independent research project with a single student to lecture-formatted classes. Throughout the semester, students are in contact with the Department of State.
The lab has a project in Kosovo that involves makerspaces, collaborative workspaces typically found inside of libraries, schools or other facilities set up for learning and creating. Using makerspaces in public libraries, IU education students helped develop curriculums to teach young adults marketable job skills.
Maltese’s students created three curriculums for the makerspaces in Kosovo that focused on three types of learning: app design and computer science skills; paper cutting and making greeting cards; and guides for putting LED lights into quilt designs, according to the release.
When the makerspaces’ administrators implemented the student’s curriculums, the makerspaces purchased the equipment the students recommended and hosted several workshops of the curriculums. According to the release, many of the workshops reached capacity.
The deadline for faculty to apply to have their class participate in a fall 2020 IU Diplomacy Lab project is April 20. More information is available on the Diplomacy Lab website.