Sunday, 9 December 2012

Reflections on Year One

I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front lately - silent in fact, since mid-August. Now that the academic year is slowing down a bit I've got some time and distance for thinking about how the project's gone, and what we'll do differently next year.

Firstly, here's a re-cap of what we've been up to since the launch of the magazine. There were three key tasks for the students during Term Three, and the few weeks of Term Four that they were present for, prior to NCEA exam leave: Visual Arts folio development (for those not familiar with the New Zealand system, the folio is a major external assessment for Visual Arts, worth about half of the credits available for a year); preparing for external exams in English; and completion of internal assessments for Art History, English, Media Studies and Visual Arts.

The third task in this list - completion of internal assessments - was not an initial part of our plan for the year, but it became clear as we marked work that although the theory of producing authentic work for a magazine and marking it against a range of standards was good, in practice there was some 'shoehorning' required to make sure all the requirements of a standard were met so that the student could be awarded the credits. As a result of this, in 2013 students will be working according to more conventional type assessment tasks that are designed to ensure all requirements of a standard are met, while at the same time giving students the freedom to produce authentic work for Passionfruit Magazine.

Polaroid transfer onto bandage. Jasmine Wiltshier, 2012

Some of the feedback that we received from students during the first half of the year was that they wanted to be able to spend much more time making art works, and the development of their folios gave them the opportunity to do this. They embraced this fully, to the extent that it was sometimes hard to get them to attend to other work! The amount and flexibility of time available to students enabled them to explore a range of processes that we would not usually cover, and the photographers developed a particular interest in Polaroid transfers.

Our Painting majors were invited to join the conventional NCEA class for the second half of the year, and this assisted greatly with their skill development and ability to craft work to meet the requirements of the external standard. While the project based learning approach of this project is great for the development of a range of skills and aptitudes, the development of specific technical skills is variable, depending on the context each student works in. Attending a series of formal lessons proved to be a great way for the Painting students to develop some of their skills, and we are in the process of working out how best to integrate this into the project for next year.

Preparation for external exams in English provided quite a challenge. Enough time was available for the teaching and study necessary to prepare students for the exams, but students found it hard to adapt to the set requirements of preparing for a test when they had become used to working in a much more self-direct manner. In reflecting on the difficulties that arose from this, we are considering running an English 'line' of the timetable for the project students in 2013, or adding them to a conventional class at the appropriate level for some periods of the week so they are given the structure needed to help them have success in the exam.

I'll be back with some more reflections on the project in the coming week, along with some of the other ideas we have for 2013.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Magazine!


It's been a while since I made a posting here, thanks largely to a madly busy month or so of completing the magazine for the print deadline, followed by a launch event, filming some video snapshots with Merryn and Michael from CORE, and distribution of the magazine to schools, cafes and other locations around the city.

The response we've received when we show people the finished magazine has been outstanding. Having been so focused on the production of the magazine I think we've almost become blase about what we've achieved. I was reminded of this recently when I dropped in to show it to the team at Ministry of Done. They've been involved in more than their fair share of publications, and I really respect their opinion on educational projects. Hearing how impressed they were with Passionfruit made me step back and think "Yeah, we dun good!"

This added to a message that one of the students had received from painter Grahame Sydney in response to receiving a copy of Passionfruit:

Many thanks for the copy of the "Passionfruit" magazine received late last week. Its a classy little thing, with plenty of page-turning interest and a bold, sharp design element which makes it look very contemporary and professional.
Your own photographs look terrific, by the way. I trust you're pushing that adventurous talent as hard as you can, and being courageous - trusting your private instinct !!!
. . .
My congratulations to you and the team, and I hope working on Vol 1 has inspired further urges to carry on with more in future.

Another really pleasing experience for me as a facilitator of the project has been to hear the NCEA Level 2 students (who will be carrying on with the project next year) starting to talk about what they want to do in terms of leadership roles, and improvements they will make based on their experiences and the outcomes this year. It feels like we're beginning to build some momentum . . .

 


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Printing Passionfruit Volume One



A big thanks to Tony and Jono from Print House Ltd for letting us film them at work, and The Darkroom Project for the music.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Video Presentation for VPLD & DA Hui 2012

Two members of our teaching team (Lorena and Sam) presented virtually to the Te Toi Tupu's Virtual Professional Learning Development and Digi-Advisors Hui (VPLD & DA) in Christchurch on Friday 22 June. This video, a series of snapshots of staff and students reflecting on the project thus far, made up part of our presentation. 



A big thanks to everyone who was interviewed for the video, to Merryn Dunmill for inviting us to the Hui, and to Inspecta Morze for the beats.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Passionfruit Magazine cover artwork time-lapse

Here's a quick video of the first part of the making of our cover artwork. More to come later in the week, hopefully.


And for those who'd like to know, the video is shot on an iPhone, using a great little app called iLapse. Music done one GarageBand by a Fraser Music student. Video editing on iMovie.

Semi-Permanent

Words of advice from Moffitt &Moffitt
It's been a week since the Auckland edition of Semi-Permanent, and if I take much longer to reflect on it the news will be stale!

About a month ago I attended an event at Wintec with ten of the Passionfruit Magazine crew, at which Simon Velvin, director of the Semi-Permanent creative conferences, spoke about his career to date. He also gave away a few tickets to the Auckland conference, two of which I won! This set in motion a trip up to Auckland, with five of us (two staff and three students) attending the conference.
Ron English in conversation with Radar (conference MC)
Semi-Permanent was two pretty intense days (made up of four 90min sessions, each with two different presentations), and by the end we were all pretty exhausted! Stand-out presentations included those from Ron English, Industrial Light Magic, Swifty, Special, and the rather dodgy lads from Stolen Girlfriends Club (I was glad the students I had with me were mature seniors and not Year 10's).

Next time we'll see what we can do to get along to some of the conference side events, for a chance to interact more directly with the various people who are part of Semi-Permanent. I have to admit that sometimes it felt like a lot of sitting and listening and watching (which isn't too bad when the people presenting are the visual effects art director for films like Rango), and a bit more hands on activity would have been great. Events like the three day intensive hand-made zine workshop with Swifty would have been fantastic to be part of.
UK-based designer Swifty showing work from the Yea Nah zine project run prior to Semi-Permanent Auckland 2012
The best part for me (from the Curriculum Integration Project side of things at least) was the chance for out students to be exposed to a whole range of potential futures for themselves in the 'creative industries'. I think it would be unrealistic to expect many of them to go on to have careers in magazine publishing, but I hope that being part of the project will at the very least open their eyes and minds up to a selection of futures that could become theirs. After all, that's a big part of what education is about isn't it?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Passionfruit - the web media wing

It feels like some real progress is being made with the magazine now.

The website is up and running (although constantly under refinement). We currently have three articles published to it, along with a few other links of interest.


The Facebook page is also live, with just over 100 'Likes' and growing. Jessie-Lee, one of our students, is running the social media wing of the magazine as her main role in the project. She's been analysing the approaches taken by other visual and popular culture magazines, and is basing her strategy on what she has learned. There's a Pinterest page on the way too.


It took some negotiation to get the students' access to social media (in particular Facebook) from within school, and there was a definite lifting of the mood when they were finally allowed access! Since the access has been granted it's been impressive to see how much more sharing of links to a whole range examples of visual culture there has been in our class Facebook Group, compared to when they only had access from home.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Passionfruit Magazine website goes live

If we're tracking progress against Doorley and Witthoff's emotional arc for a project, yesterday was a definite 'up' in that we (and by we, I mean web editor Lia Ellis and her team) got the magazine website all live and functional. Articles currently available feature designer Christian Pearce and photographer Mark Hamilton.


As a result of that I'm very proud to be able to let you know that the name of our magazine is Passionfruit, and you can find it online at http://www.passionfruitmagazine.co.nz/. There's also a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/PassionfruitMagazine which we'd love you to 'Like'. A Pinterest for the project is also in development.

In reflecting on the progress to getting the website live, I want to acknowledge Lia's outstanding perseverance. She's worked through many obstacles in the site development, and refused to give up until she had a product that functioned the way she wanted it to. Of course there are a number of kinks that need to be ironed out, but I have all confidence that she will work through these too.

In conjunction with the web version of the magazine we'll be setting up a couple of online 3D galleries thanks to sponsorship from the good folks at Exhibbit - http://www.exhibbit.com. You can look forward to a gallery of our students' work, along with one of work by the artists we are writing about in the magazine.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Downs and Ups

If you've been reading this blog from a macro point of view you may have detected something of the ebb and flow of the project. In one of my earlier posts I mentioned the cycle of 'overwhelmed-ness' as a result of encountering new ideas, followed by a sense of accomplishment as a structure to incorporate the new ideas is developed, followed by the introduction of new ideas . . .

Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft describe a similar experience in their excellent book Make Space, based on their experiences with the Stanford University d.school. They outline (pg 176) an 'emotional arc' as moving through the following phases:  

Up - "A sense of excitement and limitless possibility" as the project begins
Down - "Overwhelming complexity" as the project's participants realise how much they've taken on
Up - "Unifying insights" as breakthroughs to solutions are achieved
Down - "Complete loss of confidence" during periods when it seems as if you won't achieve the goal
Down - "The brutal realities of implementation" as things take longer and cost more than you imagined
Up - "Completion"

At the end of last term we'd come to a bit of an impasse as a group, when it seemed that we had a short period of time to sell an unreasonably large amount of advertising to fund the printing of our project's magazine. Everyone (including me I have to admit) was pretty down in the mouth about it.

When we returned to school after the Easter break we took some time to review what we've achieved so far, and what we had left to complete. We also looked over the feedback that students had provided in the 'How I Learn Best' box and discussed how these suggestions could be facilitated (more structure; tasks broken down more; less things to do at once; more affirmation of successes, among other things). This morphed into a series of 'what if?' questions, which resulted in a small change of focus for the production side of the project (more web-based, less in print) and a request for some new quotes from the printers.

And now, to quote project member Jeremy Healey's in our Facebook Group
Well, everything is starting to come along. Things feel achievable now. Much better than last term.


And by the way, if you are interested in advertising in a magazine that targets young creatives (16 - 19 years) in New Zealand, please feel free to contact me (s.cunnane AT fraser.school.nz). Seriously!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Natural outsiders: Thinking about Jonah Lehrer's 'Imagine'

I've been making the most of my non-teaching time recently to get a bit of reading done, in particular Jonah Lehrer's Imagine: The science of creativity (which also seems to be sub-titled 'How creativity works'). 
The world is full of natural outsiders, except we don't call them outsiders; we refer to them as young people. The virtue of youth, after all, is that the young don't know enough to be insiders, cynical with expertise. While such ignorance has all sorts of obvious drawbacks, it also comes with creative advantages, which is why so many fields, from physics to punk rock, have been defined by their most immature members. The young know less, which is why they often invent more. - Jonah Lehrer

This issue of what young people have to offer (and in my particular case, the young people who are part of the Curriculum Integration Project) is one that I've been reflecting on a bit recently. While it's nice (well, sometimes nice, and sometimes incredibly challenging or frustrating!) for them to be part of an 'authentic learning project', if all we're doing is re-producing a 'real world' experience in an educational context is that really making the most of their potential?

Is a paper and web-based magazine about visual culture the ultimate product that 20 'natural outsiders' can produce? Or can they/we produce something that is properly innovative, that moves beyond the bounds of our current experience, and really connects the visual culture of their world with their colleagues? How can we best help them take advantage of the 'virtues of youth' to create something new rather than reproducing a version of something old?

In five years time when we look back at what they invented you'll be mentioned in the credits Jonah. And in the meantime, when we're cursing the idea of taking on such a big project, you may also get a mention!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Impact of Kickstarter, Creative Commons & Creators Project

Here's an interesting video (from the PBS series Off Book, produced by Kornhaber Brown) that challenged my thinking about the world we're preparing our students for (and the world they're already operating in). Thanks to Idealog magazine for drawing my attention to it.



Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Teamwork and Target Audience

Several weeks back Charles Riddle, Mark Liu and Simon Nicholls from the Media Arts Department at Wintec (our local Media Arts School, and a strong supporter of this project) spent a Friday afternoon with us sharing some insights from their experiences working on similar projects (including Village on the Hill and The Waikato Independent).

Here's a short video with a couple of excerpts from their talk.



(Please excuse the less than ideal audio! A good interview mic that works with DSLR video is on my list of things to buy for the project. If you have any suggestion of a good brand and model for this, please leave a comment)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Authentic Authenticity

It's been another challenging week! Let's assume that means we're learning lots and being stretched!


Community Engagement
One of Fraser's goals for this year is to better engage (to use a popular educational term) with our community. While the project was not by any stretch of the imagination set up as a PR exercise, I expected that the Curriculum Integration Project would provide some opportunities for this engagement. However, I've been taken aback by just how this has played out as we have begun to engage with our wider community in an authentic way (read "went begging for help to complete our project"!).

I've already blogged about the contribution Adlite Signs made to the project following a student's suggestion. Added to this though have been visits to our studio from people like Emma from the Ministry of Done, and Margi, Simon, Mark and Charles from Wintec's Media Arts Department (the people behind the Waikato Independent and The Village on the Hill). These people have taken the time to connect with our group of budding magazine publishers and share 'real world' experiences of various parts of the publishing industry.

Further to this has been the incredible generosity of the artists and designers who have not only been willing to be interviewed by our students for the magazine, but in some cases have offered their time to come and run workshops, or be filmed for stop-motion videos of them making work, or have pointed the students in the direction of additional information and other resources that will help enhance the project.

Epitomizing all of this has been a media specialist (I'd better check with her before I say too much to identify her!) who has met twice with members of our team to share invaluable insights from her experience in the industry, and finished our last meeting with a "just call me any time you've got a question." What incredible people we're having the chance to work with! And if you're reading this, thanks to all of you!



Authenticity
It is becoming clear that one of the key challenges for the project teaching team is working out how we can provide sufficient structure for the students to give them confidence that they will have a successful product at the end of the project, while maintaining the flexibility to respond to the new learning that takes place at each step. A number of students have let us know that they were feeling pretty overwhelmed by the size of what we've bitten off, to the point where it was starting to get demoralizing. I guess that's the 'down side' of engaging with 'authentically authentic' learning in this kind of project. When the teacher moves to being at best a facilitator, and at times a fellow learner it can leave the students with a sense of 'who's steering this thing?' which has clearly been unsettling for some.

However, I'm becoming familiar with some of the cycles of our project learning process: We engage with some form of focused 'learning event' (frequently a visit to or from a guest) which opens our eyes to a series of previously unseen challenges and opportunities. This frequently leads to a bit of a down-swing as the students grapple with how to incorporate this learning into their current understandings of the project. After a day or two of unsettled-ness a plan and structure begins to emerge as they take ownership of the new element of the project. And then we invite in a new guest in and the cycle continues!

Out of this cycle is growing a greater sense of student ownership and driving of the project, which has to be a good thing!


Saturday, 17 March 2012

More interviews

I've got a more reflective blog post coming, but in the meantime, here are a couple of teasers for some of the interviews that have taken place this week.

Deaan Marchioni interviewing painter Meredith Collins in her home studio

A short excerpt of David Creighton-Pester's interview with Gemma Rockliffe



Saturday, 10 March 2012

Interviews

You know you're in the art project too much when you feel an emotion, and the first thing you think is "I'll blog about it!!" - Sharnae Hope
Among many other tasks (including some substantial requirements for art making) this past week has been the week of artist interviews. Students have carried out a mix of face to face, telephone, and email interviews with artists from around New Zealand. Artists interviewed have included Grahame Sydney, Robin White, Mark Hamilton, Darren Glass and Christian Pearce (whom it turns out is a Fraser old-boy).

As you may have read in my last post, the level of concern was building for some students as they waited to hear back from their chose artists. For those who did hear back there has been a great deal of smiling and celebration. For those who didn't, there has been some hasty choosing and researching about new artists.
Mark Hamilton. Photo by Sarah Crawford
Today has been the best day ever! I interviewed Mark Hamilton, an amazing local photographer who was kind, friendly, and very funny when he was talking about his photographing career and experiences. It was absolutely daunting and exciting at the same time ...    Sarah Crawford 

From a teaching point of view, one of the things I really like about Sarah's blog (http://crawford-sarah.blogspot.co.nz/) is the way she uses her writing to reflect on what she's been learning, and what she'd do differently next time.

 Boom one interview done, and wow it was cool (: i don't know why i was so nervous. My artist was so lovely and i learnt heaps! i'm so stoked i have done it, it finally feels like i'm actually getting somewhere now! i'm very happy with my progress.    Jasmine Wiltshier

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Structure, interviews and being transparent

In several ways it's been a challenging week for the project! We seem to have got over the initial novelty of the new programme and working with new people, and the reality of how much work there is to do is settling in. The following are a few observations/reflections on the process thus far:

Structure -
Finding a balance of structure and flexibility that works for each individual is quite a challenge. During a couple of 'family meetings' that have erupted spontaneously (and I suspect are becoming part of the culture of our project) students have indicated that they are finding the lack of directed 'whole class' structure a challenge. Not having set times to do 'English' or 'Art' and the like, and being able to take a break and make a coffee whenever they want, while initially sounding like a great idea is actually quite hard to deal with. Comments like "It's too easy to keep putting off completing a task because you've got all day. Then it's the end of the day and you still haven't done it" have been made more than once. This has made me question how much structure I, as the project leader, should have built into the project. Did we under-plan? Or are we moving through a period of learning how to be better self-managers, in what will ultimately prove to be a really productive development?

We're currently experimenting with students blogging their daily goals first-up each morning, and then reflecting on their progress three times a day in an attempt to help establish more structure for each individual. So far this has helped to bring a bit more accountability, but I suspect it is taking more time than is necessarily beneficial, and that a daily goal and reflection is probably more than enough. Based on one of the students setting her daily goal as "get the IT man to block Blogger so we don't have to blog each day" I may not be the only one who thinks this! You can read their blogs by following the links on the lower right hand side of this page.

Interviews - 
The main tasks our students have been working on over the past couple of weeks have been researching background information on the artists they hope to interview for the articles they will write, and making contact with those artists to set up interviews. As someone who is a rather word-based person the idea of doing this really appeals, to me but I know for a number of the students it has become quite a hard slog - reading and reading and reading, and coming across the same information in slightly different forms as they visit various gallery websites.

However, in the last few days, as artists have begun to reply to the students and emailed interviews have got underway there seems to have been a renewed vigor in the work. When you're about to speak to someone about their work in person there is a real pressure to make sure you know what you're talking about, and you're not asking silly questions!

Being transparent - 
Interwoven into the development of the Curriculum Integration Project (and in particular through this blog) is a philosophy of making the process transparent: sharing our failures as well as our successes and making explicit the thinking behind the actions we're taking. As I've been thinking about what to write for this blog update I've found that a bit of a challenge. Sharing your adventure when it's in the planning and imagining stages can be inspirational and exciting. Sharing it when some of the students are less than thrilled about their day to day activities, and you're feeling like the project running a week or two behind schedule is a different story!

Still, I remind myself that it'll be great to be able to look back and accurately recall the process we went through, and that for others who are planning similar projects it could be encouraging to see that our path hasn't all been rainbows and roses!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Scheduling

To steal a line from Emma Bettle (Ministry of Done) "Project management is just making lists and sticking to them. Use post-its." So, one of our tasks for today is to create a list of all the tasks required and schedule in when they need to take place. We've begun breaking into small groups and each focusing on a key area.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Thanks Adlite!

The lovely folks from Adlite Signs in Hamilton came and installed our inspirational wall quote this afternoon. They supplied and installed the text totally free of charge!

Monday, 13 February 2012

The unexpected curriculum


I think it's interesting how as a teacher you can plan a series of lessons or learning experiences for students, and then when they're put into action a whole lot of other learning also takes place?

Last week's key focus was going to be how we could apply design thinking and some creativity to turning a traditional classroom space into something that would better enable teams to carry out project based work, and that would be interesting and inspiring to spend time in. We achieved this, to a reasonable extent, although there are still many parts of this project to complete (chief among them being getting rid of the world's ugliest curtains and replacing them with a window treatment that allows us to vary light levels, and reduces heat from the sun).

However, there was other, less fully anticipated, but ultimately more important learning that took (and will continue to take) place:
  • How do you work with people who have a different work ethic and work output to you?
  • Working with the same people all day is quite different to the usual secondary school scenario. How do you get the best out of this?
  • What additional skills and contacts do we each bring to a project such as this, and how can we utilise them to achieve the greatest value for the project?
  • When helping students to develop their problem solving skills, what is the balance between making it too easy for them by giving them my answers, and making it too hard for them by leaving them completely to their own devices?
  • How do you use a belt sander? How much paint will hessian board absorb before it stops looking patchy?
  • People who may not have been entirely excited about a project when you describe it to them can have a much more positive response when they see it in the flesh, and see the learning that is taking place.
  • Support staff are incredible - in our case two of the ground staff put their other work on hold for most of two days to help us out
Some of this learning was relatively easy and pleasant. Other learning was, and will continue to be, challenging. Some of the learning was experienced by the students. Much of the learning was experienced by their teacher.



Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Hack your learning space

Friday 3 February - the first day with students participating in the 'project'. A busy and exciting day! We spent most of the day working on our 'Hack your learning space' activity, designing the learning space that we wanted to learn and work in for the year.

Key elements of the designs presented included kitchen space, hooks for bag storage ("like a cloak bay from primary school"), couches/beanbags, table space, and a 'tree-house'. Working within our $500 budget we'll see how much of this we can bring to fruition.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Learning@Schools and Co-construction

 CORE Education's Learning@Schools conference, two full days of challenging and extending my thinking and connecting with inspiring educators, finished on Friday. Here are some reflections on my learning from the conference.

Co-construction is a nice education-y word, and one that I thought I understood pretty well and was a reasonable practitioner of. However, several discussions during the conference seem to have conspired to blow apart my understanding of it somewhat. Following our meeting via Twitter (@samcunnane and @christianlong) and on this blog, my colleague Lorena Strother and I attended Christian's presentation on designing 21st C learning spaces. Our post-presentation discussion about the curriculum integration project was wide ranging and inspirational. One of the more immediately applicable outcomes was a decision to begin the project by letting the students design the arrangement of their learning space from the bare room upwards. This isn't the most obvious epiphany (!), but it feels like began to crystallise a significant shift in my thinking about how I teach.

Maybe it's better explained like this: I have a increasingly clear vision of what I want students at Fraser to learn or become: people who know what they're passionate about, and who are learning how to develop the skills to make a life in that area of the world and society. For those of you who are teachers, think of that as our ultimate 'learning objective'. Previously I've assumed that the best way to get to that 'point', or at least to head students in the right direction, was to set up a series of activities that would step them along the journey. I might co-construct how these activities would be done with the students, but essentially I expected them to take their direction from me. I assumed that essentially I knew the best way for them to get from A to B. What if (and being introduced to the concept of 'desire paths' during DK's session on the future of school design advanced my thinking in this area) my role is not to lay out the path, but to help the learners (myself included) find their way from wherever they are now in the direction of point B (recognising that where I thought point B was may well not be where they need to go anyway!). 

The upshot of this all is a move towards developing a point of connection, an intersection, between a whole lot of creatives (some of whom are Fraser students, and others whom are practicing members of the various creative communities), instead of just producing a magazine. So, if we assume that encultrating students into local and global communities of creative production is the end goal (and part of me now questions if even this is something I can assume, but for now we'll say it is), our new challenge becomes identifying within this what the 'problems' are that need solving so that our students become part of those communities. That makes the first weeks of school a bit different to the traditional "We'll be covering these standards, so get learning the answers"!

I suspect this post reads somewhat like a combination of jumbled ideas. Oh well! Check out the following for some additional (and more coherent) thoughts on the issue:

Teach your students to fail better, by Christian Long on ISTE

College Readiness: Learning Collaboratively, by Ben Johnson on Edutopia 

Ewan McIntosh at TEDxLondon, September 2011


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Third Teacher (on less than a shoestring)


I dropped by school this afternoon, and our classroom is 'ready' to start being transformed into the studio of a student driven visual culture hipster publication. As you can see, there's going to be a bit of work required to take it from where it is to a space that rivals Google's office environments.

However, as innovators, and not ones to be disheartened by the lack of a personal architect and a building team, we'll be transforming the space over the next three weeks into an environment that is at the very least conducive of a range of collaborative and individual learning opportunities. Our main ideas are based on flexible and interchangeable spaces for talking and working in various sized groups, spaces to socialize and recharge (couches and kai) and spaces for making work.

We'll be taking inspiration from The Third Teacher (a project I first met via the book, which my principal promptly stole off me when I showed it to her!). We're pretty excited about having Christian Long (from Cannon Design, home of The Third Teacher) speaking at the Learning@School conference right here in Hamilton later this month.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Studios in schools

Reading this article (Get Local) on the Design Mind site reminded me of Emily Pilloton's TED talk about the Studio H Project she and partner Matthew Miller run in Bertie County, North Carolina.


Check out more from Design Mind here.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

John Seely Brown: the architectural studio as a model of the classroom

Isn't it affirming when you find reminders that what you've been thinking a out and trying to achieve fits in with what a whole lot of other people have been thinking about and doing too? Over the last couple of days (and likely for the next few too) I've been doing a fair bit of wandering across the web following up interesting links, and it looks like the next few posts I make will be less of my own thinking and more of a collection of ideas our project aligns with and connects to.


This 2008 talk by Jorhn Seely Brown, which I came across in Fast Company's Co.Design post 4 lessons the classroom can learn from the design studio (which is definitely worth reading) seems to sum up and expand on many of the ideas we've based the development of our Curriculum Integration Project on.