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San Francisco School Takes Experiential Learning to the Next Level

At Brightworks, kids learn by completing projects. With electric drills.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VPezJ3AMXk

Imagine receiving an electric drill to use at school—and the freedom to learn and explore while building things with it. That’s what happens at Brightworks, a year-old nonprofit private alternative school located in San Francisco’s Mission District.

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Why Is It So Hard To Put Imagination Back Into Schools? Imagination Summit Discusses Creativity In Schools

A national "Imagination Summit" wants to help schools figure out how to bring creativity and innovation to the classroom. Is it really that difficult?


When you were a kid, you didn't need anybody to tell you how to use your imagination. You made up imaginary friends and spent your time designing LEGO rocket ships that traveled the galaxy without any prompting. And then you started school, and you probably had a teacher tell you to stop daydreaming—stop imagining—in class. You also learned that far from being allowed to think up multiple creative solutions, there was only one right answer to a test question, and if you bubbled it in correctly on a Scantron form, you'd get an A.

Fortunately, because imagination, creativity and innovation are increasingly prized in the workplace, future generations might be spared this dumbing-down process. There's a growing consensus that our public schools need to put those three traits at the center of learning. In an effort to help, over the past two years, the Lincoln Center Institute, a part of New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, has hosted regional conversations about imagination and creativity. This month they're hosting a national Imagination Summit, which will bring together representatives from all 50 states as well as "elected officials, legislators, education experts, business leaders, artists, and scientists." Their goal is to create "an action plan for policy makers, educators, and community activists to put imagination at the forefront of our school curricula."

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Why Schools Should Embrace the Maker Movement

What better way to get students interested in math, science, and design than helping them build a robot or go-kart?

One of the big challenges educators have is figuring out how to bring what they're teaching to life. It's a lot easier to get students to grasp why they need to learn abstract math, science, or design concepts when teachers bring project-based learning—like building a robot or a go-kart—into the classroom. So it makes perfect sense for teachers to team up with the Maker movement—the community of do-it-yourselfers who tap "science, art, performance, creative reuse, and technology" to make something fresh and useful.

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