I work alongside students to help them find new and immersive learning opportunities to build their skills, collaborate, help others, and create their own professional networks. In this field, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. My approach is to empower students to find their own confidence, use their initiative, develop a support network, give as well as receive, learn for themselves, and know when to ask for help.
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Creative Forest™ – Present | Developster™ 2015 | KohKnowCo Lab by Creative Forest 2015 | Creative Forest Innovation Framework 2015 | Vhysicist™ 2014 – 2015 | IT HOTHOUSE 2012 – 2014 | UPT Digital 2010 – 2015 | Kontain Klass 2009 – 2011 | Web Design 2009 | Resistance De Jeunes 2008 – 2009 | The Clean Prix 2007 – 2008
In July 2018, we launched the Creative Forest Online Pilot Program with NetNZ.
Developster™ was a startup coming out of Kohknowco Lab with Year 8 – 10 students from Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery School, Asher Foster (Lead Developer), Eiko Olykan (Lead Designer), Kaleb O’Donnell (Developer), and myself (Token Adult). Was a platform for Mavericks and Risk Takers, Anarchists and Punks, under 18s who want to create their own businesses and make a life they LOVE!
Kohknowco Lab: @kohknowcolab
KohKnowCo Lab was UPT Digital reinvented, with a bigger focus on innovation and startups. It was an experimental lab.
The Creative Forest Innovation Framework was a collaboration with Jake (a developer) and Kero (a developer/designer), industry professionals based in Salt Lake City and Sydney. Creative Forest is based on my 10 years of experience working with under 18s in the tech/innovation space. The Framework provides the scaffolding to create your own innovation lab at school and build a network of global connections.
Vhysicist™ was our first attempt at a tech start-up stemming from school. The students worked with a client to design a visitor management system. This journey paved the way for the entrepreneurial pathway in the Creative Forest model.
With the success of UPT Digital, IT Hothouse was created as an umbrella brand to make it easier for classes in other schools to get involved. We also used the IT Hothouse brand to work on community projects such as Flare for It and the Youth Hub site, and IT Hothouse turned into a little incubator.
In 2012, we mentored two awesome teachers, Colin Gray, with Year 12 students at John McGlashan College in Dunedin, and David Coopersmith, with a group of 5th grade students at North Ridge Elementary School in California, to help them run a class like UPT Digital. Below, David Coopersmith talks with North Ridge Digital students, Renee and Daphne, about Web Development.
UPT Digital was a ground breaking web, app, music, and games development class based at Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery School (previously named Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti). Students are typically aged between 10 – 18 years and work together, along with help from industry mentors across the globe, to follow their passions in the digital world. UPT Digital students presented at Microsoft Tech Ed, NZiDev, Net Hui, Tech Hui, the Canterbury Software Cluster, and appeared on TVNZ’s The Breakfast Show and Seven Sharp (below):
UPT Digital was also a great place for tech-start ups to take up a short residency and get quality feedback from a target audience. In return, we experience the challenges and the joys of real start-up life. Below, good times as students work with Andy and Matt from Trailblazer.io during their 3 week stint in UPT Digital:
Kontain Klass was a class designed to get kids using and experimenting with Adobe Photoshop. We used Fantasy Interactive’s newly built social platform “Kontain” to set assignments and connect with design professionals from around the world.
Worked with a group of 8 year olds at Discovery 1 School to create websites for small business owners and drew on the knowledge of the professionals from the Kontain network.
The Resistance Des Jeunes, or “RDJ” was a class of teens looking to explore their environment and express their ideas and creativity in a variety of ways.
For this project, we wanted to build eco friendly, Formula 1 style, kids electric cars. We teamed up with an ex F1 Renault engineer to design and build the cars. Kids were going to organize the events/races and had started to seek sponsorship when the market crashed. We decided to shelve the project because it was too expensive.