Research and Design Lab
The Upper Arlington High School Research and Design lab is a conceptual space to explore, prototype and design innovative approaches to teaching and learning. We began conceptualizing the lab during the 2015-2016 school year and due to a very generous donation from a local family and support from both the Upper Arlington Education Foundation and the Upper Arlington High School PTO, we have been able to invest time and resources into its development during the 2016-2017 school year.
RESEARCH AND DESIGN LAB BLOG
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UA Idea Day
Right now, we are in the heat of bringing a dream to reality.
A little more than a year ago, Alice Finley, Programs & Projects Specialist from the Upper Arlington Education Foundation came back from Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) and told everyone she ran into that we needed to bring the concept of CIW to Upper Arlington High School.
After learning about her experiences, researching what it was, and considering the ways in which an ideas festival might impact students, I was all in--so was every other person she spoke to.
Together, she and I wrote a proposal, submitted it to the R&D Steering Committee, and once it was approved, we convened a group of students and teachers who wanted to bring this idea alive. We met over the summer. We emailed, we researched, we watched TED Talk after TED Talk, we discussed, we visited, we networked, and we brainstormed some more.
In October, we took 4 students to CIW to experience it themselves, and that experience lit an inferno inside of them. Their fire has since spread to others. One of young men who caught the bug found out about UA Idea Day when he interviewed us for the Arlingtonian. Following the interview, he had to excuse himself from the story so he could join our planning committee. This committee not only includes students, but it also includes Finley and Joanie Dugger, Executive Director of the Upper Arlington Education Foundation, parent and past PTO president Claudia Weisberg, and a group of teachers at the high school.
We meet as a group regularly--which is not surprising--but what is surprising is how committed these students are. They show up to everything they can, even if it is for 5 minutes. They communicate ideas daily on a group messaging app (sometimes at 3 a.m.), rush to networking events between practice and other outside commitments so they can connect with experts in person. They show up and arrange conference calls, they send out emails, they ask for guidance on how to respond to messages, and seeing them do this--watching them embrace their optimism and remarkable bravery to step outside of comfort zones, and ask really busy, really smart, really powerful people to be part of their UA Idea Day dream--has been one of the greatest joys of my 13 years in education.
Beside securing upwards of 30-60 different speakers and presenters, locating 30-40 volunteers to help with directions, door monitoring and attendance for 2000 people, organizing 7-10 field trips for 500 students, and 30-35 onsite workshops, one of our greatest challenges this first year is making sure people know what this day entails, why it we are doing it, and what we hope it will give our entire UA high school community.
Thanks to our student planners, we have an instagram and twitter handle (@uaideaday), a promotional video in the works, and constant conversations about how to make this day feel both different and relevant. We will be sending out information in advance, so if you want to stay up to speed on what’s happening, please follow our social media accounts.
In the meantime, if you are still trying to figure out what it is we are trying to do, here is our goal:
Mindful of Upper Arlington City Schools’ mission to “serve, lead and succeed,” we, as a planning committee, want this day to inspire students and teachers to dream about ways they can use their skills to forge change, to innovate, and to--in some way--make the world a better place.
Beyond that, here are the basics:
Who: UA Students and teachers, and guests
What: A one day symposium to celebrate creativity, innovation and dreams that will provide all high school students and staff a day of talks, conversations, and action
Where: Upper Arlington High School (and various pre-arranged off-site locations)
When: All day, during school on February 9, 2018
Why: Students regularly express a desire to engage in learning experiences that expose them to what is possible beyond the four walls of the high school. Additionally, research tells us that many of our students will eventually hold a job that does not even exist right now. This symposium will enable us to bring in outside experts in so we can all learn--together--what they need to do to prepare for that future.
If you still want to know more, or if you or your business are interested in helping us with our event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to learn more about Chicago Ideas Week, the largest annual ideas festival with 30,000 yearly attendees, 200+ events, 500+ videos, and 250+ speakers, click here.
We are starting in Upper Arlington because this is our home, and we are fortunate to have so many community members gracious enough to give of themselves for the sake of our students, but our dream is to grow this event to touch the lives of students all over Columbus. In our first year, we hope to learn, we hope to connect, we hope to inspire, and we hope to grow our passion. In the years to come, we dream of all kids getting the chance to immerse themselves in a unique celebration of ideas.
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