The canvas is being prepared #naisac

1 03 2017

I arrived on-site today and have started to get things ready for the big build tomorrow. I am always amazed at how fast things come together in a little over 24 hours. Few get to see the conference center before it is ready to open. Here is the canvas were we will build out the NAIS MakerSpace. Here is the place where we will hear and share visions for the future. Here is the place where you will gather and network. All you have to do now is wait a day more and it all kicks off.


2250 sq ft NAISAC MakerSpace!

26 02 2017

What will you see and be able to do in this 2250 square foot NAIS MakerSpace? Drop by the exhibit hall and check out the excitement. Come and explore an independent school makerspace gallery, student projects, maker activities and tools found in makerspaces across the country. You can also take time out of your day to engage with one of the maker ambassadors and create something of your own. Can you imagine what this space might look like? In only a few more days, you won’t have to imagine. You can simply visit the NAISAC MakerSpace in the Exhibit Hall and see for yourself.

MakerSpace Hours

  • Thursday, March 2, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday, March 3, 7:00 AM – 3:15 PM


Plan to Visit NAISAC MakerSpace

25 02 2017

This year we have 6 schools and 2 501.3c MakerSpaces working together to create a dynamic and engaging experience at the 2017 NAIS Annual Conference in Baltimore Maryland. Make sure you take time to come by and explore the space. Feel free to visit often and even engage in some making of your own! There will be lots of activities and fun for everyone. You can find us in the Exhibit Hall during these hours:

Thursday, March 2, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Friday, March 3, 7:00 AM – 3:15 PM

To help you navigate to our slice of paradise…


Innovative Learning Spaces

3 03 2016

I will be adding to this collection as I come across more content.

Books and Resources

Gallery of Innovation

This is a gallery of learning spaces collected from my travels and targeted searches of the Internet.

Stuart Hall & Convent of the Sacred Heart (San Francisco) A collection of photos from various learning spaces at Stuart Hall & Convent of the Sacred Heart.

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  • Carnegie Mellon Design: This site contains images of many of their design spaces within the school.
  • Blog Post by Master’s Student studying pedagogy and learning space design. There are many images here of different spaces.
  • High Tech High School, San Diego. This is a blog post with photos by someone from Purdue Polytechnic who visited.
  • Work spaces at Lumosity office. Here, each of the workspaces listed are open spaces that can be used by anyone and they range from conference rooms, to quite libraries to open common spaces. Where do you want to work today?

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Looking Forward to NAISAC 2016

19 02 2016

It is amazing how time flies! Beyond the usual work and schedule, I have spent the past several months working in the Maker Space and Online Community for this year’s NAIS Annual Conference. Yes, I do sleep but I find time between winks to work on these fun projects. As I finally made my way back to here (my blog), I was shocked to see that my last post was a year ago as I was preparing to head to Boston for the conference. My blog feels so neglected. This was a shocker for me as my blog has been an outlet for me to think out loud and write freely about virtually any aspect of education, learning, or my experiences. I guess this is a reminder for me that writing is a part of my life I would like to reclaim. Therefore, I hope that I will do better this year managing my time for all the things I find important which includes finding my voice again.

As I make the final preparations for all I will be doing at the NAIS Annual Conference in San Francisco, I also find myself reflecting on what I hope to see and experience this year. This will be one of my busiest years at the Annual Conference so not surprising, most of my reflections seem to be centered around these activities. So, here we go…

  1. I look forward to connecting in person with many of my colleagues I see only once a year. While technology can keep us connected virtually, it is not a replacement for great conversation over dinner.
  2. The new directions for the Innovation Taskforce is exciting. I love the idea of starting this work with an Innovation Day. There are so many possibilities for the work we will be doing. Having clear meaning and purpose for the group and the opportunity to continue to work with such a great group of collaborators from across the country. I am humbled to be a member of this group.
  3. High School Survey of Student Engagement or HSSSE has become something more than a little project I worked on at our school. While our school has participate in the HSSSE several times, we only recently decided to take a deep dive into the data- both quantitative and qualitative. Little did I know at the time that this work would become interesting to many outside the school. I am looking forward to the many different types of conversations that will arise out of the three opportunities I will have to share the Greenhill HSSSE research story. I have been amazed at how much data schools have at their fingertips. Data that could help inform programs and direction if we only took a serious look. I hope to learn of others who are also interested in formally informing their practices through detailed exploration of the data relevant to their experiences.
  4. This is the second year for the Interactive Makerspace at NAIS and the third time I have set up this type of program for NAIS. This has been exciting work and I have met some amazing people, albeit virtually, through this process. I am looking forward to working with these amazing educators over the next couple of days as we bring the NAIS Interactive Makerspace to life. It is my hope that it will stimulate conversations that reach far beyond the buildings, spaces and tools. I hope for conversations that explore the power of authentic problem solving combined with student constructed artifacts of understanding. I am looking forward to serious conversations about how pedagogy needs to shift if the work is to be meaningful. How it shifts should be an amazing conversation. I am also looking forward to hearing the stories of other educators as they explore this world of making.
  5. I have been running the annual conference online community for NAIS now for over 7 years. As I was setting up for this year, I had a chance to take a quick look back at the communities of prior years and reflect on the journey we have been on as Independent schools. In many ways, this is our story captured in bits and bytes frozen in time on the Internet. Each year, I create a new space for the conference and bring it to life by connecting it with the amazing people of this community. As the conference passes, we collect reflections and experiences all shared with a larger community. However, as time passes, the conversations move back to their normal spaces on the web and the online community fades away for another year. This ebb and flow is what makes this such an exciting project. This year I am joined by multiple contributing authors to the community site but also by all that is shared around the conference. I am looking forward to some amazing stories being captured this year as we share what we learn over the course of the next week.
  6. Finally, I am looking forward to a new experience as I participate in a SPARKplaces at the end of this year’s conference. This sounds like an amazing opportunity to explore new possibilities for learning spaces. The timing of this could not be better as we are looking at major changes to some of our existing spaces at Greenhill. I am excited about the possibilities and all I will learn through this experience.

So, with my HSSSE presentations complete and ready to share with the world, the online community coming to life, the Makerspace about to popup in the Moscone Center exhibit hall, Innovation Day about to kick off, and a race to innovative learning environments right around the corner, it is time to pack my bags and head to San Francisco. I will arrive on Tuesday and can’t wait to get this party started.

The power of the press trumped by the Internet

16 02 2016

free papers

Now this is very interesting. I know that I will not publish with journals that charge the authors for publication. I believe that model creates a bad filter on the dissemination of knowledge. Those who can afford to pay get published.Research that makes the public comes from those with the funding.That model always sounded like paying a ransom to release knowledge.

Again, new models, needs, and abilities facilitated by advances in technology are challenging old world models. It will be interesting to see where this goes. To a large degree, the metrics of the academic world support the old model while members of the academic and global community would benefit from a new model with more open flow and access. Now, I am not saying this is the answer but it is possible that traditional publishing houses may have outgrown their usefulness in this modern connected world. Here is to watching the world evolve.


“Shipping up to Boston” for the 2015 NAIS Annual Conference

23 02 2015

“I’m Shipping up to Boston” for the 2015 NAIS Annual Conference- Design the Revolution: Blending Learning, Leading and Innovation. I am excited to again be packing my bags for a week of amazing work, sharing and learning with close to 5000 folks from independent schools all across the nation.

I have been going to NAIS now since it was last in Denver (2007) when I ran a half-day workshop focused on the role of technology in moving from Good to Great. Each year since then, I have been privileged to work directly with Amy Ahart and her team at NAIS in planning, designing, and running various online communities (NAISAC Online Community Archive) for the conference as well as the two years we built out the Classroom of the Future project. I find this work engaging and an amazing learning experience. It is also something I look forward to each year.


This year is no different. We have an amazing site set up to foster conversations through the conference and beyond. Additionally, I am working with a group of volunteers including Jonathan Schmid and several of his teachers from Meadowbrook School in MA to bring to life an Interactive MakerSpace on the exhibit hall floor. This should be a very engaging place where you can talk to many who are currently engaged as makers in their own lives and in their respective schools. This will be an opportunity to explore ideas that can help transform a school into a place where students produce objects or what I call artifacts of understanding. In this case, artifacts that address very real problems as well as challenges with no one clear solution. This is Problem-Based Learning (PBL) at its finest. Additionally, as part of the Interactive MakerSpace, I have made an open call to schools to submit specific information that shows how Making and MakerSpaces are being developed and used on their campuses. Ten schools make up what will be visible as a static display at this year’s conference in the Interactive MakerSpace. However, I wanted this project to live long beyond the conference and provide inspiration and serve as a resource to independent schools everywhere. Therefore, the space has been brought to life as the Gallery of Independent School MakerSpaces, which currently represents 20 schools and is still growing!


Nothing by Boston standards. Dallas ice storm as I work on NAIS community and pack my bags.


As I look out my window in Dallas at the ice storm that is currently taking place, I am warmed by the thought that tomorrow I will be catching up with friends and colleagues all across the independent school community. Additionally, I am always excited about being challenged to reflect on the words and work of some amazing speakers. This conference has become a highlight in my professional development each year and this year is no different. So, I am packing my bags and slowly and carefully making my way to the airport for a very early Tuesday morning flight that I hope will have an on-time departure.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Boston. Keep warm and safe travels.

Connecting Knowledge through Experiential Education at Greenhill: The History and Science of Our First National Park

9 02 2015

In the Classroom

By Chris Bigenho, Director of Instructional Technology

Take a stroll through any major university and you can find great halls and facilities dedicated to the teaching of specific disciplines. K-12 schools start to look that way as you move through the upper grades. You can find classrooms where the beauty of mathematics is shared with students. English and History is learned in their respective pods while Science and Art have their own buildings. In many cases, this is necessary because of the nature of the materials used within the teaching of these disciplines. However, one effect that stems from this physical segmenting of the distribution and manipulation of knowledge is the creation of knowledge silos where discipline specific problems are addressed.

These knowledge silos bear little resemblance to how we naturally learn and how the world works. Most of the world’s problems do not have answers that reside in any…

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Computer Science and the Birth of a New Core Literacy- Part 1

29 06 2014

Sitting in a session on the value of computational thinking. It seems we may be birds of a feather. Here is a post that I wrote back in January that looks at the possibility that Computer Science is a new core literacy. What are your thoughts?

Life in the Renaissance

A series of interactions, experiences and recursive reflections serve as the stimulas for this latest entry- How and when is a new literacy born? Like the birth of a star, I believe we notice new core literacies long after their initial birth often discovering their significance far removed from their initial impact on society.

There has been a lot of press lately about the need to teach computer programming or “coding’ is schools today. From “A Day of Code” to Code Academy to the potpourri of news stories and opportunities all extolling the virtues of “coding”. While not a new concept, there is even a resurgence of conversation about how learning a computer programming language can replace the requirement of learning a world language.

I am a fan of “coding” but feel that all of the conversation about coding really misses the point. We should really be discussing the idea…

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What is Trending on Twitter at ISTE 2014 Saturday at 2:00 pm?

28 06 2014
Bloggers Cafe

Bloggers Cafe

As a researcher, I love data. And when you bring together thousands of tech savoy educators, you have a fountain of data that flows at amazing rates across the digital ether. Rather than letting this data bounce off the walls of TweetDeck, HooteSuite or the aggregator of your choice, I set up a Tweet Archive to capture all of the tweets from this year’s ISTE. This tool also allows for some quick visualizations of the data as it comes in. While not sufficient to attach any real meaning without true analysis, it is still fun to watch. As of about a week ago, there were around 6000 tweets in the archive tagged #iste2014 or #iste14. As of about 2:00 pm on Saturday, there were over 25,000 tweets with these tags! Here are a few graphics representing the data up to this point.


Tweet Archive:




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