Saturday, February 25, 2017

Visiting Hawaii Part 1











Our recent visit to Hawaii was absolutely amazing, possibly transformative, and a  just in time opportunity.   For a few years now,  we had considered the possibility of visiting Hawaii, and since the concept of “vacation’  is not one that comes easy to me, I have been keeping an eye out for work related opportunities in Hawaii.  





Thus I was quick to notice when a fellow Google Certified Trainer/Educator, Michael Fricano announced a call for proposals to present at the 2017  IGNITE Innovation Conference.

A quick look at our calendar revealed that these dates might work for us, and I submitted a few possible workshop ideas.  As soon as the conference  committee accepted my proposal, Design Thinking and Computational Thinking with Makey Makey, I started to plan our trip.





Since much of my focus lately has been around maker centered learning,  I started to search for makerspaces and schools that were interested in making as a way of learning on Oahu.   What I found was a very welcoming group of educators who allowed me to truly understand that ALOHA  was so much more than a greeting!   According to Hawaiian culture expert, Peter Apo
Aloha has emerged as a Hawaiian cultural concept that functions as a prism through which all other behavioral values that govern relationships are refracted .


Aloha, while having many manifestations, essentially is an unconditional extension of love, trust, and friendship giving the benefit of the doubt to the receiver. It is a particularly magnanimous cultural act in it’s intimacy as a personal greeting that is routinely extended to strangers which sets aside personal boundaries and welcomes the receiver into one’s personal space.   ~ Hawaiian Values and the Workplace


I had no idea that I was about to experience the most amazing feeling of Aloha - especially the part where my hosts would welcome us in their personal spaces!  The sense of welcome continues to fill me, back on the mainland, in a way that I can’t quite describe.  I feel that something transformational happened to me during this visit!  




And part of that  transformation was most probably due to the Hawaiian value of ALAKA‘I— the value of leadership. According to leadership coach, Rosa Say
ALAKAI is demonstrated when you “Lead with initiative, and with your good example. You shall be the guide for others when you have gained their trust and respect.” ~ Managing with Aloha
Throughout our visit we were to be introduced to amazing examples of leadership that earned our respect with their standards of excellence that exuded Hawaiian cultural values
-- values that I had not yet read about
-- values that I got to know by experiencing them
-- values that I found myself wanting to know more about

And since my visit to Hawaii I’ve been reading more about these Hawaiian values to better understand what I experienced during our recent visit.


Perhaps because I’m in the middle of teaching my University of Vermont course on Ed Tech Leadership..
Perhaps because I’m struggling with the divisive political culture of our nation...
Perhaps because I’m in a personal inquiry of how to balance my many passions in this stage of  my life/career...


Whatever the reason… I feel that this trip to Hawaii was a transformational ‘just in time’ experience.


It will probably take me a few blog posts to digest and reflect  on our visits to






  • Iolani School where maker-educators Michael Fricano and Matt Dillon lead us on tours of the maker spaces at both the elementary school and the high school
  • Kailua Elementary School where ed tech leader, Greg Kent, gave us a tour of his classroom/maker space and the gardens surrounding the school providing numerous opportunities of problem finding that a school makerspace can support


  • Oahu Makerspace where residential maker, Ross Mulai,  shared his expertise as he lead us around a community makerspace located in the industrial section of Honolulu near the airport


  • Numerous eateries and the most beautiful tourist attractions ranging from the powerful surf in Shark’s Cove of the North Shore  to the colorful fish we found snorkeling in the Hanauma Bay



Shark's Cove



Hanauma Bay


Even though the blog post on each of these visits are in progress,  I’ve been busy applying much of what I’ve learned and experienced to my current work supporting Vermont educators in their own pursuit of excellence in our schools to better serve our students.   In the next few weeks, I’ll be following up with additional blog posts  about the various parts of my learnings from our time in Hawaii.