This explains the nature of the path well. Most people prefer the sensible path shown first, but then when they get there they will realize that they are amongst a crowd that has slogged their way there. The second path is full of perils. Many will give up. But every obstacle is a learning experience, even if they don’t get up there, they have learned more than peddling along.
What does it mean for Innovation Space
- Not everyone will create a successful outcome – nevertheless they will more than, the cyclist
- It takes an unusual set of skills to get there (many have to learn along the way)
- Mentoring is more than blowing the whistle at the start and being there at the end to judge if the students have arrived and in what order
- Normal students will choose the first path, the extraordinary will choose the latter
- Initially many students join Innovation Space looking only at the end destination and give up when they realize that it is like the second route
- All kinds of planning to get there becomes useless, continuous re-planning is needed
- It is easy to judge who will get to the top in the first route, difficult to guess that for the latter
- Through the journey those in the second route will mostly see difficulties and failures
- Those who are team players will do better in the second path and lone nerds will do well in the first
- When they get to the top on the second route – few will accept that they have got there (because they did not use that bicycle)
Such is the nature of innovation.
I had the pleasure of attending Fablab Adelaide’s 1st birthday party this weekend. In addition to meeting more cool people, I was deeply inspired by their success. Putting together, growing and managing something like FabLab is no mean task. It is fuelled primarily by the interest and commitment of the community that supports it. Its members ranging from ages 66 to 16 come from all walks of life, bringing with them a rich set of experience, skills and interest to create the kind of value that is barely noticed. Luckily for them, they have the Lord Mayor of Adelaide Stephen Yarwood as one of their believers. He was there. Like many, he is waiting for his retirement to spend more time with the hacker community which he recognizes as essential in developing Adelaide as cool tech city.
Dr. Zoz Brooks delivered an inspiring speech, pointing out the value that entities such as FabLabs bring to the city. He also pointed out that they form the backbone of creative economies and deliver per $, more value than most universities and research institutes can dream of. The city of Adelaide is fortunate to have one, thanks to the untiring efforts and remarkable leadership of Karen Marsh.
Innovation Space is grappling with the problem of selection. We have more students for our Digital Literacy Program than we can support, creating a problem of selection – that we are not sure how to re-solve.
We certainly cannot go by grades. Good exam takers are often not great innovators as their minds can race along only on pre made tracks. Those who can lay their own tracks like tanks, seem to be better able at entering new territories and navigating the rough grounds that confront those who leave the well paved roads.
Innovation is the fortuitous combination of unusual abilities and unusual opportunities. Every student is different with different interests and different abilities. To subject them to the same standardized test – is the choice of governments and not ours. It is known, that those outside the curve are better able to innovate and those within it are less able to. So we need to rely on skills and interests that are very different from what standardized tests aim to measure.
In the few terms we have run Innovation Space, those who fair well (produce results) seem to be those who have grit. Those who have talent are plentiful and those who are aware of it seem to be least effective in making use of it, while those who persevere learn how to learn and do stuff that others have not.
Promise: We had nothing to do with this. Part of a lab at ASMS (not part of the Shed) has been re-arranged. The printers have been moved and there are notices on the wall. Permission seems to have not been obtained. I was alerted by a concerned IT staff member. So I went to take a look.
If you can read the notice :
This is the GRAPHITE LAB. Home of the Graphite Scorpion and Many other Exciting Projects.
Graphite it seems is a company. Started by a few ASMS students. David, Phillip and Edurad appear to be the main culprits. They have launched a few apps in the app store and were busy building a 3D Printed Rocket Car. Innovation Space had nothing to do with this at all. But we love whats going on.
It is nice to see student entrepreneurs doing what they want to do @ ASMS. Because that is part of its mission. I wish them luck and hope that they will inspire others.
For everyone who participated in sharing our excitement about cool new technologies that we are fortunate to play with – making our stall a centre of entertainment. Hope some of those kids will show up at ASMS.
What a disaster. The robot soccer competition was all set to go, but the organizers forgot to bring the balls. So they asked us.
Can you print one please ?
And also the goal post if you can. Now, home 3D printing has a dubious reputation. While the press has hyped it beyond belief, those who are more seriously engaged question its real use. Good examples of its use are few and far in between. But here is one -
Strange how things happen @ Innovation Space. Having bought our first 3D printer for the Innovation Space, I observed that once on a teacher made his first few prints, students jumped in and started printing their own creations. Thought I was familiar with printing I had never used a fuse deposition machine.
Typically, those who setup the labs are the first test and deploy machines. But I had no chance.The machine was too busy and very much in demand, with students coming to school at 8:00 am to start printing before others arrive.
Not to say that it is easy to print in 3D. The technology is still immature. The machine behaves very much like their teenage minders; moody, erratic and prone to dummy spits – oozing out plastic in the air for no apparent reason . Parts tend to de-laminate and also miss prints. There are many settings involved in coaxing them towards desired behavior.
The success of its deployment at Innovation Space is that we did not know and did not have to know how to manage all this – the students figured it all out and taught each other. Left alone to mange the stall they even figured out how to take the print nozzle apart, unclog the plastic and get it to work again – all without asking permission. They managed to get 5 machines working 12 hour shifts continuously for 7 days. I finally have time with the machines at the Royal Adelaide Show. So it is here, five months later, that I did my first print on the machines that we had purchased. Schools should perhaps re-think the way they deploy new technology.