PACE student learning experience- collaborating on the PACE logo

I am excited to share with you a guest post by Mark Engstrom, head of school at  PACE. PACE is a new school planning on opening its doors in 2015.

I am super excited to follow the school’s journey in terms of personalized and networked learning.

At PACE, we have reimagined and redesigned student learning experiences so that students experience their world in a way that makes sense to them. Students and families have choices regarding what content they want to learn, the modality which they want to learn in or the pace at which they learn for each learning experience.  They will also operate within a new workflow that includes autonomy with regards to when to be assessed and reflection/documentation at the end of each learning experience.

Take a look below and ask yourself: Who owns the learning  (HT to Alan November) ? What are the skills involved in this learning experience? (graphic and presentation design, typography, communication , network, collaboration, reflective skills, etc.)

Guest post by Mark Engstrom:
paceAn excellent example of student learning at PACE is the development of the logo.  We connected Alex E., a PACE student, with Mariela, a professional graphic designer in Buenos Aires to embark on the project.  To start, Alex sent three ideas to her with the reasons that he liked each one (he mentioned colors that were easily visible, a variety of fonts and in the case of the middle one, a space theme since PACE will be located in the same city as NASA).

pace2The next step was for Mariela to send in her first round of logo suggestions, including some that were strongly influenced by Alex’s initial ideas.  What she sent to him was the following. pace3Upon receiving this, Alex let Mariela know how he felt about the logos and was ready to collaborate so they could get to the next step in the process.  Their e-mail exchange is below:

pace7They agreed on skipping the underline idea and at that point Mariela thought about the specific hues that would represent the forward thinking model of PACE (she also noted that Alex subconsciously chose the colors of kung fu belts).  She decided on a variety of hues and the following suggestions were sent to Alex: pace5Alex wrote that he liked Droid Serif and Sanchez Italic and we ended up with proposal number three from above which gave us the logo we have today (Sanchez Italic): pace6In his reflection about the experience of collaborating on the design of the logo, Alex said,

“It was fun working with a professional designer and an experience that most kids don’t normally get.  I have the feeling that I’m actually making a change and not just making myself smarter.”

Mariela thought the experience was a good one as well and stated,

“In over 10 years of experience as a graphic designer, this is the first time I shared a project with a child.  I would say that the idea arose in his little head, I just contributed with my experience and knowledge to adjust and add meaning to what he proposed.  Children have skills that adults have lost over the years due to the amount of information they accumulate.  We have much to learn from them!  Thanks for making me part of this project!”

This is a great example of how we intend to give students Purposeful (the logo is being used), Authentic (he went through a genuine collaborative process), Connected (he worked with a professional graphic designer) and Experiential (he didn’t read about someone else’s experience, but rather went through it himself) learning experiences every chance that we can.  We will embed as many of the four components that make up the acronym PACE as possible in our Passion Based Learning projects and other areas of student growth.