Saturday, March 11, 2017

March is for Making #11: Creating a Culture of Creativity

March 11  Creating a Culture of Creativity throughout the School

There are so many ways to approach having a makerspace in your school,  but who says it has to be ONE place!  Today’s March is for Making post is going to feature a school  that we visited where making is NOT concentrated to ONE SPACE, but instead distributed throughout the campus to create a culture of creating and making.   Making is happening in different parts of the school campus with each area being equipped with the types of resources you need for different types of Creating, Making and Learning.   This school (located on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu) is about as far away from Vermont as you can get, so hopefully this blog post can serve as a virtual visit that can inspire you and your students.
First let me answer the question lots of people were asking when we posted  a short summary about our trip to HAWAII on our blog.  Those who are following our mobile living and learning adventure, know that for 6 months we live in vintage bus in search of creatives and creative convergences; our goal is to bring what we learn back to the Create Make Learn community.   So no… the bus did not accompany us to Hawaii;  it spent 10 days in storage while we continued our search for creativity in our schools and communities.    Hawaii did not disappoint in that search.

The first school we visited was Kamehameha Schools  where  ed tech integrationists, Alan Tamayose and Lynne Horiuchi, welcomed us into their space and showed us amazing examples of excellence around their preK-12 school campus in Honolulu.

The incredible view of Honolulu and the amazing Nani Ke Ao Nei mural that filled three outside walls of their elementary school was one of the many signs we saw that we were in a very unique place.  This beautiful mural was created to be used as a curriculum tool.  Can you imagine the various ways you would be inspired to learn when such an amazing mural  replaces your textbook.  Check out some of the ways this creative work ( Nani Ke Au Mel mural) has been the center of so much learning at Kamehameha Schools

One of my biggest takeaways from this visit was that MAKING should be everywhere, and what better way to do that than distributed making throughout classrooms and designated spaces on your campus.   Our visit to the high school was cut short due to an unexpected meeting  that i could not reschedule, but during this brief visit, there was no shortage of places to CREATE and MAKE - each equipped with state of the art tools.

The first thing we saw were students MAKING MOVIES -- or rather making a student produced newscast,  navigating professional level equipment to share the school news with their peers.

Walking through the robotics classroom we were blown away with welding skills of one of the young women on the robotics team prototype that was being built for the upcoming Robotic Challenge.  Robotics Challenges appear to be like a varsity sport in Hawaii; each school we visited had a team that was deeply engaged preparing for an upcoming state competition.  Although we didn’t spot their 3D printer, it was obvious that the students were quite skilled at 3D design along with coding and engineering thought.  

We were equally impressed with the craftsmanship of student products on display in the wood shop and the skills students displayed creating artifacts as part of ancient civilization research.  The exemplary student work we saw as we toured the school reminded me of Ron Berger’s focus on supporting our students to do BEAUTIFUL WORK and  “ changing the vision of what is possible when students are allowed, compelled and supported to do great things”.  

Everywhere we walked, we saw BEAUTY and PRIDE in student work. It was obvious that creativity was part of the school culture and valued as a way of learning by the number of spaces equipped for creating and making. .  I must admit that it pulled at my heart string to think that so few of our U.S.  schools are fortunate enough to have such amazing resources available to their students,  but I was so pleased to see  the evidence that  Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s legacy and endowment were being used to support  her vision of “a perpetual education institution that would build a vibrant future for her people”.   She was definitely a woman of intelligence, compassion, and foresight and I’m sure she would have been smiling had she accompanied us on this tour.

As our tour continued we learned that the elementary school also took a distributed approach to making!   Educational Technology specialist, Lynne Horiuchi lead her colleagues into a thoughtful  inquiry asking “WHY do we want a makerspace?”.   This collaborative inquiry lead to the creation of three different centers for building, creating, and exploring.  As you can see from their website or from our pictures below

“Kamehameha Elementary School has not one, not two, but three unique makerspaces for haumāna and kumu to design, innovate and create! “   

On our tour we visited each of these  three spaces

Ka Wahi Kūkulu - the place to build

Ka Wahi Pāani  - the place to play

Hiʻilei Media Center - the place to create

Our first stop was at   Ka Wahi Pāani  - the place to play where students could learn through exploring.   The space is filled with exploration materials such as LEGO, K'NEX, Goobi,  Snap Circuits and more!

I loved the different  centers and challenges available to students as part of the exploratory landscape filled with stations that encourage play while providing culturally relevant curricular connections for students and teachers to use as starting points to their exploration.

I was struck by this framework of Exit Outcomes posted on the wall.  I followed some of the links posted in the room and found even more inspiring lessons and examples of student work here and here

As you can see from this 30 second video panning the room,  this small area makes the most of small pockets of time at the beginning and end of each day  to inspire students to  THINK, CREATE, SHARE and GROW through play and  exploration.

Ka Wahi Kūkulu - the place to build

The next place on our tour was a makerspace area which contained all the materials (and guidance) you need to experience design thinking and build what you imagined!

The walls provided evidence that “process”  ruled “product” in this makerspace.

Materials for building and designing were available and our visit, Alan, educator in charge of this space shared some of the challenges students had experienced earlier in the day trying to complete one of the many design challenges he structured for them.

Teachers are able to sign out the space filled with  Makey Makeys, Brushbots, an Eggbot, 3D Pens, Bloxelsbuilder, and LEGO Simple Machine sets.  They can work with Lynne or Alan  to create design challenges connected to their curriculum like this Gingerbread Man Trap Challenge.

The last place we visited on our makerspace tour was

Hiʻilei Media Center - the place to create

Where students are encouraged to use their imagination and create as part of the school library / media center.

Although students were not present when we visited, the images and video found on  their website  gave us a feel for the type of creativity that fills this section of Kamehameha’s makerspace areas.  

Throughout our tour, I was constantly impressed at the attention given to create an amazing learning environment filled with choice, creativity, and culture.

What an amazing inspiring place to be learn!  Thank you so much to  Alan Tamayose and Lynne Horiuchi, for welcoming us into their space and showing us incredible hospitality during our visit.  Although it will not be the same as having Alan and Lynn showing you around, hopefully this blog post can inspire you, too, as you look for inspiration in designing learning experiences for your students.  

Note:  This is one of three schools visits I will be sharing this month from our time in Hawaii.

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