Involve me…

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin

The other day I watched as my son excitedly jumped into a rocky section of the Yarra River on the outskirts of Melbourne. He rolled up his pants and waded in. He had a mission, there was a rocky outcrop nearby that he wanted to get to. The river was fast flowing and deep in parts. I knew he’d make it.

I have seen my son’s amazing sense of space and his body control over his eight year life. He knew the 10 or so km journey to his grandparents house by age 4. He shows me on google maps where his school is and takes me via the streets to nearby places he’s found. The kid has some real talents that aren’t specifically taught in the classroom – but the classroom, and his real life experiences, support and encourage these talents.

So the question for me, as a parent, as a communicator and educator is – how can we support and enhance this learning to ensure every kid feels that awesome feeling of discovery and accomplishment?

It’s really about making learning accessible to everyone, no matter what their strengths.

And the research backs it up: Providing students with multiple ways to access content improves learning (Hattie, 2011).

Dr Howard Gardner, responsible for the development of the multiple intelligences theory recently told the Washington Post:

Teach important materials in several ways, not just one (e.g. through stories, works of art, diagrams, role play). In this way you can reach students who learn in different ways. Also, by presenting materials in various ways, you convey what it means to understand something well.

So that’s why the Lore Makers is here. My business partner, a teacher, and I have taken our interest in cultural heritage, which provides great context for who we are and helps us understand each other, with a plan to create learning experiences that access and support all of our intelligences.

As we start this exciting journey, we’d love to have you come along on the journey with us. You can sign up to our enews and we’ll send you some info on how you can create memories. Or first events kick off in February (so if you’re feeling inclined, you can like our facebook page to keep in the loop).

Oh, and my son did make it to the outcrop, and can back again through the river a different way he’d plotted out. With slightly wet pants and a confident smile that he’d done just as he’d planned and had a great story to tell.

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Throwing open the doors, 3 things to consider

Last weekend saw The State Library of Victoria’s ‘Carnival of Curiosity’. It was a day to explore and discover new parts to the library and engage with storytelling, books, history and multimedia. Of course, it was an awesome day, attracted lots of people and I’m sure everyone came away from it with a new understanding of what the State Library has in its collection and the different services on offer. I know I did.

Can you open the doors to your business or area? If you need more people to know who you are, what you do best, and everything you have to offer, an open day type of event might work for you. How’s some things to think about to get you organised:

Promotion: Tell everyone about your event – letterbox drop the local area, post on social media, advertise, and involve local media.

Interaction: Think about ways to move people around to different parts of your street and store. Think about how to get them to learn something new while they are there – preferably in a fun way! Games, quizzes, exhibits, videos, talks, etc.

Follow up: How are you going to capture the names and email addresses of your visitors, how are you going to get them to come back again after your event? Could you ask them to interact with you on social media?

Events can be time consuming and a little overwhelming to pull together. But there are also huge rewards, imagine picking up a group of new engaged and informed customers who know and love what you do. Planned well, this is indeed what can happen.

As always, you can talk to us for help. We can put together an event plan for you and/or get organising.

Had a successful event? Tell us about it and you could feature on the local experience.

Guest post: Community activations – are they worth it?

From  Suzette Jackson, Innate Ecology

The Geelong Better Block is over, Jason Roberts, cofounder of The Better Block, has returned to the USA, and central Geelong has returned to the quiet area it was?

We have to ask, was it all worth it?

 

On Saturday June 15th over 80 community volunteers set up a one-day community event in the streets of central Geelong to change the way we use our urban spaces. In two streets where you can count the pedestrians on one hand, there was an estimated 800 visitors in a four-hour period, with music activities, children playing, people meeting, chatting and lingering. There was upcycled street furniture built by high school students, bunting involving children’s ideals of a better city and free activities encouraging gardening, recycling, local foods, musical groups and cycling.

By all measures the Geelong Better Block was a successful event supported by local council, but what now? Was this just a ripple or has the spirit of the Better Block inspired others to reclaim our urban streets on a more regular basis?

GBB_FruitCart_GiantGamesJason Roberts, cofounder The Better Block, a not for profit organisation, in Dallas, Texas and recipient of the Champion of Change Award at the White House 2012, recently participated in two Better Block events in Geelong and Melbourne as well as providing key note speeches at the ‘6th Making Cities Liveable Conference in Melbourne and the NSW Government annual ‘Urban Conversations’ in Sydney. The response from ‘Better Block’ participants and conference attendees were similar – engagement, wonder and joy – at finding a process, albeit temporary, that allowed a community to activate urban street space within their own community.

We are not talking radical ideas here. We are not talking anarchy or riots. We are talking community of families, people old and young from different lives coming together to socialise and help each other. What was similar for both the Geelong Better Block and the Coburg Better Block was that each event was encouraging a safe place for children, sharing of ideas and sustainable ways of life. Interestingly the Australian events were not guerrilla style events, as previously undertaken in the USA, but events coordinated with the support of local council. Was it challenging to organise with council approvals? Yes. Was it based on volunteer hours and resources? Yes. Was it a success? Most definitely.

While the ‘Coburg Better Block’ held Sunday 16th June was a residential street closure which was estimated to have attracted 150 people over three hours; the ‘Geelong Better Block’ held on Saturday 15th June attracted more than 800 people over the four-hour period based on a key theme of promoting a safe and walkable city, for a healthy and sustainable Geelong. The Geelong event activated two inner city streets with high retail vacancies and very low pedestrian traffic.

The event received national media coverage as the first ever Australian Better Block and was highlighted on The Better Block website as well as in Jason’s subsequent conference presentations. With the ‘Clovelly Better Block’ now naming the date for October 27th this year and Jason keen to revisit Australia, one has to ask what next?

How do we now translate the ideas from a temporary ‘Better Block’ into our cities and communities? Where to now?

GBB_Alfresco in CarparkInitial responses from our community survey indicate that people felt safer in the city, found new shops to visit and eat at, stayed in the area to talk and meet with people rather than just passing through and enjoyed the mix of live entertainment and street theatre provided as well as the free activities educating people on how to live more sustainably. There have also been numerous requests for Better Block events in neighbouring towns and suburbs.

We tend to forget that these streetscapes form part of our urban spaces and can be used for more than vehicle access and parking. Proactive councils Australia wide use street closures to activate urban centres, with community activities and markets, developing stronger local community and economy. Geelong community is speaking up – they want more access to our urban spaces for the community to enjoy for pedestrian, cycling and meeting. The Better Block is here to stay.

 

Suzette Jackson, Director, Innate Ecology was the Geelong Better Block event manager.

Simple solutions are often the best

Inspired is the word of the day. I’ve been researching what others are up to in the world of ‘place activation’ and it’s awesome.

What is place activation? The often simple activities being used to draw crowds into places. Like ‘pop ups’ or games. Our post last year on play in public spaces was so popular, we decided to look into it more.

So we have put together a guide for everyone who wants to get some place activation activities happening in their area. The background research has been done for you – profiles of different projects from around the world, interviews with those already doing it and what they have learnt from the experience and some tips to get you started. Really helpful if you have a look of convincing of others to do.

Even if you don’t have any plans to activate your area, but you just love cities, urban planning, events and great ideas, you’ll get something out of it.

All our subscribers receive 50% off the price of the guide (normally $10) with the discount code ‘subscribe’.

You can download a short 9 page version of our full 38 page ebook for starters here: Activation_Inspiration_sample.

To purchase a full version of Activation Inspiration click here to go to our online store.

This is the first in our plans to make a few information guides available for you. We welcome your feedback and would love to hear what else you need to get the job done. We’d be happy to do some that background work for you!