VentureLab Champion Tina Belden encourages creativity in the classroom

VentureLab Champion: Tina Belden

Using VentureLab curriculum, Tina Belden has allowed her students to take on an essential entrepreneurial belief: “I can be as creative as I want and it’s not wrong.” 

Tina teaches a semester long entrepreneurship class. The flexible and modular VentureLab activities allow her to pick and choose what to implement and even combine activities when time is tight. Two days a week, students run a school store, and the other three days use the curriculum and apply what they learn to the school store experience.

Check out our interview with Tina below!

Name: Tina Belden
Teaching for: 6 years
Location: Estelline, South Dakota
I teach: High school computer science and entrepreneurship as an elective class to 9th-12th grade students
Outside of teaching: I have a big extended family and a small family of my own that I like to spend as much time with as possible.
I teach because: It is so much fun to see kids learn and grow everyday, everyday day is different and it is so much fun to watch kids grow in adults right before your eyes.
Favorite VentureLab activity: I love the prototyping activity! Students have to come up with an idea bring it to life, and what ideas some of the kids come up with! Then the iterations that come afterwards are so cool and fun to explore and understand!

On students feeling more free to be creative

The biggest part of the curriculum that the kids like is not only the group work, but the idea that “I can be as creative as I want and it’s not wrong.” In a lot of their classes, there’s one answer or two answers. When you’re in the curriculum, brainstorming for example, they can list 10 ideas and they’re not wrong. They’re not wrong if they list 5. It’s nice to be able to be creative and not have a repercussion for being creative. In other classes, you might not always see that.


On students discovering the entrepreneurial process

The biggest thing I think that kids are actually realizing is that every kid wants to do something right now. They want to do it today. But they’re also realizing the process that it takes before you can actually push out a product. It’s the research and their problem solving process. That process can take anywhere from a week to sometimes a month before we can actually get that product pushed out into our community and into our advertising and social media platforms for our school. It’s been quite a learning experience for our kids because everyone wants to do it right now, and they’re realizing that’s now how the real world works.

On students getting excited about ideas beyond the classroom

My class is an elective class offered to 9-12th grade students. I know that, just off the top of my head, I have at least one to two students that come in every day and say, “Let’s do this. Let’s create this. Let’s see how this works in this type of environment. Can we do this?” They are the ones bringing ideas to me, so that’s a win in itself. How many students go home, and while they’re at home, think of stuff they can create for our school store for our school to make it better? You just don’t have that!

Tina downloaded the VentureLab curriculum for free and you can too! Want to bring entrepreneurial mindsets and skills to your learners?



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