KDSL Global interviews Luke Meinen of Level 5 Bahrain

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview with Luke Meinen, Manager of Level 5 Bahrain. This is an initiative of International School Services, a nonprofit that leads schools, facilitates recruitment and provides best-in-breed learning solutions.

 

Tell us about LEVEL 5. 

First and foremost, LEVEL 5 is a nonprofit that hosts creative learning experiences for students, educators and the wider community on a myriad of topics that aim to spark innovation and creativity in education.

The first LEVEL 5 opened in Shenzhen, China four years ago and has proved to be a successful platform to help educators shift practice, design real-world, experiential learning, and ignite passion within students in the creative spaces. With the success of LEVEL 5 China, we saw the opportunity to expand this endeavor into the MENA region opening LEVEL 5 Bahrain at Riffa Views International School.

Our professional learning workshops focus on three categories; making, contemporary pedagogy, and innovative leadership. This wide range of events will help us provide a new type of professional learning for region. These workshops are available for educators, community members and students as we recognize the power of young and old working and learning together.

During the 2019-2020 school year, we will host 12 full weekend workshops, night events, and single day weekend learning experiences. These events will be facilitated by both local and international educators and artists from around the world.

For a full listing of events, workshops and learning experiences, check out www.thelevel5.org/bahrain. For any questions, please reach out to level5bh@iss.edu.

 

Tell us about the new space with the Riffa Views International School.

The creation of LEVEL 5 has been a process that has taken a full year to complete as we knew we wanted this space to reflect the school community it resided in. We were gracious enough to have been given a beautiful space with huge amounts of natural light as a blank canvas.

In order to leverage the ideas of the entire RVIS community, we invited staff, students and parents into the space to help us co-create this new space. We loosely followed a Design Sprint model to rapidly ideate, prototype and test ideas from all who participated. You can read about this process in detail here Co-creating Authentic Change. This helped us gather the best ideas from the entire community to begin the process of designing this new agile space.

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For LEVEL 5 to be successful, it requires a completely agile space that can be reconfigured to meet the needs of any type of workshop or learning experience. Utilizing prior successes of the LEVEL 5 China, research from the Stanford d School and a plethora of other resources we designed the space around this concept. Writable surfaces for ideation everywhere, agile furniture, smooth transitional flooring and caster wheels on EVERYTHING have helped us create this flexible space.

Actual construction of the space took three months to complete (time lapse of construction), and it was launched in late May of the 2018-2019 academic year. Along with this beautiful new physical space, we will also be out fitting it with a host of creative tools like 3D printers, laser engravers, microcontrollers, traditional fabrication tools, and much more. These will be for students, parents, educators and community members to use design, create and test new and innovative ideas.

During the day, LEVEL 5 will be open to the RVIS community and students to use. We are not using it as a traditional space to host scheduled classes, but more as an open space that can be booked by the teachers. The hope is to have these ideals and innovative practices flow into classrooms rather than being isolated in the space. Our aim is to help inspire the students in our school by providing them with the same type of learning experiences that happen during our professional learning workshops both inside LEVEL 5 and out.

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What strategies do you use to activate the Bahrain educational community?

Over the past year, another focus for LEVEL 5 Bahrain has been to activate the educational community across the island by building collaborative relationships between schools. In Bahrain, the relationships that have been built up between schools are often competitive in nature through sports, competitions, and other events. There were pockets of collaboration, but we wanted this to grow as we know that when educators share knowledge and practice, everyone wins, especially the students.

With this in mind, we began to systematically create opportunities for sharing, collaborating and learning that were open to all educators on the island regardless of what school they taught at. We created a What’s App group to share ideas and learning opportunities, promoted an existing Facebook group, started a shared hashtag (#bahrainedu) to deprivatize the great things that were happening in classrooms around the island, and started events called #TeachmeetBahrain to provide opportunities to physically meet up and share.

In just a year, some great things have happened, and I believe that this will continue to grow as more people engage in these opportunities to collaborate. For a detailed look into this, you can find the steps we took here; Activating Your Educational Community.

 

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Luke Meinen is the manager of LEVEL 5, Bahrain where he coordinates events and workshops and facilitates learning experiences. Over the past year, he has worked to co-create this new space with the Riffa Views International School community. He is also working to activate the education community in Bahrain through the organization of TeachMeets, collaborative groups and social gatherings for educators and leaders.

 

Prior to joining LEVEL 5, he worked as an elementary educator for nine years in East Asia, Africa and the Middle East designing authentic learning experiences for his classes and colleagues. He enjoys fabrication, playing basketball, surfing and spending time with his family in his free time.

 

 

 

Makers Builders: Inspiring Creativity

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Makers Builders is a program that trains young people in the field of technology. I had the chance to interview Amir Yazdanpanah, founder and CEO, and asked him some questions about his company’s focus and direction.

 

How important do you believe these technology skills are to the growth of the next generation?

Technology and science continue to play a rapidly growing role when it comes to everything that consumers purchase and corporates create. Therefore future jobs will require a skilled workforce that is not only able to use technology but also knows how to create and innovate with it.

 

Are there any advancements or new technologies you wish to incorporate into your program such as VR?

The phenomenally fast-paced advancements in 3D printing, coding, robotics, VR/AR, smart devices, machine learning and so on is putting stress on traditional education and teaching methods as well as curriculum content. This new generation needs to be learning a lot of new skills in order to be ready for the next generation of jobs in 5 to 10 years. We strive to develop engaging “digital making” programs and courses that can capture the interest of children at an early age and encourage them to pursue learning paths in STEM.

 

What is the most important aspect to you about your programs: the fun, the education or being family oriented?

We try to make our program seem like “Edutainment” – we want it to be fun and engaging while educational at the same time. For example, coding is learned by doing. Students get to learn coding by building programs that change games they already play and are very attached to. We want to make them aware of and excited about the possibilities at their fingertips so that they be easily empowered to create. Learning about fundamentals, concepts and architecture comes with age-appropriate programs.

For more on Makers Builders visit:

http://www.makersbuilders.com/
https://twitter.com/makersbuilders
https://www.facebook.com/makersbuilders/

 

 

Matthew Diprose
KDSL Global Intern
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07
Facebook: KDSL Global

10 to know in education in the UAE in 2017

In celebration of ten years serving the global education community we are highlighting ten to know in education in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in 2017. The UAE was selected since the founder has been based here the majority of the last ten years. Each person will be shared throughout this year. Our sixth to know is Limitless Education.

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At Limitless Education we fundamentally believe that we should be educating the next generation in creativity and imagination and supporting them to believe in and follow their passions and dreams.

We are creative education specialists, with a successful track record of developing early year’s settings, mentoring and leadership and student empowerment. With experience as teachers, head teachers and local authority advisers, we support and guide educators to develop their own unique philosophies for learning. Our consultants are selected on the basis of their education expertise and the core belief that ‘dreams, passions and imagination’ should be at the heart of education. They provide long or short-term consultancy, coaching, mentoring and workshop arrangements to support leaders, practitioners and students. With the main aim to improve practice and develop an ‘anything is possible’ mind-set.

Rachel Lloyd

As co-founder of Limitless Education, Rachel is passionate about fostering an understanding of the importance of dreams, passions, imagination and creativity in education settings. She is committed to education reform and is invested in shifting the focus from grades and assessments to dreams and passions.

Rachel is an inspiring educational consultant who specialises in authentic leadership, empowerment, creativity and imagination in education settings.

Rachel committed herself to exploring the most effective education philosophies, she is highly knowledgable in ‘Reggio Emilia’ and child initiated learning. During her time leading schools in the UAE and UK, Rachel developed her own unique education philosophies, which incorporated ‘passion projects, developing dreamers and creating change makers’.

With 16 years experience in education she has created outstanding and innovative education practices. She has successfully lead Early years departments in the UK and international and has been highlighted as an innovative and inspiring headteacher by local authorities. With a refreshing and remarkable mindset she support educators developing unique teaching philosophies and practices.

Kelly Seymour

Kelly Seymour is an expert in Leading and Teaching within the Early Years and has dedicated her career to developing child led learning philosophies that empower students and teachers to shine. Her fearless and empowered mindset has enabled her to develop practices and workshops for teachers and students that encourage creativity and imagination and promote empowerment and authenticity.

Kelly is passionate about developing the dreams and imaginations of the next generation in order to bring positive change into their lives and the world. She cofounded Limitless Education in order to develop innovative teaching and coaching practices that will support and empower all practitioners to bring this awareness and understanding to the forefront of education. Kelly is a unique facilitator due to the mindful combination of her passions in teaching, exploring the limitless possibilities of the imagination and playing with creativity.  She fundamentally believes that in order to effortlessly create our dreams we must playfully and creatively explore our imaginations, clear our fears and limiting beliefs and become empowered to create positive change in our own lives.

Kelly is dedicated to student empowerment and developing fearless living, she fundamentally believes that in order to create positive change in the world and education reform we need to collaborate with our youths, understanding that their empowerment is the key to sustainable change.

Twitter -@limitlesseduca1
Facebook – A call 4 creative action
Instagram – limitlesseducation

KDSL Global interviews Limitless Education

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Limitless Education is a consultancy with a difference: focusing on creativity and imagination, with an aim to support all children achieve their dreams.

We recently got the chance to interview Rachel Lloyd and Kelly Seymour, the dynamic duo behind Limitless Education. Kelly and Rachel are experienced Early Years practitioners and leaders who specialize in empowerment and fearless leadership. With a refreshing and remarkable mindset they support educators in clearing their limiting beliefs and fears which enables limitless and unique teaching philosophies and practices to be developed.

What hardships have you faced when developing Limitless Education?

The biggest difficulty was confronting our own limiting beliefs around starting a business. We absolutely love running our imaginative teacher workshops and student empowerment retreats, this is where we are in our comfort zone. However there were some limiting beliefs around making a living out of what you love. The core message of Limitless Education is that we support youth to achieve their dreams and become immersed in their passions. So when our own limiting beliefs were challenged we constantly reminded ourselves of our ‘limitless education’ philosophy.

How fulfilling has it been to create and foster Limitless Education?

It has been an amazing journey and one of true self-discovery. The power of our thoughts and beliefs has been evident and we have plenty of opportunities for growth and self-reflection. The most fulfilling moments are when we are running the workshops and we start to notice the beautiful change in the teachers and students we work with. This is the moment we look at each other with awe and say ‘Can you believe this is our job?!’

We are now at the point where we need to foster this philosophy to ensure its sustainability and are in the process of writing a book, which is a step by step guide to support educators to awaken imagination and creativity in their settings.

What inspired you to travel the path that led you to Limitless Education?

We had created something quite magical in our early years department. We had developed a unique concept of ‘the imaginative school’. We knew it was something special and our academic results were going through the roof. Inspectors were blown away with what we had created and reinforced that they had never seen anything like this before. It was at this point we knew we had to share this philosophy with other educational establishments and created ‘limitless education’ with the aim to awaken imagination and creativity in schools.

It was a pleasure interviewing the pair and we found the responses to the questions really enlightening.  Rachel and Kelly readily admitted their fears about starting their own business and managed to temper their anxiety with their passion and commitment to what they believed in. Passion is such an important part of education – it should always shine through when inspiring young people. Their forward-thinking nature and drive to make their system sustainable brings real hope to the future of education, and their book is a clear example of their evolving presentation style, allowing them to spread their ideas further. Finally, it seems that like many other successful enterprises, Limitless Education was sparked by a single great idea: the imaginative school. And from this spark, their whole philosophy worked itself out leading to positive feedback from inspectors – no small triumph.

To learn more about Limitless Education visit http://www.limitlesseducation.net/.

 

Thalia Suzuma and Matthew Diprose
KDSL Global
Website: www.kdslglobal.com
Twitter: @KDSL07
Facebook: KDSL Global