This project, website and related images and ideas, would not exist without the guidance, inspiration and support of the following:-
This project arose serendipitously whilst I was working towards certification through the Project Based Learning University. (PBLU) where I was developing a project that fostered community spirit and identity. Administered by BIE.org, the PBLU course offers certification in teaching Project Based Learning (PBL), a style of learning which sees learners "go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge." These "rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practise 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking)" all of which are essential skills I wish to be able to foster in my learners.
During the PBL course, I also qualified as a Google Apps for Education Certified Individual AND was lucky enough to attend the Google Apps for Education Summit Singapore, where the idea of a 'Google Space' was brought to light. A 'Google Space' is a different kind of learning environment that doesn't follow the same lines as a traditional classroom. As a result, I was approached by IT and Innovations to trial some old laptops as a make-shift 1:1 programme. This is where the title of the project came from; the laptops were so old, they had to be plugged in to work - hence, we had wires all over the classroom, just like octopus tentacles! I also discovered that Octopi like to actually create a garden for themselves; they adapt their surroundings to suit their needs - exactly what this project requires!
Other suggestions however, are that I am the Octopus, whose tentacles reach everywhere to seek out the tools I need for my learners...
You can make up your own mind.
Documentation of these small changes to the learning space impacted on the way the learners used the classroom; details can be found in my personal blog, exploring learning. From this, The Octopus's Garden was born.
The Senior Management Team approached me as someone who is always open to new ideas and who has questioned the validity of the traditional layout of classrooms in the past. I was asked to take the concept of The Octopus's Garden to the next level and rethink my learning space and design a 21st Century Classroom.
Not one for leaving learners out, I decided to incorporate my learning from the PBL, and adapt the project I had been developing, to create a exciting project that involves learners from across two grade levels collaborating in the creation of a design that works for them - this is their learning space and it is really important to me that they have a say.
What is really exciting about this project is that it incorporates not only PBL. but also works along the lines of the Flat Classroom Project (FCP), where learners have to work asynchronously, - Grade 7 and Grade 8 need to work together yet do not have lessons together.
What I hope to achieve through this project is an inspirational introduction to NISS of these innovative learning styles, the consolidation of my PBL practice as well as a mini-exploration into the world of FCP (my certification for this course starts early in 2013) which will result in an exciting and innovative design of our learning space.
'Learn Different' Poster Campaign
"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
The 'Learn Different' posters are a pastiche of the highly successful 'Think Different' Apple advertisement campaign that "reestablished Apple's counter-culture image that it had lost during the 90s". The grainy nature of the image is deliberate, the logo has been adapted to mimic that of the original, even the font is authentic.
The "Learn Different' posters are deliberate and their grammatical mistake is not a faux pas but a homage. The tagline of the original Apple ads has always grated on those who are advocates of standard English, but it was a deliberate ruse by Apple to force us into considering things differently; their deliberate grammatical change ‘conveyed a total change in the whole body of what you think about,’’ said Jessica Schulman, art director at TBWA\Chiat\Day. ‘‘Instead of thinking in your everyday way, ‘Think Different.’’’
The Octopus's Garden project asks learners to rethink learning in the same way Apple asked consumers to rethink computers. Apple lauded those who were different as heroes and revolutionaries as we want to echo the Nexus tagline 'Celebrating Diversity. Challenging Minds' in our project aims.
‘‘Think Different” celebrates the soul of the Apple brand—that creative people with passion can change the world for the better,’’ Steve Jobs
"The Persuasion Experiment: 5 Effective Persuasion Techniques Tested."Potential2Success RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013.
* Stuart and David, Principal and Deputy Principal respectively, - thank you for giving me this opportunity, the space and freedom to explore what is best for my leaners and for allowing me to continually test myself as a teacher and be a life-long learner.
* Ed and Gavin of NISS IT and Innovations - thanks for thinking of me for this project and for setting up The Octopus!
* fb, my husband - thanks for your continued support as well as unlimited artistic and IT talents. Thanks for being able to create the designs that are in my head but not at my fingertips. You always manage to decipher my excited jibberish into exactly what I want. The 'Learn Different' posters are just what I pictured.
* NISS learners - your flexibility means that I am constantly able to try new things. You meet everything I throw at you with enthusiasm, perseverance and originality. Keep on learning different!
Awesome Octopus's Garden design for the background of our site, blog and Twitter, with kind thanks to
"Sugar Frosted Goodness!: NEW PATTERN and NEW SHIRTS." Sugar Frosted Goodness!: NEW PATTERN and NEW SHIRTS. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://sugarfrostedgoodness.blogspot.sg/2009/03/new-pattern-and-new-shirts.html>.
Other images gratefully acknowledged:"The Beatles Fans." Ringo Starr Cumple 72 AÃ±os. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://www.taringa.net/comunidades/thebeatlesfans/5648258/Ringo-Starr-cumple-72-anos.html>."Octopus's Garden; Digital Illustration for Children's Interactive Display." Matt Crott's Artist & Designer. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <http://www.mattcrotts.com/octopus-s-garden>.
Blooming Orange, http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tUJTB8MZQ2w/TiTeyptspPI/AAAAAAAADw0/bIlM_fXtnLE/s1600/blooms+orange.jpg N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
Mind Map Guidelines: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/MindMapGuidlines.svg N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
REFERENCES"Buck Institute for Education." Project Based Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. <http://www.bie.org/>.
"PBLU." .org. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2012. <http://www.pblu.org/>.
Marketing, On. "The Real Story Behind Apple's 'Think Different' Campaign." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Dec. 2011. Web. 22 Aug. 2012. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2011/12/14/the-real-story-behind-apples-think-different-campaign/2/>
"'Think Different': The Ad Campaign That Restored Apple'sReputation." Low End Macs RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2012. <http://lowendmac.com/orchard/07/apple-think-different.html>.
"Apple Think Different Campaign." The Inspiration Room. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2012. <http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2005/apple-think-different/>.
"This Is Not ADVERTISING." This Is Not ADVERTISING. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2012. <http://thisisnotadvertising.wordpress.com/?s=apple>.