Ector County ISD (ECISD) has taken a novel approach to teaching and learning through innovative inquiry and problem-based experiences, as well as authentic educator professional development. Its PICK Education collaborative connects students and teachers with real world experiences through university and institute partnerships, pushing them to ask and help answer real world questions.
Founded by the Innovation Department at ECISD, PICK Education is currently working with ten university partners on data analysis in medical research, citizen science, and engineering challenges. Some of these universities include Tulane University, the University of Maryland, Texas Tech University, San Francisco State University, and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. “Through these collaborations, students’ findings have made significant advancements in scientific research while learning state requirements in the process,” said Jason Osborne, Ector County ISD’s chief innovation officer.
But the program is making a difference for its educators, too. “It was not only a once in a lifetime experience for some of these kids, it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me,” said Elizabeth Gray, an AVID Coordinator and the PICK Education teacher ambassador at Falcon Early College High School. “These kids are now the experts. And they will be able to teach what they learned and how to do the experiment to their fellow students. And I just think that’s fantastic.”
According to Osborne, the goal of PICK Education is to change the educational experience for all: “Students gain ownership of their education, teachers gain authentic training experiences, and partners gain contributions to data as well as a new generation of potential undergraduate students, researchers, or team members.” #IAmTXEd