Learning Innovation Showcase

Our inspiring showcase is an opportunity to learn about innovative programming that personalizes learning for students of all ages through access to effective, cutting-edge edtech. Launched as part of the conference in 2016, the “Classroom of the Future” aimed to highlight middle and high school environments where edtech tools were applied. In 2017, the programming evolved into the “Learning Innovation Showcase” to allow out-of-school and post-secondary learning innovations to also be highlighted. It is now one of the most interactive aspects of the conference, as it uniquely presents the voices of learners and enables diverse groups – educators, entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers – to see a range of edtech tools applied in real learning environments.

Check out presentations from 2016 and 2017 (or tour the session).

2018 Participating Teams

AHS Innovation Lab
Andover High School – Andover, MA
Lead Educator: Shelagh St. Laurent

The AHS Innovation Lab is a course based on the principles of Design Thinking and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students begin in a design bootcamp, where they spend 3 weeks learning how to think like designers. Next, we take a look at the UN Sustainable Development goals to view global issues and to find sustainable solutions through the design process. We are currently studying Marine Biomimicry and students are processing information and beginning to design solutions. The Innovation Lab is a class designed for students to be the leaders of their learning experiences. We have a blended classroom where we meet both in person and digitally to reach all of our goals. Through authentic projects and opportunities, students use the design process to discover solutions to global issues and to look at the world through a global lens. Our classroom is designed to design, collaborate, tinker, explore and to share thoughts and ideas. By following the principles of design and taking a look at world issues, students are better prepared to take on any problem and to find different ways of solving these problems, which essentially creates global minded learners and citizens.
Learn moreAHS Innovation Lab

Amplified Voices and Strengthened Personal Connections; Accomplished in (and out of) a Middle School Math Classroom
Kickemuit Middle School – Warren, RI
Lead Educator: Jennifer Saarinen

Recognizing that there is not enough time to hear the thinking and reasoning of all of my students during scheduled, I turned to Flipgrid to amplify the voice of my students. With the use of Flipgrid, this asynchronous communication tool, in and outside of the school day (or even school year) students are able to record their voice to share with me and their peers. Students are able to learn from and also critique and construct viable arguments of the reasoning of others while having an opportunity to review responses as many times as needed. We are breaking down the walls of our classroom setting to hear the voice of students in other sections of the same course, students who are on different teams at our school, or even with students in other states to share our thinking and understanding of math. The ability to be connected in a more global capacity provides our students with opportunities to connect with people from different experiences with a common goal of their voices not only being shared but also heard.
Learn More: Relevant Links, Resources, and Evidence

Coding Game Algorithms
Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School – Sudbury, MA
Lead Educator: Mark Sobkowicz

In the Introduction to Programming course at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School, students learn the basics of coding. They learn about variables, loops, and arrays. At the end of the course, students spend five weeks creating a game project of their own design. When they are done, they’ve taken the rules of a game, turned them into several algorithms, and implemented those algorithms with code. While making this project, students start with the rules to a game that they already understand. They might start out thinking that the rules to a game like Connect4, Snake, or Reversi are simple, but they soon realize that expressing those rules as a series of steps is challenging. When they express their first game algorithm in code and see the results on the screen they are hooked. And they know when they are done, not because they’ve finished everything on a checklist, but because they have created a game they can share with their friends.
Learn More: Games with Code

Deeper Learning at Beaver: Students as Co-Creators!
Beaver Country Day School
Lead Educator: Kader Adjout

Moving away from a culture of students as consumers of value, how do we get students to be co-creators in the classroom? How do reasoning and creating, not copying and reproducing, lead to deeper learning? Using concrete examples, we will explain how our meddler-in-the-middle-approach promotes collaboration and co-creation with students. We will showcase project ideas, from building pinball machines and holograms to designing electron shell models and running a statistics fair. This mindset of students as agents and designers in the classroom promotes the idea that teaching is not about knowledge transmission but about constructing and deconstructing knowledge. It allows us to rethink our practice regarding the roles of teachers and students in the classroom.

Designing a Multimedia News Magazine
Meadowbrook School – Weston, MA
Lead Educator: Thomas Corbin

Using our school’s online digital news magazine as a working example, two sixth grade students will show the power of this platform to showcase writing, promote personal interests and school happenings, and more. In addition, because of the natural working overlaps between source citing, discerning credible news, and digital citizenship, we will explore the potential of this particular model to empower students while guiding them, in a digital landscape.
Learn More: The Blue Moose

Empowering BPS Youth Voices with Creativity
Boston Public Schools – Boston, MA
Lead Educator: Rashmi Pimprikar

Our showcase will highlight the role of Engaged Youth Voice. Students will demonstrate exemplars of them engaging in real-world problems while addressing civic-engagement and social justice issues.

Our presentation will highlight projects from two different programs. BPS Youth Voices Program is part of a signature global grant philanthropy program designed to provide youth in underserved communities with the critical skills they need to become active and engaged members of their communities and the world at large. This initiative ignites young people’s Creative Confidence—the ability to harness creative skills to solve problems—thereby empowering them to find their voice and make it heard. At the heart of the BPS Youth Voices Project is an educational methodology that provides youth with the inspiration, training, and technology to create original, thought-provoking media works on relationships, human rights, the environment, and other topics. Through these experiences, participants hone skills of self-expression, ideation, collaboration, flexibility, and persistence— the skills we regard as central to Creative Confidence. The program comes to life as young people identify an issue they care about, and express a point of view on that issue by creating original media content – from videos to essays, animation to music. BPS Youth Voices team will share thought provoking visuals and film student projects along with our teaching learning experiences

In addition, we will also share a few exemplars from our Computational Thinking and Computer Science Learning modules developed in collaboration with student leaders, lead educators and community organizations
Learn More: BPS Youth Voices

EcoXPT: Using an Immersive Virtual World to Learn Ecosystem Concepts and Causal Reasoning in Middle School Science
Diamond Middle School – Lexington, MA
Lead Educator: Allison Kugler

Understanding how ecosystems work is important for citizens in making decisions and for students who aspire to become scientists. It requires understanding of complex causality, possible unintended consequences, and the strengths and limitations of various investigative approaches. Ecosystem concepts are difficult to learn and to teach due to the amount of information, many interacting components, and non-linear patterns involved. They are particularly difficult to teach in classrooms because ecosystems involve complexities such as large-scale problems, populations of organisms, and change over extended time frames. Learning when and how ecosystem scientists employ different approaches can help learners understand the content and process of science, yet it remains challenging to meaningfully teach these concepts in schools.

Finding Voice and Civility in a Time of Incivility
Lead Educator: Alexa Brunton
Del Sesto Middle School, Providence, RI

The current political and social climate in the United States has highlighted the importance of civics education, academic discourse and inclusive teaching practices. At Del Sesto Middle School, students in social studies classes are engaged in project based learning that develops students’ cognitive skills and promotes student discourse by participating in authentic learning tasks. During the showcase, sixth and eighth grade students will describe how they have been able to express their unique voices and engage with their peers in a safe and rigorous learning environment. Specifically, students will highlight how the Summit Personalized Learning Platform seamlessly enables teachers to give personalized feedback on formative assessments in order to deepen students’ thinking prior to engaging in high level civic discussions.

Harnessing Students’ Drive for Independence with the Inquiry, Making, Passion (IMP) Framework
Acera School – Winchester, MA
Lead Educator: Gus Halwani

This example showcases of our IMP (Inquiry, Making, Passion) framework. We highlight just one case illustrating how we use this framework to enable student-directed projects. In this project, students use industry-standard development tools to create a VR training program designed to help others develop their public speaking skills.

Using our IMP framework, we enable middle and high school students to assert their independence by creating a rich, engaging context wherein they are able to access professional tools used in the scientific / VR development industry. Students are able to track milestones and manage this project both in and out of school and have presented this project at various classroom, school-wide, and community-wide events, and are currently in the process of submitting the poster to other conferences outside of their community.

Education practitioners can learn to understand the adolescent brain at this stage and adjust academic procedures / processes in order to harness the desire for independence rather than working against it. In addition, practitioners can learn about creating a tech-rich environment where emerging technologies is used to enable these projects. After all, these are the tools students will be using in their work environments in the future.
Learn More: Passion Projects

IMPACT Philly & Team Green Flow-Action through Education
Mercy Career and Technical High School – Philadelphia, PA
Lead Educator: Mary Ruskey

IMPACT Philly promotes college and career readiness by providing youth opportunities to purposefully apply skills, become critical thinkers, enhance collaboration techniques and build creative confidence in themselves through a personalized learning approach. Challenging students to make an IMPACT in the community, students partner with businesses and universities to address an outstanding need they feel passionate about addressing. The program integrates multiple technology platforms with an empathy-based approach that aligns to interdisciplinary standards. It is designed to equip urban middle and high school students from socio-economically diverse backgrounds with the tools to empower themselves through helping others. Originally conceptualized by business educators and brought to life by high school students, the project has positively touched the lives of hundreds of Philadelphians.
Green Flow is a student driven social venture start up, created by IMPACT participants. The mission is to create sustainable urban food cycles that are 100% zero waste, urban farmed and tailored to the individual and cultural diets of families. Using the design thinking process, students connected with experts, spoke with members of the local community, prototyped and tested their ideas. As a work in progress, they continue to move towards their goal to eliminate urban food deserts.
Learn More: Mercy Career and Technical High School Impact Philly

#Invent4Good -Building a Better Blake Middle School
Blake Middle School – Medfield, MA
Lead Educator: Diane Horvath

An awesome group of 8th graders have teamed up to make a better Blake Middle school! They started with the idea of #Invent4good in the InnovationLab class where they learned about the power of Design Thinking (designing with user in mind) and becoming creative problem solvers. Their initial challenge was to identify a problem of one of their peers, define it, ideate ideate ideate all possibilities, build an interactive gadget as a potential solution and test it out to get feedback! Students were also given access to all of the Makerspace tools (3D printer, electronics, digital cutter, etc.), construction materials, and technology to bring their ideas to reality! While this 12 week class has ended, this group didn’t want to stop there and that is exactly the thinking and maker mindset we are trying to grow especially since the design thinking process lends itself to being fluid and reiterative too! We gave this group the opportunity to continue their collaborative work as they met outside of class time to find solutions for hallway and other problems students and staff face. In this showcase, we will share how giving students a voice and choice by developing their ideas, creating and designing solutions to real problems or frustrations, actually implementing and having a chance to reiterate it builds deeper connections to their own learning and to the community in making Blake Middle School a better place!
Learn More: #Invent4Good at Blake MS

Leveraging Technology to Address User-Driven Needs in Pediatrics
Youth Cities – Boston, MA
Lead Educator: Vicky Wu Davis

Middle and high school students were exposed to intensive intro into innovation (and why it’s important even in a large organization), design thinking, entrepreneurial problem-solving, and purpose of prototyping. Set up to somewhat mimic a 24-hour hackathon, students are roleplaying as employees of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation Team to leverage technology to address user-driven pediatric needs.
Learn More: Innovation Challenge Video

Making a Difference! 3D Printed Tactile Picture Books
Norton Middle School – Norton, MA
Lead Educator: Margo Bridges

Norton Middle students expanded upon a tactile picture book design created by University of Colorado. Students have designed and printed two tactile picture books which are available in our district elementary school libraries as well as the Norton Public Library. Any member of the Sails lending network may borrow the books. Student models have been well-received on Thingiverse.com and have been translated to Spanish and printed by a nonprofit in Spain! This year, students hope to use a 3D scanner to create and print the ASL alphabet by scanning their hands.
Learn More: Norton Braille Books

Making the Perfect Cocktail: Technology Tools for the Three Pillars of Personalized Learning
Essex Middle School – Essex, VT
Lead Educator: Lindsey Halman

In 2013 the Vermont legislature passed Act 77 which calls on all Vermont schools to implement the three pillars of personalized learning – personalized learning plans, proficiency based assessment, and flexible pathways. In this Learning Innovation Showcase we share the technology tools that our middle school teachers are using to effectively engage students and monitor their academic careers in light of Vermont Act 77 education reforms. We provide specific examples of how specific technology can allow teachers to implement all three facets of personalized learning simultaneously in their classrooms and at their schools.

NASA Spinoff Middle School Competition: All Terrain Powered Transport
Doherty Middle School – Andover, MA
Lead Educator: Barbara Murray

The NASA Spinoff competition for Middle Schoolers was an enticing idea for four 7th graders at the Doherty Middle School during the 2016-2017 school year. Lucas Bacchi, Davis Blanch, Steven Zhang and Chad Coa participated in the NASA Spinoff challenge. These young gentlemen investigated NASA and Spinoff technologies to design a creation they felt would benefit transport in difficult terrain. They created a Rocker-Bogie Mechanism, called the AT-P2T (All Terrain Powered Transport) that would transport material over all terrain both by human and electric powered.

These young men had the opportunity to present at the CueKids exhibit at MASSCue conference in October 2017 and they would like to present their All Terrain Powered Transport at the Learn & Launch conference on February 2, 2018. During this time they will explain how they fostered their idea of creating this type of transport and the challenges they faced in creating their design, the All Terrain Powered Transport.
Learn More: Slide Show presentation

Protagonist Sphero Journey
Concord Middle School- Concord, MA
Lead Educator: Jen Frizzell

8th grade students at Concord Middle School participate in a variety of literature circles throughout the course of the year. These literature circles follow our curriculum theme addressing the questions: “What is the nature of a just society?” and “What is an individual’s role within that society?” Students read fiction and nonfiction texts surrounding social justice topics. After participating in a thorough discussion of the text, students will utilize Sphero balls to illustrate their understanding of their protagonist’s journey with injustice in an attempt to both gain empathy and further their knowledge about the impact of injustice in our own world. As a result, students are responsible for “recreating” the protagonists’ journey within the confines of the classroom walls by writing code that directs the Sphero in its representation of their protagonist along his or her course.

Robots in the Cloud
North Reading High School – North Reading, MA
Lead Educator: Kathleen Dasho

North Reading High School Change Team is presenting Robots in the Cloud using CoderZ, a powerful and easy to use platform that allows students to learn how to program virtual and real robots. Students can program a robot on the screen first, and then progress to program either a Lego EV3 or a Tetrix robot. North Reading students will also demonstrate how to download the code from the simulation to an actual EV3 robot.
Learn More: Robots in the Cloud

Summer School Goes Hi-Touch and Hi-Tech
Davis Leadership Academy, Boston, MA with EdVestors
Lead Educator: Josh Gresham, Davis Leadership Academy

Research shows that all students experience a decrease in math knowledge and skills during the summer months. In summer 2017, EdVestors partnered with the Davis Leadership Academy (DLA) in Boston to pilot a digital solution to this “summer slide.” Using a digital math tool, a DLA teacher created an incentive program for 30 middle school students to use the digital tool weekly throughout the summer. This truly became a “classroom without walls” as students accessed the digital tool all summer long with prompts and encouragement from their teacher through Google Classroom and email – a double use of technology! No matter their location, students had a space to do math over the summer with access to individualized support from their teacher.

The results are promising. Using a pre-and post-test assessment, participating students showed 6 months of growth while nonparticipating students saw a decrease of 2 months.

The summer work jump-started the new school year in additional ways, including building student-teacher relationships and highlighting content areas that challenged many students – data that teachers incorporated into their summer planning.

Millis High School TV Production 
Millis High School
Lead Educator: Danielle Manion

The Millis motto of “Small School, Big Family” is taken to new heights in Millis High School’s TV Production studio. Students in Millis work with modern technology and state of the art editing programs to produce educational videos. Taking on the roles of directors, editors, actors, and screenwriters, students produce award winning videos that are seen  and praised across the country. Documentaries, public service announcements, comedy skits, there is no end to the list of projects that these innovative students create. Students also work with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in hosting the LCA conference for high school students in New England.  In Millis High Schools TV Studio we may be small but we are indeed a big family.

Time for 20?
Hillsboro-Deering High School (NH)
Lead Educator: Jacob Roth-Ritchie

Should we implement Google’s 20% time in a modern high school English course? How do we navigate a world that requires effective communication, inquiry, exploration, and deep thinking to solve problems in a competency driven, standards-based classroom?