Creativity and Discovery as Teachable Processes
Students will be introduced to various types of creative expression and imaginative thinking. Students will gain an understanding of their own mental processes that lead to innovation, and experience and practice creative thinking. Students will examine methods of supporting, nurturing, and cultivating creativity such as the design school process, startup incubators, and artists and writers studios.
Research & Development Initiatives Integrated with Curriculum
Many of society’s most transformative ideas and innovations have sprouted when people are in a playful environment having impact and having fun.
The idea behind a Programmable School is that it is a physical living laboratory infused with the spirit of invention and creativity, where every physical component becomes a learning possibility. It contains scientific and engineering experiments built into the structure of the school building itself, and students can (for example):
Measure temperature gains with different kinds of thermal mass brought into the lobby for passive solar energy gain
Determine optimal light levels for green walls of plants to minimize water needs
Cover a classroom window with carbon nanotube film to conduct energy generation experiments
Create a rooftop Sky Farm using atmospheric energy generators, bee hives, and aeroponic vegetables (without the use of soil)
Initial efforts will focus on taking Ambient Computing (the Internet of Things), adding to it the idea of a Smart House, then mixing in the concept of a Makerspace. The result is a physical school that is manipulable by students as part of their daily learning experience.
Students will work with faculty and university partners to turn STEAM Studio's physical space into more than just an environment in which classes take place. The space itself becomes part of the learning adventure.
With this in mind, our first R&D initiative is "A Programmable School."
Action Learning Labs
Students apply classroom learnings through real-life interdisciplinary projects: deep-dives into current topics related to Engineering, Life Sciences, and Computing / New Technologies. Labs are run like new ventures. Students use Design Thinking to imagine and discover breakthrough solutions, and apply the Scientific Investigation and Engineering Processes to guide their journey. Students explore the convergence of scientific and artistic creativity, and are encouraged to collaborate across disciplines.
The Studio Environment
Studios are designed to facilitate collaboration between students and is where Action Learning Labs happen. Students work with teachers, other students, technology, and with industry experts in a design studio and lab environment. Studios are places of cross-fertilization where idea sharing between students with different learning styles and different approaches to the creative process can lead to new ideas, new ways of perceiving the world, new artistic creations, and scientific discoveries.
Performing Arts are integral in our learning environment. Classes and workshops are year-round, with a focus on instrumental instruction and performance, computational thinking through music, and computer-based composition.
On-Demand Learning System
On-Demand Learning fosters personalized learning and provides a place where content, resources, and lectures from staff and outside experts are available 24x7. Students can draw from it to learn whenever and wherever they like, contribute to projects, or add to it to build their portfolios.
Global Schoolhouse Program
Our Global Schoolhouse Program doesn't just recognize that we live in a global society. It embraces the idea. It rethinks the notion of globalization leading to greater competition, and sees the global society as a chance for greater global cooperation. STEAM Studio’s Embassy, a room located in the physical school, will be linked by live feed to schools in other countries (step into the Embassy Room and you are in another country). Telepresent audio-video robots (built by students) roam the corridors controlled by students in a foreign high school (with our students controlling their robots) to act as virtual students in other cultures. The goal is to prepare students for the future by making the constraints of physical geography irrelevant.
Spark Coding Initiative
This initiative is aimed at boosting computer literacy and spark an interest in the exciting world of computing – a field that many students wrongfully imagine as dry and tedious. In the future, our students are likely to interact with computer programs (on the phone, in the car, at home, and at work) as often as they interact with people. So, we see coding as a useful employment skill, and take a different tack in teaching programming. We approach the subject from a human-centered viewpoint, not a mechanical/mathematical viewpoint. We introduce students to this world starting with areas they’re already interested in - animation, biology, videogames, the virtual world, and starting with key concepts they already know - list-making, sorting, question-asking, decision-making. We show programming to be fascinating, fun, and life-enhancing.
Education is the kindling of a
flame, not the filling of a vessel.
The Future Accelerator
The Future Accelerator is designed to foster entrepreneurship, and is modeled after student-centered Innovation Labs at Harvard and MIT. The program helps students develop entrepreneurial traits and provides them with the tools and support needed to nurture new ideas and create new ventures. Students engage in master classes with entrepreneurs and receive mentorship from area startups. Students are also shown how their courses relate to establishing new businesses: English for marketing, Math for finance, Science and Technology for product development, History for perspective, and Foreign Language for global reach.