About

Wow, just realized I never updated this page. So sorry!

Here’s what you need to know.

Our program is unique (to the best of our knowledge) within the public school arena in that it:

  1. teaches design thinking;
  2. is collaborative, interdiciplinary and gamified;
  3. allows students to “make,” in an innovative physical space; and
  4. is connected to external partners and incorporates service learning.

Until I get time to write up a proper ‘About’ page, I’ll end with this picture:

Our inspiration: Emily Pilloton, Teaching Design for Change
Our inspiration: Emily Pilloton, Teaching Design for Change

That’s the goal. How are we doing? Spend some time here on the blog and judge for yourself.

-kj-

 

8 comments

  1. avatar
    Chris

    Hi Kevin,
    I just found out, much to my delight, that I get to teach a gamified makers class in September. I intend to use game-on, as you do, and would love to be able to pick you brain about just about everything.
    Chris

    • avatar
      Mr. Jarrett

      Sure – would love to help – first thing, get yourself a testbed, install the plugin and start watching the build videos! Setup might be easier for you than for me – but I found it took a while to understand how to “bend” the basic functionality to my will. A Gamified Making class is actually BETTER suited to the plugin, as you’ll see if you haven’t already that they refer to missions or quests – a perfect container for making challenges. Let me know how I can help! -kj-

  2. avatar
    chris

    I got the chance to visit with Kevin last week. Here are some reflections….

    Hi Kevin,
    I very much enjoyed my day in your classroom. You were a very gracious host, even with such chaos and intensity swirling about the room.

    If I wanted a reminder of why classes like yours, and hopefully mine, matter to kids, I got it observing the action in your room on Wednesday. Kids were bringing their own ideas and thoughts to every project. From practical to really out there, every idea was welcomed and encouraged. Sometimes, from the wildest ideas come the best results but kids will never know unless they have the chance to think them through. Taking risks in your class, where kids are respected and valued, is an expectation you have. When you speak of what is going on in your class, it is always about the kids, never the content. “_____ is a special ed kid who presented at a conference in front of hundreds. How awesome is that?” or “That is an awesome question. I never would have thought of that,” are typical comments I heard the likes of over and over again. That attitude that the kids matter as people was pervasive through the entire day.

    Most importantly, kids are directly learning how to be empathetic. You tell them to change the world, and then you help them to see that they can indeed be the change they want to happen. Change the world for one, or for a thousand, it all matters.

    Flint Hill’s vision statement is comprised of three short statements:

    Be yourself.
    Make a difference.
    Take meaningful risks.

    My makers class is built around these three core themes, and kids love it. They come early, try to stay late, and find me in the hallways to discuss their ideas. Sometimes young folks hang out in places because the supervision is loose, and they can get away with things, and sometimes kids love being in a place because they feel valued and respected. I hope that kids spend their time in my room for the latter reason, and I feel pretty strongly that they like your space because of the environment you all work to create..

    Some points that I am bringing back to Flint Hill:
    Reemphasis on directly teaching empathy. My challenge now is to weave projects for real people into the gamified world I want the kids to operate. There is much work to do there.
    Design projects and challenges that push kids to use what they know, and stretch them to learn new things.
    Respect the child as a person.
    Demand that the children be present.
    Nurture a growth mindset in both myself and the students. Who knows where the next great idea is coming from?
    Don’t forget to teach 🙂 Being there, and having knowledge and experience to share, not dictate, matters.
    Don’t forget the fun. Middle schoolers will find ways to be social and have fun. Account for it, and leverage it into learning experiences.
    Nurture intrinsic motivation. Keep the grades out of the equation. We should all learn because we want to.
    Keep the kids doing the intellectual heavy lifting. Their ideas are probably better than mine anyway.
    I go back to “make a difference.” We might not be able to make a difference in every kid’s life, but we damn sure can make a difference in some of them. And some of the ones we do influence are the ones that traditional schooling tends to push away.

    Best of luck with everything. I am proud to have set the record for the longest visit ever. Enjoy your break.
    Chris

  3. avatar
    Heather Dunn

    Kevin,

    Thank you so much for blogging and documenting your experience of creating your digital shop. I keep coming back to you as we begin to plan/build our Makerspace. I wonder if we could chat sometime? I very curious about funding and scheduling.

    Please don’t stop blogging about this!! You are an inspiration!

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