There is so much we want to talk about as we launch the Creative Learning Systems blog: learning philosophy, directions in STEM education, case studies, innovative technologies, politics, funding… It’s a long, long list and it all matters. But there was never any question that our first entry would be about the kids that inspire us.
This video, produced by Fox 5 News in Washington, D.C., is about the robotics team at Chamberlain Elementary School, a Friendship Public Charter School. The team’s four girls — working out of the Chamberlain SmartLab, are understandably proud of their accomplishment. In the team’s first year, they were invited to compete in the National Society of Black Engineers robotics conference in Toronto, Canada.
What impressed me most about these girls is their approach to problem-solving. Listen to the way they discuss the challenges and setbacks they encountered in their project. Listen to how 12 year-old Alexis Martin handles the reporter’s probing questions about what they might have accomplished with more time.
It is this perspective towards learning and problem-solving that we see every day in SmartLabs across the country. We take great pride in being the place in school where failure is not just tolerated, but celebrated. We take great pleasure in visiting schools where the kids speak more enthusiastically about what didnt work in their project challenges than what did. These young girls understand that the reward for all their hard work is found in the process of the project, not its outcome. And they understand that, if they choose to pursue their early interest in engineering, it is the mastery of this process that employers will value.
I am richly rewarded every time I visit a SmartLab like Chamberlain Elementary. I learn so much. We all feel this way at Creative Learning Systems. The kids give us valuable guidance to continuously improve our program offering. More importantly, we are reminded why we chose this business and why we feel so passionately about our approach to learning. Now, as ever, it’s about the kids.