The promotional video for the February 28 COSA Innovate20 Conference concluded with this message: “To give our kids the best chance, we need to learn from those who have taken a chance. Innovate20 isn’t about perfection, it’s about taking a risk on a good idea. And making that idea come to life. We have a lot to lose when we take risks. But what we have to gain… is EVERYTHING.”

This could easily describe our approach to our STEAM Machine.

Innovate Dallas educators were asked to share our STEAM Machine at Innovate20 as well as the story in bringing this roving learning adventure to life. It was, undoubtedly, a privilege and honor in accepting a “presenter invitation” to a conference designed to “bring together innovative educators from around Oregon – along with business leaders, creatives, and social entrepreneurs – to rethink what is possible in our schools”.  While the morning provided inspiring guest speakers and business tours to be a catalyst in our “What if?” inventive inquiry, the afternoon allowed greater opportunity to explore strategies and tools to spark curiosity and more successfully launch our students into an ever-changing society of skills and careers. The STEAM Machine was joined by two other mobile maker spaces; the Beaverton Future Bus and the Gresham-Barlow Tomorrow Bus. Many teachers, administrators, dreamers, and even curious pedestrians in the area were able to explore our STEAM Machine stations and gather, brainstorm, and suggest ideas for even more widespread innovative experiences throughout our community as well as countless other districts around the state. 

“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” (John A. Shedd) Our STEAM Machine may resemble more of a bus than a ship, but the message remains the same. To reap rewards, one must take risks. Our “ship” is made for a brilliant journey – despite the waves, storms, and unknown destinations. We can’t wait to see where it takes us.

Post was written by Michele Schilling – Innovate Dallas STEAM Team