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Jay Swords, a long time Iowa Destination Imagination Team Manager, explain the benefits this program provides to his students.
DI serves many wonderful purposes for students. First and foremost, it provides a desperately needed opportunity to develop and improve creative problem solving skills. Divergent thinking, convergent thinking, inductive reasoning, critical analysis and evaluation, brainstorming in all its many forms, all this and more are a part of every DI problem the students work with. Secondly, DI encourages collaboration. Problems are worked on as a group and students are asked to work with others who do not think and process like they do. They not only develop the ability to tolerate other points of view, they actually begin to see the value of those other points of view when solutions they could not have come up with themselves fit perfectly to the problem the team was facing. Finally, DI provides practical applications for knowledge that students have been learning in their academic classes. Geometry, Physics, Architecture, Chemistry, Art, English, Social Studies, may all be necessary to actually create and present a workable solution to a DI problem. Learning is no longer theoretical because solutions have to work in the real world, not just the students head. I can think of nothing else in the educational world that can claim so many useful benefits in one extended activity. And did I mention that students think it’s a blast to do?!