CIS PROGRAM DIRECTOR and INTERNSHIP COORDINATOR
Today we would like to introduce our friends and followers to one of our own, Haven Hatch. Haven is the Program Director here at Change is Simple. She graduated from Endicott College with a degree in Environmental Science and is pursuing her Masters of Education in Learning Design and Technology. Let us tell you, nothing, and we mean NOTHING could run properly around here without Haven! She keeps things organized, keeps the energy and humor up, manages our interns, and keeps the wheels turning with all of our education programs and school visits. Here is a little insight into what inspired her to pursue education and why she felt destined to land at Change is Simple...
Getting my degree in environmental science means I know a little about a lot of different things. I took classes like urban ecology, oceanography, field science, energy and the environment, and I was exposed to so many different aspects of this larger umbrella of environmental science. I am pursuing an advanced degree in education so that I can take all that I have learned and teach it to others in the most effective and meaningful way. I study the best way to design, implement, and evaluate both educational and instructional materials, and how technology plays a role in learning.
GOAL? CHANGING THE WORLD
Education was not the path I originally thought I was going to explore. I wrote my college application essay on changing the world (I was destined to land here!). I’ve also had this strange and yet enormous feeling of responsibility that I need to make a difference. I don’t know how it happened or where it stems from but I’ve always let that passion drive what I do. I chose Environmental Science for a variety of reasons - my parents are outdoorsy, we spent summers camping and at the beach, growing up in Maine in general and my interest and abilities in the sciences all added to that. I think adding education brings in the “making a difference” part. I could go out and work a regular 9-5 job and do my part and recycle and eat locally but if I teach 10 kids to do the same, or 15 or 30 or even 100, the impact I can have is magnified endlessly compared to my single efforts. I think that is why I chose education. I can use education as a way of maximizing the difference I hope to make in the world.
I think everything I am learning in school relates to Change is Simple in one way or another. I am studying the idea that learning promotes a higher order of thinking and creating. The way CiS’s programs work and progress from grade 2 through grade 6 follow this idea. It starts with remembering- learning basic facts- then students move into understanding and applying those facts, and eventually they begin analyzing and evaluating, finally getting to what's most important: creating.
21st CENTURY LEARNING
Change is Simple teaches kids important and valuable information about environmental science in their first years in the program. As we introduce and expand on topics, it is finally like “okay, you know all this stuff and you can identify these problems our society is facing now use your creativity to go out and fix those problems!” Adding real life problem solving into the classroom connects students to what’s actually going on but also teaches them why what they are learning is valuable. I think that is the greatest strength of 21st century learning…finding a way to make kids interested in learning again in a world where a trillion other things are distracting them from education.
Collaboration, communication and the ability to problem solve is what we should be teaching kids how to do. When you add technology to the mix it only enhances our ability to collaborate, communicate, and problem solve, and those are the skills 21st century learning wants be want to instill in students.
While in school I have learned so many incredible things, however, the most impactful came from a book written by Prensky about partnering with web-based technologies in classrooms. He compares students to rockets and not trains on a track. When I read his explanation it was one of those “aha” moments. We put kids on this track and expect them all to learn fractions by this time and American history by this age and it is just crazy to me that we never really thought that maybe this isn't how everyone learns.
Much like rockets, kids can’t be controlled during every moment and during every step of the way. Instead, it is the responsibility of educators to point them in the right direction and send them off. Some kids may fall flat just like rockets do, and other kids may head off to uncharted and far away places. What educators need to do in addition to pointing them in the right direction is prepare students to make their own “inflight” repairs, thus making kids more independent and self-sufficient problem solvers. Seeing kids as rockets has shifted my view of the student/educator role. I think that is a pretty cool thing to learn from a class, I didn’t take away some random fact, I was given an entirely new perspective.
Thank you for all you do Haven! We are lucky to have you here at Change is Simple, and so are the kids we teach!