Inspiring Others

Telling stories is one thing, but we knew that the Agile Experience was difficult, if not impossible, to describe, like asking someone to describe the flavor of an exotic fruit. It was something so profoundly different that it could only be understood by experiencing it.

So we set about finding a way to share the experience.

One afternoon we were with a group of educators and community members from around the county, grappling with this question: How could we share this learning experience with others?

And then, Derek hit on it. He simply said, "What if we hold a make-a-thon?" We then asked him what a Make-a-thon was, and he simply replied, "I don't know, we will need to figure that out."

But it was a brilliant idea that quickly morphed into a plan. We were to bring sixty students, teachers, administrators, and community members from surrounding school districts to a gathering at the local community college.

We were then going to mix them up into teams of different ages and backgrounds. Next, launch into a three-hour boot camp to introduce the concepts of programming and circuit board design. Then, in the afternoon, each team would plan and construct a solution to one of three challenges before a final presentation to the rest of the group at the end of the day.

It was a crazy idea. We would be bringing together people who had no programming experience or any understanding of electrical engineering, challenging them to create something astonishing in one day.

It was crazy enough that it just might work.

And it did. What came out of the day profoundly dented the universe of everyone in that room. The educators saw – many of them the first time – that kids could learn faster than they could be taught, often pulling the adults along in their draft. But more rewarding than the product at the end of the day was the exuberant joy of this co-learning process. Laughter filled the room. This extreme challenge did not daunt them, it exhilarated them.

Everyone returned to their schools knowing that there was something special happening in Dayton. And they wanted to learn more.

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