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Collab Lab 32: Recap & Notes

Last Thursday’s Collab Lab explored what teacher-centric professional development might look like.  We had participants introduce themselves by sharing their best and worst PD experiences. As we listened to those conversations, one thing that stood out was the number of times the physical setting of the PD session came into play– an offsite location offered an opportunity to shift thinking, a session which had teachers sitting on cafeteria benches for two hours conveyed that those planning the session had not considered what the experience would be like for participants.

With those experiences as background, the first task for attendees was to inventory what they hope to gain/provide through PD. Those ideas fell into several broad categories:

Enthusiasm & Inspiration:

  • Excitement to replicate and extend
  • Inspiration
  • Enthusiasm
  • Enhancement of skills
  • Excitement — I want to leave and keep on working on it
  • Exciting change focused, purposeful, sound rationale
  • Transformation
  • Motivation to do what is best for students
    • their learning
    • their retention
    • their personal growth
  • Fun, humor, interactive
  • How PD looks for females

Gain Knowledge

  • Gain Knowledge about specific tech subjects– AI, VR, etc.
  • Learn to engage students in new technologies purposefully
  • See great pedagogy modeled and be able to practice it
  • Rich content
  • Increase knowledge…
    • student relationships
    • engaging students
  • Knowledge that pertains to me!
  • Chance to learn from everyone in the room [recognize the experience in the room]
  • Develop a different perspective regarding those around us
  • Resources
  • Realistic or tangible outcomes
  • Share researched based best practices
  • Access to new information
  • Knowledge
  • Current best practices
  • New perspectives
  • Authentic experiences
  • Actionable skills, knowledge, connections

Collaboration

  • A space to collaborate & innovate
  • Ideas surrounding achieving classroom equity at the college and eventually university level
  • Follow up/accountability
  • Engagement through action and collaboration
  • Applicable/relevant
  • Processing time
  • Opportunities to reflect
  • Group of similar professionals for
    • encouragement
    • support
    • common passion
  • A tribe

Connections

  • Connections for students
  • Authentic experiences
  • Excitement, passion, purpose
  • Exposure to other experts, mentors, coaches
  • Real access to tools, tech, mindset of others in an interest area
  • Contacts/networking
  • Fellow, passionate learners
  • Teacher to teacher PD
  • Respect as a capable adult learner
  • Opportunities to share my expertise
  • Form a supportive community
  • Increase collaboration among staff on working with students
  • Growing a community of learners.

Stretch & dive deep

  • Be forced to struggle and stretch
  • A desire to want more — go deeper
  • Stretch
  • Deeper investment in your work
  • Student PD — if you could learn anything at school what would it be?
  • Domain specific PD
  • Become better/more effective at what you want to do
  • Opportunities for students to grow, motivate their self in learning

Visions of what PD could be

With this broad set of goals in hand, we allowed a bit more time for conversation about how one might realize one more of those. From there we asked attendees to pair up and create a vision of what PD that aims to meet some of those goals might look like. Here’s some of what was shared.

Implementation of a school wide-initiative

Focus

  • One big goal or vision for whole school

It is not

  • A lecture
  • Cookie cutter

Participants

  • all stakeholders [in strategic teams that make sense]

It happens

  • Off site, neutral territory
  • As a 3-5 year plan with set SMART goals and monthly check in intervals

I’m able to leverage it 

  • Because all other PD is filtered through this vision
  • As a realistic shared vision — teams set goals aligned with vision

Community

Focus

  • Supporting persistence & community

It does not

  • Have a top-down structure
  • Feel contrived

Participants

  •  A group of people with a shared goal

It happens

  • In varied settings, especially getting people out of their everyday environment
  • Settings where everyday pressures are less pressing (leave town?)
  • Includes both structured and unstructured time

I’m able to leverage it

  • By having the flexibility to allow good things to happen
  • Let participants lead

A specific helpful computer program (one of many)

Focused on

  • Benefits & “how tos” of a new program

It is not

  • Condescending
  • Just a lecture
  • A one one and done or passing trend

It includes for participants

  • Hands on exploration
  • QA, comments, input from participants
  • Brainstorming, how could you use this?
  • Builds enthusiasm
  • Offers + schedule of follow up support for participants at all levels
  • Time for follow up
  • Research based, relevant
  • Of value — time saving/increased effectiveness

Team Cohesion

Focused on

  • Creating a more collaborative and safe team environment by establishing norms and committing to action

It does not

  • Provide space for admiring the problem and creating blame

It includes as participants

  • The entire team

It happens

  • At a retreat

I’m able to leverage it 

  • By creating a commitment to change and holding myself accountable for it.

Mindful moments

Focus

  • Transitions when students enter class. Being present and acknowledging current mental state/capacity for learning. 
  • Self compassion, self awareness, self efficacy

It does not

  • Have lectures or assignments
  • Mandate the rules of how to apply or engage

Participants

  • Teachers/faculty

It happens

  • 45-50 minutes initial time of session demonstrating strategies for teachers to learn and practice
  • Follow up email with people who are practicing/to share with others

I’m able to leverage it

  • At the end of the session we build an accountability partnership with other session goers. Email each other to check in once a week for three weeks. After that the partnership will re-assess

Power of Data – GIS

Focus

  • Scientific inquiry using GIS technology
  • Create individual lesson plans
  • Argue from evidence

It is not

  • A lecture

Participants

  • Educators– formal & informal

It happens 

  • As active learning over a 35 hour block

I’m able to leverage

  • Software
  • Career stories
  • Data collection
  • Varied context

Differentiation

Focus

  • Differentiation
    • access
    • accountability
  • learner needs, not roll out of programs

It does not

  • Disrespect the learner. Rather, it encourages choice, voice of participants

Participants

  • Leaders
  • Experts
  • Learners

It happens

  • During regular employee hours but can continue after ours or on vacations

I’m able to leverage it

  • Online, finding continuous connections, learning, teaching others
  • Us in classroom and in other profession
  • By sharing with colleagues

Equity Boot Camp

Focus

  • Equity — education & community
  • Misconceptions about race & identity
  • Racial inequality

It does not

  • Teach historical wrongs ONLY
  • Focus on people of color ONLY
  • Take it easy

Participants

  • Educators
  • Politicians
  • Advocates
  • Naysayers

It happens

  • At a ranch over a weekend in August

I’m able to leverage this to 

  • Tap into people’s desires
  • Immerse people in transformation
  • Take actions (planned during the retreat)
  • Use monthly check-ins and a return in January to move towards resolution)

Thanks!

Thanks to Dec Code Camp for providing the space and to our featured participants for sharing their expertise and ideas:

Amber DuChateau — Education Design and Technology Consultant, UWM School of Nursing

Joe Du Fore — Director of Business Development, Wisconsin Education Innovations

Shaba Martinez — Digital Learning & Library Media Specialist, Bruce Guadalupe Community School

Angela McCarty — Director of Education Services, Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC)

Deidre Roemer — Director of Leadership and Learning, West Allis West Milwaukee School District

Resources

Our participants shared a number of resources.  Here’s the list:

Code for Milwaukee Internship Program Code for Milwaukee is a civic technology non-profit that builds out projects that serve the greater Milwaukee community and beyond. They are starting an internship program that is open to middle and high school students who will help build out a technology based solution to solve a problem our community faces

MTEC

UWM Power of Data Workshops: 35 hour paid professional development program that enables st secondary teachers to increase students’ content knowledge, 21 Century Skills and awareness of geospatial technology careers through Geospatial Inquiry and data analysis.  June 2020

Wisconsin ArcGIS Map Contest The 2020 Wisconsin map contest is part of the Esri national student ArcGIS Online competition. It is open to all Wisconsin middle and high school students.

Collab Lab 31: Recap & Notes

Our December Collab Lab focused on student run enterprises. We were interested in the kinds of experiences participants hoped students might gain through participation in a student run enterprise.

Our process for the session took a slightly different approach, starting with how we wanted to students to talk about their experience. Our goal was statements that demonstrate a high level of engagement, but are also evocative enough that we could start to imagine how a student run enterprise might foster such an experience.

The initial brainstorming process generated a long list of experience statements, including:

  • “I worked really hard because the results really mattered”
  • “This program helped me find my passion.”
  • “The work here is important to me personally.”
  • “I’m glad I can be myself, express my mind freely.”
  • “I got to know myself better.”
  • “I grew as a person.”
  • “It was my favorite class ever.”
  • “I never thought I could do this.”
  • (with pride) “This is my project!”
  • “I chose to stay because of this.”
  • “I was able to make decisions that allowed me to take risks and learn from mistakes to help our business be more successful.”
  • “I learned how to fail.”
  • “There are real consequences for my actions in this enterprises.”
  • “I felt more empowered than ever.”
  • “This experience allowed me to really own my learning and let me take something I am interested in to a level I couldn’t have done without this experience.”
  • “I have a voice and I have value.”
  • “I understand my role.”
  • “I am proud of what exists here.”
  • “I am valuable to this business.”
  • “This experience helped me see how a business could not only help me but help the community.”
  • “The experiences I’ve had make me think about what I can do to help my community.”
  • “This experience allowed me to grow as a student leader and collaborate with others.”
  • “I have a better understanding of money, how it is created, and whether or not it has value.”
  • “I used the skills I acquired to further my knowledge and abilities.”
  • “I remembered doing this activity in class and could apply the technique learned to help myself.”
  • “This helped me learn how to apply my skills in the real world.”
  • “As a person, it made me make better decisions.  As a member of my community it made me open my eyes and grow up.”
  • “It helped me figure out what I want to do with my life.”

With that list in hand, we asked participants to form small teams to talk through ideas for how a student run enterprise might help students have one or more of those experiences. Our second process change was to have these ideas expressed as “What if we…” questions. We wanted to see if that led to more expansive thinking. Here’s what they came up with:

Individuality Initiative

We hope students might say…

  • “I learned to fail”
  • “This program helped me find my passion”
  • “I have a voice. I have value.”

What if we…

  • created an environment where students weren’t as fearful of failing, but instead were encouraged to learn from their failures ;
  • created a survey or interview process to identify appropriate enterprises and their roles within them;
  • encouraged an education system that catered to helping students find their passion instead of telling them what they should be?

Failing with Open Minds

We hope students might say…

  • “I learned to fail”
  • “I found my passion”

What if we…

  • allowed kids to fail;
  • allowed kids to pursue their passion and explore themselves;
  • sourced innovation from kids?
  • encouraged all to fail of front of an authentic, receptive audience with an open mind while pursuing a curiosity which can become a passion after taking a risk?

Sustainable Futures/Business with an Impact

We hope students might say…

“This experience connects passion to community and allows us to thing about our impact”

What if we…

  • challenge them to make a product or service that helps the environment or community;
  • challenges them to create a business or product that reduces their impact on the environment;
  • create a business that would help their specific neighborhood issue?

Change Agent

We hope students might say…

“I feel more empowered than ever”

What if …

  • this purpose already means something to me;
  • I am interested to lead;
  • we make the community better?

Milwaukee Made

We hope students might say…

“It was so great to work with other students of all ages and to make money and learn how to be successful in a business.”

What if we…

  • break down barriers to students creating a business;
  • we worked with an elementary school, high school, and college to create a store/experience for students to learn from each other to make a real business;
  • raised confidence and creativity through working with college professors and students in collaboration;
  • used the new Marquette space in Schlitz Park to sell the produces of student enterprises and employ high school students to work in the store/paid students for the products they sell;
  • collaborate with Marquette, MATC, Pathways High & Golda Meir to do so?

Try – Fail – Reflect (repeat)

We hope students might say…

“I learned how to fail.”

What if we…

  • take time to reflect after failure;
  • normalized failure;
  • push students outside of their comfort zone?

Thanks to The Commons for providing the space and to our featured participants for sharing their expertise and ideas:

Que El-Amin Co founder Young Enterprising Society

Claire Friona — Co-founder of Agricycle Global

Jill Hughes — Senior Business Academy instructor, Menomonee Falls High School

Owen Raisch — Associate Director, Student-Run Business Program at Marquette University

Collab Lab 30: Recap & Notes

Our November Collab Lab focused on opportunities to engage students around green infrastructure. We asked participants to brainstorm ideas around different types of green infrastructure as they are designed, installed or in service, using the inventory provided within the City of Milwaukee’s Green Infrastructure Plan. From there we paired up educators with representatives from industry, higher-ed, non-profits, and local government and had them flesh out a specific idea in greater detail.

Here’s what they came up with:

Identify targets sites for green infrastructure

Identify vacant lots in the students’ neighborhood to active and install stormwater trees, gardens, community art.

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain gardens
  • Stormwater trees
  • Native landscaping
  • Regenerative stormwater conveyance
  • Greenways & land conservation

Phases targeted:

  • Design
  • Installation

Desired experience for students:

  • Mapping GIS
  • Think about neighborhood & community
  • This is worth it!
  • Evidence and argument
  • Budgeting and finance
  • Understanding different land use/space factors
  • History of the area, why a particular lot is vacant
  • Cultural experience of neighborhood as an influence to art
  • Durability of art

What students will need:

  • Mapping software
  • Data
  • Facilitator/guides to support — experts, & exemplars
  • Documentation and presentation skills

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • UWM School of Architecture & Urban Planning
  • Youth Council @ City Hall
  • Pocket parks tour

How students might share their work:

  • Video
  • Podcast
  • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
  • Story Map
  • Social media/website
  • Share with community service organizations, the experts that helped them.
  • Storytelling– “What did I learn”

Art within Native Landscaping

Design art projects within a native landscape

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Native Landscaping

Desired experience for students:

  • Cross curricula – art/science/math
  • Exploring new things
  • Youth voice/leadership
  • New materials
  • Mentoring
  • Culture

What students will need:

  • Guidance/leadership to understand and get excited
  • Research on native landscapes, sustainable materials (what they are, why they are important)
  • Location, calendar, transportation

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Partner with college students
  • Landscape/gardening experts

How students might share their work:

  • Community grand opening, with presentation by youth
  • Garden Gallery (art) night

Low tech watering systems

Create olla pots or other system to water gardens when students/volunteers may not be available to do so.

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain barrels & cisterns

Phases targeted:

  • Design
  • Installation
  • In Use

Desired experience for students:

  • Research the history of olla pots
  • Design a system where rain barrels fill the pots (how many rain barrels?)
  • Calculate how much water might be captured
  • Determine the size of pots that might be necessary for a particular garden or space
  • Monitor gardens to make sure the system is working
  • Compare performance at different times of year
  • Evaluate how the long the system can run without support
  • Calibrate the outflow rate from rain barrels so that it is most effective

What students will need:

  • History of olla pots & agriculture
  • Math — planning for the # of pots for the area
  • Science — expected rainfall for the area, ecology, human impact
  • Communication skills — share what they did
  • Reading & writing
  • Arts — decorating barrels, making their own pots @ schools with kiln [can we make our own rain barrels?]

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Community connections for support in monitoring
  • Environmental engineers
  • fresh coast guardians from MMSD
  • Teens Grow Greens for different ideas on irrigation
  • Pottery infrastructure

How students might share their work:

  • video story
  • Present @ Science Strikes Back? [Escuela Verde?]
  • Share after a full growing season for data collection
  • Share publicly — news, radio, social media, USDA

Butterfly Garden

Reclaim paved area of “playground” for stormwater management and wildlife habitat restoration.

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain gardens
  • Native landscaping
  • Bioswales
  • Depaving
  • Soil Amendments

Phases targeted:

  • Design
  • Installation
  • In use

What students should experience:

  • Design process — native plants, permaculture, pollinator habitat, education of younger students
  • Self directed personalized learning

What students will need:

  • Research skills
  • Curiosity
  • Information sources
  • Access to professionals/experts

How students might share their work:

  • Photo voice
  • Signage
  • Newsletters & written media

Permeable paving meets math

Use installation of permeable paving as a chance to exercise mathematical thinking.

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Permeable paving

What students should experience:

  • Apply math concepts (geometry, algebra, etc) when designing permeable walkway through a park
  • Art, design, science of materials
  • Exploration of career paths
  • Presentation of findings

What students will need:

  • Access to practitioners
  • Manipulation/manufacturing of materials
  • Best practices for fitting pieces together
  • Permeable paving vs alternatives
  • Cost data for possible choices — installation, maintenance, long term costs

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Practitioners: non profits, contractors, college student mentors
  • MMSD
  • Artists
  • Landscapers
  • Tours of UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, GWC, MMSD, etc.)

How students might share their work:

  • Green Students Conference
    • Opportunity for students across schools/districts to present GI projects to each other
    • Green job fair — in part, the conference could be funded by exhibitors (engineers, landscapers, etc.) who do a job fair

GI Scavenger hunt

Inventory and map green infrastructure within students’ community; identify where water is coming from; find as many examples as possible, create a map using GIS software

What students should experience:

  • The possibilities that exist in different areas
  • Problem solving using mapping software
  • Ability to visualize things on a map

What students will need:

  • Mapping software and an introduction to using it
  • General location for finding green infrastructure
  • Lesson on green infrastructure installations and interventions

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Students who did bigger project

How students might share their work:

  • Story map

Water quality assessment

Assess the water quality in the local community

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain barrels & cisterns
  • Rain gardens
  • Soil Amendments

What students should experience:

  • Data analysis
  • Hands on development of project
  • Ownership & involvement
  • Success & Impact

What students will need:

  • Space
  • Native plants
  • Raspberry Pi computer
  • Types of soil
  • Types of compost
  • Gravel
  • Sensors for moisture/contamination
  • Water quality test kits

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Upham Woods — digital observation kits
  • Sweetwater – Adopt A Storm Drain
  • River Keepers
  • Plastic Free MKE

How students might share their work:

  • Social media
  • Murals
  • Logos
  • Mottos
  • Peer to peer education — teach others to continue project
  • Brand it
  • Give it legitimacy

Greening Alleys

Create a list of priorities for green alleys near a school, identify and collect the data to use in prioritizing the alleys.

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Green streets and alleys

What students should experience:

  • Surveying the neighborhood
  • Identifying improvements and analyzing lowest cost estimates of putting in improvements
  • Communication of survey, improvements,

What students will need:

  • Access to expertise
  • Computers/data sets
  • Estimation software/templates

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • MMSD — Lisa Sasso, Bre Plier, Nadia Vogt
  • DPW — Nader Jabber
  • WDNE — Ben Benninghoff, Samantha Katt
  • Civil Engineers — Justin Hegerty (Reflo), Kara Koch (SSE)
  • Communications specialist

How students might share their work:

  • Entering the project in a competition
  • Via website/communication pieces they design
  • Presenting at a conference
  • Presenting to politicians/city administrators

Intervention as Art

Create an environmental solution that is a form of art

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain barrels & cisterns [start here but then see where it may connect to something else]

What students should experience:

  • Allow students to develop creative problem solving, apply multiple disciplines (math, science, etc.) in order to create a solution
  • Allow student to assess the financial components/cost of implementing the art

What students will need:

  • Location to meet
  • Access to technology and materials
  • Sample size materials to create prototype of artwork
  • Transportation
  • Design expertise (art coaches/artists)
  • Self determination

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Artists
  • Engineers
  • Government officials & leaders
  • Foundations
  • Contractors (in trades)

How students might share their work:

  • Social media
  • Press engagements
  • Unveiling events
  • Presentations

GI target map

Map neighborhood to identify opportunities to install green infrastructure

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain barrels & cisterns
  • Native landscaping
  • Bioswales
  • Green streets & alleys
  • Soil amendments

Phase targeted:

  • Design

What students should experience:

  • Gain understanding of neighborhood and existing conditions
  • Gain understanding of community stakeholders
  • Build researching skills (reputable data)
  • Become informed skeptics
  • Gain understanding of types & applications for green infrastructure

What students will need:

  • Background in types of GI
  • Mapping support — map individual neighborhoods, add all to larger map
  • Critical thinking/perseverance
  • People skills — coaching/modeling
  • Arrange stakeholder meetings/presentations
  • Watershed locations

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Reflo
  • Eco Office
  • Environmental Engineers
  • SFS
  • Community organizations in neighborhood

How students might share their work:

  • Social media posts
  • Health fair at North Division
  • MPS STEM Fair

Heat Islands

Monitor/change heat island effect through interactive materials

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain gardens
  • Native landscaping
  • Bioswales
  • Stormwater trees
  • Depaving
  • Green streets & alleys
  • Greenways & land conservation
  • Green roofs

Phase targeted:

  • In use

What students should experience:

  • Gain an appreciation for environmental awareness
  • Visually see how GI can reduce heat island effect

What students will need:

  • Thermal imaging – drone
  • Students map with “hot spots”
  • Identify areas that would benefit from green infrastructure
  • What could be done– trees plants, gardens
  • See how different GI might reduce heat

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Engineering firms with surveyors
  • College students who work with GIS

How students might share their work:

  • Presentation to town, city, community
  • Design plan
  • From the areas identified, have students go to companies to implement or advertise their action plan

Designing School Building Projects

Allow students to design landscape areas; promote mentor-ship to have older students work with younger students; during construction, kids can monitor waste vs recycled materials

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain gardens
  • Native landscaping
  • Stormwater trees
  • Soil amendments

Phase targeted:

  • Design
  • Installation
  • In use

What students should experience:

  • Sense of ownership, cooperation, achievement
  • Growing consumable product
  • Science

What students will need:

  • Planting science and how to nurture
  • Planting buddies

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Contractors
  • Landscapers
  • Engineers
  • Business relationships for recycling
  • Farmers

How students might share their work:

  • Through food on table
  • Science & math through recycling
  • Personal development through succeeding in the process

Watershed Challenge

How can we positively effect the watershed in a way that will create buy in and support from the community


Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain barrels & cisterns
  • Rain gardens
  • Stormwater trees
  • Soil amendments

Phases targeted:

  • Design

What students should experience:

  • Career connections
  • Get out in the field
  • Community connections – picking up trash connected to effects on watershed, talking to community, brainstorming community problems
  • Urban water cycle – treatment plant
  • Science/environmental connection — labs to “see it”
  • Interdisciplinary — data, writing, technology

What students will need:

  • Background knowledge– getting off campus, maps science
  • Access to to local experts
  • Community connections — talking to people in neighborhood, observing the location
  • Structure/system for the design part of the project

Who students should meet as part of the effort:

  • Water school
  • Washington Park Urban Ecology Center
  • Storm Water Solutions
  • Engineers that design infrastructure — public & private
  • Go to a school that did a similar project
  • Groundworks MKE
  • Milwaukee Water Commons
  • Reflo
  • MMSD (Christina Taddy)
  • River Keeper
  • Plastic Free MKE
  • Sweetwater (Adopt a Storm Drain)
  • Upham Woods

Artful Capstone

Bring math, science, and art together for artful landscaping solutions; understanding the design process

Green infrastructure targeted:

  • Rain barrels & cisterns
  • Permeable pavement
  • Green Roofs [hotels & apartments]

What students should experience:

  • Awareness of environment
  • Seeing project through to completion
  • Impact on community
  • Puzzle solving
  • Design process
  • Connecting things to their everyday life
  • Opportunities to see career options

What students will need:

  • Time
  • Parental support
  • Access to opportunities
  • Mentoring
  • Inspiration
  • Pragmatic examples
  • Connections to their lives
  • Opportunity to take risks

Who students should meet as part of this work:

  • Mentors
  • Government officials
  • Home owners
  • Community members

How students might share their work:

  • Authentic audience
  • Other students around the world through
    • Tik Tok
    • 20 20
    • 15s Film
    • Pachakucha

Thanks to The Commons for providing the space and to our featured participants for sharing their expertise and ideas:

Catherine Bronikowski — Math Dept. Chair, North Division High School

Justin Hegarty — Executive Director
Lisa Neeb — Green Schools Project Manager
Reflo – Sustainable Water Solutions

Kara Koch — Senior Project Engineer,  Stormwater Solutions Engineering

Linda Reid — Principal,  Water 365

Erick Shambarger — Director of Environmental Sustainability, City of Milwaukee

Rosheen Styczinski — Principal/Landscape Architect, New Eden Landscape Architecture

James Wasley — Professor, UWM School of Architecture & Urban Planning

Resources:

Collab Lab 29 – Recap & Notes

Our 4th season of Collab Labs kicked off on October 10th with a focus on building skilled trades talent.  We began the discussion by building an inventory of the skills we’d like to see students develop. These fell into two broad categories:

Technical Skills

  • Design Skills
  • Read blueprints & technical drawings
  • Fine motor skills/hand-eye coordination
  • Math and measurement
  • Budgeting/Understanding job costs
  • General understanding of construction trades
  • Equipment/resource planning

Soft Skills

  • Creativity/Innovation/Problem solving
  • Fail Fast
  • Safety
  • Ability to take constructive criticism
  • Ability to take direction
  • Self Advocacy
  • Self discipline/integrity/follow through/show up ready to work
  • Self confidence
  • Determination/grit
  • Collaboration/Interpersonal skills within a team
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to listen
  • Willingness to learn/ask thoughtful question

From there we asked each discussion group to talk through experiences that do or could provide opportunities to build those skills. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Build2Learn Camp $500 stipend for summer workshop
  • European model – apprentices
  • Engage employers – job shadow
  • Inspire/Awe – Makerspace Home Depot creative space
  • Intentionally incorporate soft skills into lessons
  • Provide high interest projects
  • Bring industry speakers into the classroom
  • Real world applications with purpose – e.g. 3D prosthetics
  • Mentorships
  • Teamwork: moving a project to completion
  • Presenting/exhibiting craft work
  • Building confidence with no or low risk simulations.
  • Leverage connections and take them to scale
  • Address skills gaps with “it takes a village” perspective
  • Get professionals into classrooms
    • They can learn from students
    • Talk with students, not down to them

Our final step was to have each group take those ideas, talk through what a program might look like, and share that out with the entire group. Here’s where they landed:

Project Start to finish real world application

  • Build a house
  • Bring in industry
  • Have mentors
  • Engage employers
  • Build soft skills
  • Build technical skills

Goal is to have job ready workers, provide apprenticeships, job opportunities.

Identify industry partner/employer

  • Ask “What do you need from us?”
  • Identify what workforce needs exist
  • Identify training/skills needed

Company sponsored projects

  • Materials or time
  • Interviews of
    • the company
    • the student
  • Interdisciplinary/project based learning
  • Working with other schools/districts
  • Protocols
  • Feedback models – Hard on content/soft on person
  • Leverage technology
    • Skype team meetings
    • Drone/webcams of projects progressing
    • Build excitement about upcoming technologies

Early Hands-on Exposure

  • Youth apprenticeships
  • Out of comfort zone
  • Peer mentorship
  • Self-realization/mediation
  • Options (electives)

Students: Littles – early exposure

Education Workplace: Welcoming anti-racist, data-driven, performance based

What’s needed to move forward: Looking past personal bias, equal access to opportunities, a cultural shift

 

Industry-owned Youth Apprenticeships

  • IDing under-served population
  • Mapped to skilled trades values and skills
  • Bringing the industry straight to the families

Thanks to CG Schmidt for sponsoring our food and beverages for the evening, The Commons for providing the space, and to our featured participants for sharing their expertise and ideas,

Peter Graven – Earth Science/ Life Science/ Robotics, Deer Creek Intermediate School (St Francis)

Craig Griffie – Technology Education, Brown Deer High School

Tracey Griffith – HR Outreach Manager, Walbec Group

Crystal Marmolejo – Project Engineer, CG Schmidt

Reginald Reed – Founder/CEO, Mindful Staffing Solutions

Josh Rudolf – Scheduling Manager, Mortenson 

Collab Labs Return for 2019-2020!

Our Collab Lab series is back for a 4th season! Join us on October 10th to kick off the series with Collab Lab 29: Building Skilled Trades Talent. The complete schedule for the season is below.

Collab Lab 27: Recap & Notes

See Math Everywhere

We had a record crowd for Collab Lab 27, where we explored ways to enable kids and parents find creative and playful ways to engage in math throughout Milwaukee. The focus for the session started with an idea Mary Langmyer raised coming out of our December Collab Lab– what would it look like if we could see math everywhere in Milwaukee? We worked with Mary to put together a vision statement, and started talking to folks we wanted to pull in to help figure this out.

Mary introduced the evening’s topic and several of her sources of inspiration. We then had attendees form groups that each contained a mix of educators and community partners. Their first task was a brainstorming activity to capture ideas what seeing math everywhere might look like.

Each group was then asked to pick an idea to develop. We had them flesh out details, get some feedback from other attendees, and then outline what it would take to move the idea forward. Here’s what the groups came up with.

Estimation on Location

A scavenger hunt to estimate distances, times, quantities, percents age, etc. of neighborhood landmarks.

  • Where: School, library, neighborhood, grocery store, parks, pools
  • Who: Teacher, librarian, community organization, leader, parents, students, pedestrians
  • When: How about now? How many windows are in this building?
  • Partners: Libraries, schools, neighborhood associations, businesses, MCTS
  • Resources: Basics, like paper, volunteers, data, tracking, use a Google form or app if you want to get fancy.
  • Testing it out: School, library, south shore park

Fort MKE

Engage neighborhoods in construction of forts from re-cycled material

  • What: Everyone likes a fort; recycled/refurbished material; visual appeal of design; potential metrics– capacity, dimensions, quantity of material used, location coordinates
  • Why: Build community locally and across the city; teach math and engineering design, and communication skills
  • Where: Parks or schools– activate anywhere (access/equity)
  • Who: Kids in Milwaukee; 3 levels, for elementary, middle, and high school students. High school students might take on as a service learning project for a homeless shelter
  • When: Summer
  • Prize: Top design becomes an interactive exhibit at Discovery World (with membership for participating kids and families?)
  • Partners: MIAD, Rockwell, Northwestern Mutual, MSOE, Discovery World, Milwaukee County Parks, neighborhood associations
  • Resources: Recycled building materials, marketing materials
  • Funding: Sponsorship from partners
  • Test: Pilot in fall of 2019 with 2 schools

Family Road Trip – Go With Math

Math related activities for families planning a road trip

  • What: Budgeting of time and money – miles, maps, calculations
    • pre planning/investigating multiple trips; ranking
    • spreadsheet tracking
    • estimation and comparison with actual outcome
    • create simulation/game/scenarios of chance
    • create an app for others
    • environmental impact/cost
  • Why: Apply math, critical thinking real life, dream, plus plan and budgeting for the unexpected
  • Where: Could be anywhere!
  • Who: Anyone, any age– a family activity
  • When: Summer project with family or as project within school
  • Partners: travel agent, gas stations, visit MKE, tourist attractions, restaurants, transit, banks
  • Resources: Online travel planning ; spreadsheet app/program
  • Funding: Donors choose/go fund me; online research sites for sustainability

Fitness App Hackathon

A STEM challenge for Milwaukee area students to develop a fitness app

  • What: Hackathon to develop an app to track steps, heart rate, milage, weight goals; Once launched, users can hit fitness goals to unlock discounts at local establishments
  • Who: Collaboration with MSOE and YMCA
  • Where: Host the hackathon at MSOE
  • Partners: MSOE, YMCA, MPS, Learn Deep, area accelerators; MKE retailers and vendors
  • Resources: CYSI; local incubators; Vroom; MSOE students/faculty; YES! (Young Enterprising Society)

What does it take to dye the Milwaukee river?

What’s the math around dying the Milwaukee river green?

  • What: On the (now past) occasion of dying the Milwaukee river green, have students estimate how much dye is actually required.
  • Why: Apply concepts of volume, concentration, and flow rate to a real-life problem
  • Where: Competition at the Fiserv Forum where teams present their calculations. Winning team gets to participate in the ceremony to dye the river.
  • Who: MPS middle and high school students
  • When: NBA Playoffs for 2020?
  • Partners: Bucks, City of Milwaukee, DNR, Brewers, DNC, local universities
  • Resources: River measurement estimates (with which to calculate volume; data on dye concentration levels/coverage
  • Funding: Sponsors to fund Fiserv event; food & beverage donations
  • Test: Get the data from 2019 event; model the problem in a classroom to calculate volume and use food coloring to estimate concentration levels

Milwaukee’s Movable Bridges

Math explorations while waiting for a bridge to lower

  • Where: Milwaukee River bridges along Plankinton Avenue and Water Street
  • What: Younger kids – count the number of boats going past; older kids — geometry of bridges (height, angle when raised, shape), velocity, duration of events — boats passing, bridge raising/lowering; how can this process be made more efficient for everyone impacted?
  • When: Anytime, or while waiting for a bridge
  • Why: We have a captive audience that needs to do something during the wait time.
  • Who: Drivers, walkers, bikers, public transit riders, boaters
  • When: Spring/Summer (to supplement summer learning)
  • Partners: Milwaukee Public Works, Vroom, Google field trips
  • Resources: Signage by bridges
  • Funding: City, summer/after school programs
  • Test: social media challenge; summer to do list from school

Math-a-thon

Math races for a cause

  • What: Create a math race for your favorite cause where participants look at
    • estimation
    • measurement
    • conversions
    • functions
    • substitution
    • geometry – angles, slopes
    • speed/velocity
    • rate of change
    • averages
    • variables
  • Why: See math everywhere– Students determine purpose and type of race (bike, walk, marathon)
  • Where: Milwaukee area with evidence of math and interest (animals, vets, immigration, etc.)
  • Who: 6th-12th grades
  • When: Winter/spring of 2020
  • Partners: City (route feedback, viability); Existing races/walks; fundraisers, organizers, MPS
  • Resources: Classrooms/teachers
  • Funding: Contest, racing funding
  • Test: Plan southside mural tour with 3rd-5th graders for winter of 2019. Show results to potential partner organizations to sponsor an event during the summer of 2020

Smoothies for Mathies

Play with ratios by playing with food

  • What: Smoothie cards that are placed next to ingredients within grocery stores with activities focused on cost, nutrition, and quantities.
    • Substitutions, pie charts, percentages
    • Include prompts for families — what is the most cost effective, nutritious, etc.
  • Why: Access– we all eat, practical knowledge, adaptable recipe, nutrition, creativity, trying new foods/combinations
  • Where: Grocery stores, fruit stands, farmers’ markets, gas stations, anywhere food is sold
  • Who: Shoppers, stores– could be categorized by goal, e.g. more fiber, ethnic food, weight loss, body building
  • When: anytime/seasonal recipes
  • Partners: Aldi, Sendiks, Outpost, Pic N Save, other local stores, Fondy food center, Riverwest Community Food Center
  • Resources: Nutritionist, cook book authors, chefs, graphic designers, MIAD, printers, distribution/display maintenance
  • Funding: grants, advertising/promotion, brands pay for printing, food entrepreneurs for product placement; UW extension, WIC community outreach.
  • Test: individual store, easy to duplicate if successful; community stores

If you want to bake a pizza you must first invent the universe

An after school program to grow and prepare food

  • When: After school
  • Where: Neighborhood center
  • Why: People eat every day. If you are seeing math in something you do everyday, you’re learning math (in addition to nutrition and health)
  • Who: Students
    • Elementary School – garden
    • Middle School – Grocery store
    • High School – Test kitchen
  • How: Chez Panisse in Berkeley, grants, neighborhood center, partner
  • Partners: Grocery store, farm, restaurant, CSA school PTO, neighborhood center, Discovery World,

Build a Business

Student run business as exposure for applied math

  • What: Understanding economics of building a business; competition w/startup funding and showcase of ideas.
  • Why: Teach students fundamental math skills used in a business
    • pricing
    • costs
    • strategies
    • marketing, etc.
  • Where: After school program
  • Who: Middle and high school students
  • When: During school (equity); after school
  • Partners: Banks, JA, area entrepreneurs, foundations, sporting teams
  • Barriers: Time, funding for startups, curriculum, scalability
  • Resources: Leighton (MPS Rec), interested teachers/school districts, Universities, business schools, B-school students
  • Testing: 1-2 MPS After School summer programs/CLC site

Thanks!

Thanks again to Mary Langmyer for her enthusiasm and work to pull the session together, and The Commons for providing the space for this month’s Collab Lab. Thanks also to Monique Liston from Ubuntu Research who brought her grad students to both lend a hand and participate in the session.

For those of you that want to connect with or learn more about some of the math folks and resources from the Collab Lab:

Mary Langmyer is on Twitter @mlangmyer
Chris Nho with Chicago Public Schools and Public Math is on Twitter @nhoskee
Synovia Moss at Medical College of Wisconsin coordinates Vroom for our area
Gabriella Pinter at UWM runs math circles for teachers and students


Collab Lab 26 Recap & Notes

Storytelling

Collab Lab 26 focused on storytelling and how we can use those practices to empower student voices and drive engagement.

We started the discussion with the question “What hopes do you have when students are given a chance to tell stories that matter to them?”:

  • Students will be able to share stories with an authentic audience
  • Students will develop a sense of identity and worth
  • Students will have the chance to understand a commonality of experience
  • Students are able to advocate for their ideas
  • Students capture history making connections
  • The process models collaboration, community, and critical thinking
  • Students understand the power of their voice, and empathy for others
  • Students share and support authentic representation, identity, and learning
  • Empathy – students see the ethical and therapeutic potential of seeing others as human
  • Students gain a sense of freedom, choice, ownership, authenticity, bravery, and dignity from the stories they share

Authentic storytelling comes with risks, so we also asked about the fears participants had when students tell stories that are meaningful to them:

  • We are not prepared to hear a story in a supportive way
  • A lack of efficacy or ability to change lives
  • If we don’t teach the art and science of storytelling, students will stop telling them– they need an audience
  • No acceptance of failure (shame, exposure, sharing)
  • Sensation of negative, leads to negative – e.g. if one student tells a story of harmful behavior does that lead others to emulate that behavior?
  • It is difficult to combat the toxicity of Celebrity as Hero.
  • Vulnerability of students (low initial stakes with incremental risk)
  • Exposure of trauma without an ability to care for it

From there we moved on to ask “What questions can help students identify stories worth telling?” Here, the need to as these questions in an iterative, repetitive way was called out as a necessary step in getting students to think deeply about their responses.  The goal for participants here is to help students find a story they can tell from the heart.

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you from?
  • Why?
  • For what and for whom?
  • How can this story touch one person?
  • How do you tell different stories to different people?
  • What’s your reason – your personal mission statement?
  • What is/are your:
    • weirdness
    • mutation
    • zip code
    • fears
    • pains
    • joys
    • passions

Our final question asked participants what they need to help students tell these stories:

  • To create a culture and community that supports students’ voices, and provides safety and comfort as they tell their stories
  • To give students options about how to tell their stories
  • To provide students a space that makes them feel awesome
  • Time, flexibility, community, connections
  • Access to storytelling expertise
  • Time for students to play
  • A culture of storytelling that recognizes the need for authentic listening, and receiving
  • The opportunity to use non-linguistic media
  • Imagination

Give the focus on storytelling, one of our discussion groups captured what this might look like as a story:

At MLK Elementary, a 6th grader who was sometimes seen as a troublemaker got up in a front of a room and told the story of how she realized she was a naturally gifted pool player.  This resulted in lots of positive attention for her! The workshops and prep time she used paid off!


Resources

Milwaukee Film

Youth Education (for young people): https://mkefilm.org/for-educators/youth-education

Educator Services: https://mkefilm.org/for-educators/educator-services

UWM

Milwaukee Visionaries Project (MVP) UWM-sponsored after-school animation program serving middle and high school students from throughout the city of Milwaukee. Our programming for middle and high school students aligns with the MPS school year and we enroll students on a rolling basis throughout the year. MVP does not currently offer a summer session, but UWM’s greater Art Ed networking organization (ArtsECO) runs Pre-College Art and Design classes for high school students during our off-season.

Information for Pre-College programming available at UWM can be found here: https://uwm.edu/arts/pre-college/

ArtsECO Based within UWM’s Peck School of the Arts, our diverse programming offerings develop teachers as change-makers. ArtsECO is backed by a strong and sustainable community of arts organizations, non-profits, and K12 school partnerships. We offer monthly Meet-Up events available to the public as well!

Geoconvos

Using place and identity as framework for storytelling as an https://geoconvos.org/

 

Have something to add that we didn’t catch here?  Let us know.


Thanks!

Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space for this month’s Collab Lab.  Thanks also to our featured participants:

Karen Ambrosh — Teacher, Audubon Technology and Communication High School
Emily Berens — Program Coordinator, UWM’s ArtsECO
Adam Carr
Wendy Harrop — STEM/Library Integrator, Summit Elementary School
Dominic Inouye — Founder and Director, ZIP MKE & Jane’s Walk
Megan McGee — Co-founder and Executive Director, Ex Fabula
Cara Ogburn — Programming & Education Director, Milwaukee Film

Collab Lab 25 Recap

Water: How can we engage students in authentic learning experiences related to water and water technologies?

Beyond the facts that Milwaukee sits next to a whole lot of water and spans several watersheds, it is home to more than 200 water technology companies. This creates an opportunity not just to explore physical connections to water and the environment, but to tap into expertise around how water is used and managed.  At our February Collab Lab, we pulled together individuals from area organizations engaged water technology and issues from a variety of perspectives. We then sat them down with educators to flesh out some ideas and make the connections that can help bring those ideas to life.

 

Amber DuChateau was kind enough to step in as a guest facilitator.  She guided our discussion groups through a process that began with participants sharing what drives their work and what excites them now about what they’re working on.  From our perspective, the really interesting work in schools is driven by teachers passions.  This method of introduction provides a chance for them to connect with others who share their enthusiasm.

 

Our search for opportunities began with a brainstorming process within each discussion group.  We asked each table to generate ideas for potential projects using one or more of these strategies:

  • Mix and match — What would it look like to combine exciting work from 2 or 3 members of your table?
  • Shift context — What does it look like to take exciting work and put it in a different location, class (art music, language arts, history, business), age group?
  • Empower students — what does it look like when students drive the questions, act as mentors to younger students, lead the project
  • Distribute the work — what changes if you had 10 classes chipping in, what does it look like if you have 100?
  • Extend the scope — what changes if you can rely on the skills of students/teachers in other classes?

That process gave us a list of ideas that included:

  • What constitutes “healthy water”
  • How does water flow through the curriculum
    • gardens
    • aquaponics (our focus for Collab Lab 22)
    • connecting questions (inquiry) to answers (outcomes)
  • How is water made?
  • Connect Sweet Water’s Adopt a Storm Drain project to schools
  • First Lego League + Computational Thinking + Water problems
  • Water Poetry (with presentation of work)
  • Test presentations of water related work before visitors to Discovery World
  • Tell the story of a drop of water
  • Tell the story of a drop of water through water bracelets (each token on a bracelet tells part of the story)
  • Enlist students in UWM’s School of Freshwater Science as mentors to MPS Science teachers working with Project GUTS
  • Tell the story of the Habitat Hotels constructed for the Harbor District by Bradley Tech students
  • Extend STEMhero‘s curriculum to connect students to look at water usage of businesses near schools

With those ideas in hand, each group moved on to select one idea and create a vision for what that might look like.  Here’s where they landed:

Project Idea 1: Adopt a Storm Drain +

Goal

Students adopt one or more storm drains near their school.  Students understand the function of storm drains, how pollution can enter the system, and be swept into area streams and Lake Michigan.  Inspired by this understanding, they work to keep their storm drain(s) free from garbage that may be swept into the drain and out into area waterways.

Key Issues

  • Scalability– how can this effort spread
  • What education levels to target?

Potential Partners

  • Sweet Water
  • Green Schools Consortium

Project Idea 2: If I Were a Drop of Water

Goal

Engage student physically, mentally, and emotionally to understand the flow of a drop of water from where it lands in Milwaukee and its journey to Lake Michigan.  Use a multidisciplinary approach to help students build these stories, which are then presented to an audience from the wider community.

Where/Who/When

Across the watersheds which cover Milwaukee in grades 6-12.  Pilot the effort in 7th or 8th grade. Prep for the effort in the fall, get students outside in the spring to follow the path of water from their chosen source to the lake.

What’s Needed to Move Forward

  • Identify locations to use as starting point for water journey
    • Tap local expertise to do so (building connections between schools and partners)
  • Do a test run of the water journey with teachers
  • Map the work envisioned back to curriculum standards

How to get Started

  • Reach out to science curriculum specialists to help identify schools who might be willing to pilot
  • Run the idea past local experts to identify source locations that would allow students to follow interesting journeys

Project Idea 3: What Constitutes Healthy Water?

Goals

  • Incorporate actual water issues for Milwaukee– lead, lake levels, etc.
  • Include water quality into multidisciplinary curriculum

How to get Started

  • Identify a client (big or small) for the work
    • Miller
    • Summerfest
    • MMSD
    • Colectivo
  • Craft a project to engage students in work to explore/address the client’s concerns around water.

Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space, to Amber for facilitating, and our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Brenda Coley – Co-Executive Director, Milwaukee Water Commons
Jake Fincher – Stormwater Program Manager, Sweet Water
Tony Giron – Community Engagement Manager, Harbor District Milwaukee
Justin Hegarty, P.E., LEED A.P., Executive Director, Reflo
Kelly Ibarra – Teacher Success Lead, STEMhero
Cate Rahmlow – Director of Sector Strategy Development, WEDC
Rochelle Sandrin – Science Curriculum Specialist, Milwaukee Public Schools
Liz Sutton, Outreach Manager, UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences

Collab Lab 24 Recap

Maps as a Point of Engagement

The idea for session came out of conversations we had last summer with Donna Genzmer and Kate Madison faculty members at UWM.  Kate and Donna run UWM’s  Power of Data Teacher Workshops. The Power of Data (POD) Project offers a 35 hour professional development program in mid-June that helps secondary teachers enhance existing lessons with Geospatial Inquiry.  Through NSF funding the program is both free for teachers and offers a stipend to participants.  We thought it would be useful to offer teachers interested in exploring how to leverage maps/Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools a chance to explore some ideas, and connect with resources early in the year so they might better be able to leverage the PODs training.

Milwaukee has a wealth of GIS talent at area universities, industries, and non-profits.  Our featured participants brought a broad range of expertise and practical knowledge in the use of GIS/spatial data analysis across a variety of domains.  We structured the session to allow participants to share their interests in exposing students to spatial data, explore ideas for potential projects, and solicit advice for how to make that happen.

That covered some pretty broad territory:

  • Neighborhood asset mapping
  • Macro economic data to map micro space
  • Conservation/spatial learning re Zoo animals
  • Connections to Math (social justice)
  • Viable composting sites
  • Linking environmental issues through maps
  • Past/present/future of place
  • Location of “good” landlords/housing
  • Location of bird houses
  • Parent pickup
  • Crime geography/address social justice
  • Locations for mobile maker space visits
  • Place of residence w/respect to school
  • Invasive/native plant distribution
  • Land and resource usemap
  • Suburban/urban agriculture
  • Watershed education
  • Green infrastructure
  • Food deserts
  • Location for community gardens
  • Data visualization
  • Develop GIS Apps w/IT/GIS skills
  • Freshwater connections
  • Connect people to water resources
  • Rainwater flow
  • Safety
  • Waste stream
  • Climate
  • Location of Companies

 

Upcoming workshops:

Milwaukee Community Map

Tuesday February 19th
4:30 to 5:30 PM
[email protected] – 908 S. 5th Street, Milwaukee
details 

PODS Workshops

UWM POD Workshop #1
June 3 — 7, 2019, UWM Library

UWM POD Workshop #2
June 17 — 21, 2019, UWM Library

details


Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space and to Marvin and our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Emily Champagne – GIS Supervisor, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD)
Donna Genzmer, GISP – Director, Cartography & GIS Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Auriana Gilliland-Lloyd – Conservation Assistant, Bonobo & Congo Biodiversity Initiative, Zoological Society of Milwaukee
Lawrence Hoffman – GIS Program Manager, Groundwork Milwaukee
Beth Haskovec – Program Officer, LISC Milwaukee
Kate Madison – Policy Analyst, UWM’s Center for Economic Development
Dr. Aleksandra Snowden Ph.D. – Assistant Professor Social & Cultural Sciences, Marquette University
Michael Timm – Reflo/Milwaukee Community Map

Collab Lab 23 Recap

The idea for last night’s Collab Lab came from Chris Willey after a conversation we had last summer.  Chris runs UWM’s Immersive Media Lab, and had recognized that there are a bunch of organizations in Milwaukee doing interesting work in innovation and entrepreneurship at the edges of K-12.  He suggested we use one of this season’s Collab Lab as a way to help educators understand what the organizations are up to, and uncover areas for collaboration.  We started with a list of organizations– UWM’s Immersive Media Lab, MIAD’s Open Lab, Kohl’s Innovation Center, The Commons, 88.9 Labs, Islands of Brilliance, Brinn Labs, and brought a group together to talk through what this might look like.

Collab Lab regulars know that our aim is not to talk at attendees, but to foster conversation among them, so a series of presentations was out from the start.  Since real collaboration requires alignment of more than just short term interests. Real collaboration comes out not just shared goals, but shared values.

This notion gave us both the first step in our process– having participants describe what it is that drives the work they do– and the idea to have Marvin Pope come in as a guest facilitator.  Marvin’s passion is helping others understand and share their purpose, so it was a natural fit. We were delighted that agreed to do so and was willing to work with us to refine the process he’d lead participants through.

Here’s where we landed…

To start, Marvin asked each participant to capture in a sentence or two, their purpose, and the work they do that is guided by that purpose. Participants then shared what they had written, first with whomever they were seated next to, and then within their discussion group.  Here’s some of what participants shared:

  • I’m on a mission to connect math teachers and transform classrooms
  • To facilitate others to become life-long learners
  • To expose students to opportunities and experiences
  • Helping students and teachers rethink learning through new means of instruction and student centered practices

We followed that by asking participants to note what they need to keep moving forward with their work. This too was done first individually, and then shared within the discussion group.  One of the goals here was to illustrate that it is not just educators who need help getting to where they want to be.  Representatives from each of the organizations were part of each discussion group, and they talked through their purpose, work and needs as well. Here we heard things like:

  • A support system that believes in the work I do
  • Teachers willing to collaborate
  • Ideas and perspectives that augment my own

Collab Lab 23In past sessions when we’ve led discussions about how to move past barriers, these focused on the common barriers to common goals of the participants.  Last night we focused on the specific needs of each participant. Participants had been documenting their thoughts on paper form we created for the session.  At this point we everyone pass their forms to the right, to gather ideas from each of the other participants within their discussion group. Once those made it all the way around the table, we let the groups talk through what they had written. The most interesting feedback I got was after the session ended when one attendee, commenting on this process noted “I was expecting a lot of You shoulds.  What came back was a lot of I can help withs.

We wrapped up the process by having attendees jot down what their path forward now looks like. At the end, the form they completed, told the story of the purpose behind their work, the hurdles they face, the help they can get within the community, and where that help will take them. We invited participants to share their story with the group as a whole, by posting their form on the wall, or telling their story on a digital voice recorder to be shared more broadly.

Sorry, no big, overall summary of the discussion to report, just the good news that the process seemed to spark a lot of ideas around how attendees may work together to get where they want to be.

 


Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space and to Marvin and our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Marvin Pope – BU

Tarik Moody – 88.9 Labs
Bill Pariso, Becki Johnson, Pete Prodoehl – Brinn Labs
Nick Grbavac – The Commons
Mike Klug, Tanmay Mhatre, Josh Delzer – Kohl’s Innovation Center
Mark Fairbanks & Amy Mason – Islands of Brilliance
Chris Willey – UWM’s Immersive Media Lab
Ben Dembroski – MIAD’s Open Lab