About this project
You are all so awesome--we've very excited to keep you all updated, send your gifts, and invite you to come creating wonderful things with us!
The community support has been overwhelming, and we're so excited to make something amazing.
[Note: because our video budget was $0, we borrowed all of the technology to make this video including cameras, video editing software, 3D printers, microphones, etc.]
Table of Contents (for this page!)
1. What is HackSchool?
2. Why Does HackSchool Matter? (and who benefits)
3. How Does HackSchool Solve This Problem?
4. Our First Projects
5. Who is HackSchool?
6. Where Will Your Money Go?
7. A Special Thanks
What is HackSchool?
Homework, tests, and lectures are not enough. We believe that the true purpose of education is to enable people to create real things that make the world better.
HackSchool is a combination of in-school, after school, and extracurricular time where students from several high schools in Denver, CO solve community problems through empathetic design and engineering.
HackSchool brings free, direct access to technology to over 1000 students at North High School, STRIVE Prep - Excel, and other high school age students who live nearby. Our group of 30 core students (more than 50% girls) are devoted to solving the world's challenges through technology--we will increase this core group as we grow our capacity to maintain the quality of our program.
HackSchool is partnered with MiCasa Neighborhood Center; Devnar School for the Blind in Telangana, India; the Department of Education in Rondônia, Brazil; and we are always looking for new creative collaborators!
“I see potential in myself along with other people to make something extraordinary.” -Ian, HackSchool Student Leader
We choose each community project based on two things:
- Our solution will have a specific and significant positive impact.
- Successful completion of the project requires important, high-level technological skills.
Why Does HackSchool Matter?
Large inequities have led to a black hole of STEM opportunities for young women and people of color.
The statistics about women and people of color below might seem disheartening, but we believe that the only way to change it is to work hard and create amazing programs for teens...so that's exactly what we're doing.
More than half of HackSchool students are young women and more than 95% are students of color. All have dreams of solving the world's grand challenges as engineers, technologists, scientists, architects, etc.
“I used to get bullied for liking technology and science because I’m a girl. Now I feel safe to explore them at HackSchool because I have friends that come too.” -Luz, HackSchool Student
How Does HackSchool Solve This Problem?Project-based learning is great, but it often lacks authenticity and a greater purpose.HackSchool uses what we call a "reality-based learning" method: we find real problems that affect real people, then we create real solutions for those people.For HackSchool students, a test is not a bubble sheet. For HackSchool students, a test is when a community uses a student's creation to successfully solve a community problem. No more artificial grades or pass/fail marks. If a student's creation solves the community's problem, we have success...and if it doesn't, we redesign with this new information!The skills students learn through HackSchool over-prepare them for STEM in higher education, and enable students to do real engineering work long before graduating from (or even entering) university."Having independent thought and being opened minded helps fight oppression more effectively than anything."-Desire M., HackSchool StudentCheck out our Menu of First Projects to learn about what we'll be starting off with:
Who is HackSchool?Our amazing students are the heart and soul of HackSchool. You're probably also curious about the adults involved...because after all, if you're going to support us, you should know we're legit! You should also know that we're a fully volunteer-based, so we're not getting paid for any of this. We've got a couple profiles from our student leaders too, so scroll down and check us out!We would love to work with some adult women in STEM fields to be positive role models for our girls--if you're interested, leave us a comment on the comment page or email us: Nathan[at]hackschoolcolorado.orgNathan Pai SchmittDirector & Co-teacherNathan has taught classes on social justice/identity, high school composition and literature, urban art, computer programming, outdoor survival, environmental issues, philosophy, professional networking for young people, productivity, and college success. When designing and leading programs for teens, he focuses on creation, high-level discourse, discussion, and analysis. He believes it is critical for students to have real world partner organizations; some of our past and current partners include The Cottonwood Institute, Cabal Gallery, the Department of Education for the State of Rondônia in Brazil, and Devnar School for the Blind in India. Nathan has presented his work on the design of innovative methodologies at the national meeting of the American Philosophical Association, he is certified as a facilitator of Restorative Justice and Mediation, and a co-founder of the Oregon Multi-racial/Ethnic Student Alliance. Before becoming a full-time teacher, he worked for a social change agency to help social-cause oriented non-profits, socially responsible businesses, and government agencies to grow and create change in various sectors. He also led a team of teachers in the Brazilian Amazon, and oversaw teaching, learning, coaching, and curriculum for a school of 80 students.
[Above: Wisdom on justice in education]Wisdom Amouzou
Director of Social Justice and Communication
Wisdom Amouzou is a Teaching Fellow at the African Leadership Academy which seeks to enable lasting peace and prosperity in Africa by developing and connecting future leaders from every country on the continent. In his role, Wisdom teaches in the Writing & Rhetoric Department and coordinates the Distinguished Guest Speaker series, a core aspect of the Academy’s curriculum. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Communication, Wisdom taught in Denver Public Schools. He first taught mathematics, then looped with his students to teach Socratic Seminar. The transformational educational experiences which occurred in pursuit of their co-constructed vision won him the 2015 Sue Lehmann Teaching & Learning Fellowship.
Brian KamCo-teacherBrian has been in the education field for the past five years, both in and out of the classroom. He started as a Teach for America Corps Member in Camden, New Jersey and taught high school mathematics courses ranging from Pre-Algebra to AP Calculus. He then moved to Google, where he founded and developed CS First, an after-school Computer Science program. CS First is designed to teach students the computational thinking skills they need to be successful in a computer science field. It focuses on developing students’ creativity, rather than their basic skills in a given language. After his work with Google, Brian entered the classroom again to teach high school math and computer science classes. He is very interested in how computer science and math are related and how to integrate them more into school curricula.Jesse WhiteCo-teacherJesse has been a teacher for 15 years beginning in Charleston, SC, where he taught, and developed curriculum for, local, U.S., and world history at the middle school level. A native of Colorado, he returned in 2010 to continue this work in under-served areas of Denver, most recently as a high school art teacher. Jesse is passionate about fostering creativity among youth and believes that the best way to learn is by doing. He has adopted an experiential model in his art classes to expose students to reality-based learning where possible. He is also partnered with industry-experts developing digital art and design courses to give students hands-on experience in those fields. Jesse is an avid outdoorsman and has designed and led outdoor education programs that include camping, hiking, survival skills, and snowboarding at both the middle and high school level. He has also partnered with The Cottonwood Institute and Denver Parks and Recreation to bring these necessary experiences to his students.
Paul KimProgram & Curriculum Developer
Paul Kim developed and teaches several design thinking based social studies courses at Colorado Academy in Denver, including his current course, "Global Perspectives in the 21st Century". While earning a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming, Paul began a twenty-five year teaching career that has been focused in independent schools. Since then, he has taught everything from kindergarten to college and he has won teaching and coaching awards along the way. Paul also worked with three of his former students to co-found Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books where he collaborated to develop and manage 12 projects with partner organizations over three years. He has written and spoken in various conferences and publications including Independent Teacher and TEDx Denver Teachers, and he is a leading voice in the Denver education innovation community.Fatima C.Student Leader
I am a girl with lots of ambition and dreams. My biggest dream is to one day earn my degree in bio-medical engineering and pay back my parents for everything they have done for me. There is nothing more important to me than my family. A project I am really looking forward to is making our group much bigger and one day know that HackSchool will be a program for all around the world. But my main focus on this project is bringing these opportunity to experience engineering and the wonders it brings to the world. HackSchool is important to me because it is giving me the opportunity to create my own project in the real engineering world, it's not just practice. I also hope one day to have famous engineers from all over the world recognize me and know that I started with just a group of kids from Denver, Colorado.Ian R.Student Leader
I love to think and help people. I live in a low-income neighborhood, and I believe the future is bright. There are a lot of bright minds in today's world, and I want my neighbors to join me in HackSchool. I dream about being a engineer or a doctor, and technology is the key. When we finally have the technology we're fundraising for, I want to work on improving the education system. I think the way we learn in HackSchool can do that, and it's important to me because this is my chance for my voice to be heard. I also want my friends to have that chance.
Where Will Your Money Go?All of the money we raise will go directly to technological hardware and nowhere else! Check out the images below the list to see the actual technology we'll be using! Here's our comprehensive list:Core Technology
- 3D Printers: Ultimaker 2 and Lulzbot Taz 5
- 3D Laser Cutter & Printer: Glowforge Basic + Air Filter
- Microcontroller Starter Kit x3
- 4k Cinematic Video Camera: Panasonic 4K Ultra HD Camcorder HC-X1000E
Creation Resources and Misc.
- 3D Printer Filament--aka, 3D printer “ink”
- Project build raw materials
- Lulzbot Taz 5 Extruder
- Ultimaker 2 Extruder
- Camera Tripod
- Camera Case
- 128GB SD Card
- Lapel Microphone
- Kickstarter fees, Taxes, and Cost of Creating Gifts
The community has really come together to support HackSchool's crowdfunding launch, and we owe a special debt of gratitude to the following people and organizations for their critical insight, feedback, help, resources, borrowed equipment, and inspiration. Without any one of them, HackSchool would not be where it is today.
Alex Hernandez, Matt Candler, Paul Kim, Sean Vanberschot, SparkFun, Pretty Lights, TED Conferences, Megan Ross, Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, Colin Koopman, Lauren Cooper, Change the Equation, MiCasa Neighborhood Center, Strive Preparatory Schools, Chris Gibbons, Camille Howells, Kate Berger, Brian Kam, Jesse White, Loraine and Robert Schmitt, and most importantly, all of our wonderful students and families!
Risks and challenges
There are very few risks for HackSchool given that the infrastructure is already set up and running.
The the main challenge might be with shipping speeds of the technology we will be purchasing. We will be purchasing technology around the holiday season (to take advantage of holiday sale prices), so stock might be slightly lower. That said, a slight delay in receiving the technology will have a low impact on students since they will be on Winter Break for part of December! If shipping is significantly delayed, this might impact the speed at which we can send your wonderful gifts!...but in either case, we'll keep you fully updated!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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