Tuesday, November 13, 2012

lab update from amy

It's been a while since I have posted an update about the latest happenings with the Innovation Lab, which is now called 'the be lab.' Things change so quickly here, it's hard to know when it is appropriate to write an update. That's where the Community Dialogue could fill the void...

We have moved out of the 'be you house' so it is no longer available for meetings. The owner, Barry Floyd, needs to make some income on that property. We got a little bit of donated money, thanks to Kristen Specketer, and it sounds like we will be using it to pay him something for the use of the house.

In the meantime, Monika has been getting more attention from people involved in educational reform, and we were mentioned a few times in the middle and end of October again in Huffington Post, by Sam Chaltain, and by Beth Sanders of Youth Converts Culture in this blog post.

Upon the move out of the be you house, a family involved in the project (Heather and Sierra Goldstein) has started a 'for profit for good' called  homegrOWNzipcodes, along with Stephanie Stauder, owner of Anthology Book Company. We are modeling what we think a learning network might look like in a city using some blackboards on the front of Anthology, where people can write their fears, and also their interests (we're calling them curiosities -- one board for each). We're hoping in the next few months to create a phone app that works simultaneously as a nonlinear portfolio (that's where the testing industry is moving, believe it or not), which simultaneously matches up people with learning partners, per passion, by the content of their daily reflections into the app.

There is money out there to support this, if it is something that can be scaled to third world countries on the new smartphone technology. Ericsson has done something similar to reunite refugees in Nairobi. And they also started a Hackerspace there (iHub -- with several hundred members -- more on iHub).

Central to this would be the creation of a Makerspace, a la Make Magazine, but perhaps beyond the limits of our imagination, where community members can create alongside retired engineers and artists, and each other. This has been on Liz and Ken Rayment's radar for a long time, through their work with their nonprofit company, ActionWorks, which puts on the annual Robotics EXPO at Loveland High School.

Anyway, there will be weekly community meetings
at Anthology book store, 422 E 4th St, Loveland, CO 80537, 7pm on Tuesdays.

If this is going to work, it needs to be owned by the community, and needs community input and buy-in.
There will be a new article in the Reporter Herald about the chalkboards in the next few weeks, and perhaps a small documentary. Some young kids want a tree-house  and there is a woman who recently suffered a loss who would like to have one as well, so the community will be getting together to build it. We'll film it is an example of what can happen.

Also, the PBS special will be released in the beginning part of next year, and we will be participating in research on Connected Learning with Dr. Antero Garcia at CSU through the MIT Digital Media Lab. Monika has been listed on their site as an expert in 21st Century Education Policy, and has been blogging for them (see hereherehereherehere and here -- WOW!). She has been appointed to a leadership position within the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA), and will be helping plan the August 2013 IDEA Conference (IDEC) at CU Boulder.

Two possibilities are adding a Makerspace or Make events at the local alternative high school -- Ferguson High School -- or possibly getting the old Grace Church on West 4th Street, as an equitable community center, community collaboratory, and/or Makerspace. The library downtown also has a lot of new resources since they remodeled, and the director is on board with our project.

I think that's good for now...