Prairie and Alburnett high schools in Iowa are set to pioneer a national learning model called 3DE. This program is designed to prepare students for their future by connecting schools with businesses. 3DE focuses on teaching essential skills like communication, problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. The program provides students with exposure to diverse careers and allows businesses to gain insights from future leaders.
In this model, students collaborate with businesses to solve real-world challenges. During their freshman and sophomore years, students work in teams to research and develop solutions to business challenges, receiving guidance from professionals. In their junior year, students work on their entrepreneurial ventures while getting coaching from industry experts. In their senior year, they collaborate closely with a company to develop comprehensive solutions.
The program also offers opportunities for students to maintain connections with businesses through summer internships, allowing them to graduate with valuable skills and a professional network. The aim is to bridge the gap between education and the real world. Teachers will undergo training to incorporate the program into their lessons.
Data from 3DE programs in the U.S. has shown positive outcomes, including increased graduation rates, higher college enrollment rates, improved math and reading proficiency, and reduced absenteeism. The program is particularly beneficial for students from diverse backgrounds and low-income households.
The 3DE program has been implemented in multiple schools across the U.S. and was first launched in Georgia in 2015. It will replace the Iowa BIG program at Alburnett High School, providing every student with project-based learning opportunities. The decision to transition to 3DE was made to offer broader and more inclusive educational experiences for students.