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Exploratorium

I am available to be a designer & content creator for a creative, online learning platform for K-8. (interactive, project-based learning)

Photo of Dawn Horney
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher
  • Parent/Caregiver
  • Student
  • Academic Coach & Homeschool Pioneer

Tell us about your idea

I have seen how students can be mentored to take what they have learned and demonstrate higher level learning through projects, simulations, and presentations. Gaming is the best way to engage students in memorable learning of basic math and subject knowledge facts. When students create media, arts or crafts projects to share what they have learned--they gain confidence and a boost to creativity. I would love to have tools to create a free online platform that provides educational videos and engaging direct instruction as a springboard for online educational challenges, games, and bulletin board for students to publish projects or share personal learning with others in a safe, colorful, creative educational platform. This type of online learning would encourage students to launch from online into the "real world"--at home, with their family & friends or in the community before returning to share their "homework". One of my favorite experiences is watching children share their learning with others and be excited by knowing something new. This could be a feeder for students to engage in local clubs, scouts, competitions. It could be a "fallback" for online school in case of weather or other closures. It could be a place to do something fun in the summer. It could provide school experiences for homeschoolers and those in rural or remote areas.

Prek-k kids had Starfall.com (before they went commercial); middle and high school students have KahnAcademy. I want to create a dynamic, age-appropriate even more motivating platform for elementary school students--The Exploratorium. Check in online, then check it out! (Part children's museum, part school, part games, part social media, part scavenger hunt.) 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Textbooks, learning in one room all day, mostly listening to a teacher talk and give a lesson indoors, all the wasted time transitioning from one thing or place to another with a group of students, missing out on learning "in the field" & from "real" life and different people, in a variety of places (which is so much more fun and memorable), stress about grades or taking tests, being with your peers whether they were nice or interesting or not. School is really not meant to be a "factory". All people and especially children were meant to learn by reading or seeing or listening to someone impart new knowledge and then using it in some way to make something or write about it or make art or music with it. Elementary children are all about exploring with their senses not sitting in one place being passive.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I have been volunteer teaching and developing interactive classes in person for homeschooled students for the past 20 years. Often I have integrated online resources and technology for homework, enrichment and student communication. I have a background in theater and public speaking. Books, crafting, gaming, cooking, gardening, exploring outdoors and national parks are some of my hobbies. I love to incorporate these "hands on" areas into teaching students core subjects. I have coached students in teams to participate in project-based academic competitions or simulations. (Science & Social Studies Fairs, Future City, Envirothon, Honeywell Aerospace Challenge, JA Biztown & Stock Market Challenge)

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Knoxville, TN I live and homeschool in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in an exurb area that feels like the country but is 20 minutes away from anything urban you might want. We are part of a community garden and very involved in church and Scouts. We garden in our yard. We also live an hour from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. There are amazing opportunities to hear bluegrass and country music here. We have fantastic zoo, children's museum and historical and cultural sites

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