An Interview with Ward Melville High School Teacher Ilene Littman
Business Education teacher
Ward Melville High School
East Setauket, NY
What relevant subject do you teach?
I teach Business Education and I added this competition into my honors marketing class curriculum and also offered the opportunity to my DECA club members in which I am the advisor.
What grades do you teach this subject to?
10th, 11th and 12th
What attracted you to this contest?
I thought it would enrich the marketing curriculum and provide students with essential entrepreneurial, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration skills to prepare them for the future.
What did you hope to accomplish or have the students learn?
Have the students learn how to think “outside the box” more often. I wanted to challenge them to come up with ideas and solutions that would not only make their own lives easier but to enhance society as a whole. The basis of marketing is to find an area/target market where you can fill a need. I had the students put into practice what they are learning in class.
Why this contest and not another one?
The timing was just right and I really like the Blue Ocean concept.
How did you integrate this into your curriculum?
I made it a class project (students could work solo or in a small group) and they were provided some time each week to work on their project until it was due.
How did you work together with your students? Who did what?
I guided the students along with the basic concept of Blue Ocean as well as incorporated our relevant marketing topics to help them see their projects through.
Were the students excited to participate?
Yes they certainly were. They came up with some very interesting ideas!
Were the students more interested in developing their ideas or in having the school win the prize for participation?
It depends on the student. In many cases a little of both.
Did you get any positive comments from students?
Students felt challenged and took ownership of their projects from initial brainstorming to the final submission.
Do you know if the students used the content on our website?
Yes, the students used the content provided as a guideline.
Do you use or teach the Blue Ocean concepts in your class room?
I have not before this contest but I will moving forward.
Were they be graded (on participation, on the pitches…)?
Yes, the students were graded on this project since so much time went into it. I modified the Blue Ocean rubric provided for my own grading purposes.
Did your school help in any way?
This was a project that I oversaw on my own.
Was there value to your school in your entering or will there be in winning?
Yes, we are a competitive school district and frequently acquire awards from academic and co-curricular events our students participate in (ie. DECA business club, Science Olympiad, etc.). I did not want my business students to miss an opportunity of potential recognition. I also felt it would be an excellent addition for student’s resumes and could potentially be a great discussion topic for college and job interviews.
What advice do you have for other teachers thinking about using the Blue Ocean Competition in their classes?
I think it is a great opportunity to get “creative juices” flowing. It is a wonderful competition to enrich business education at the high school level.
What benefits did you derive from your students participating in the competition?
First, I learned what the Blue Ocean concept is all about. This is something that I will continue to teach moving forward. This competition also helped me to easily reinforce topics taught in my marketing classes and I was able to assess the hands-on application of those topics as the students developed their Blue Ocean ideas.