Hisar School acknowledges that technology offers unprecedented opportunities and experiences in all areas of education and helps learners progress at their own pace and reach information from different sources. Hisar School are also aware of the fact that learning can only be most effective if it goes beyond the constraints of time and space, and therefore has placed this concept at the center of its philosophy of education.
Within the scope of this concept, the teacher is not the only source of information and the school is not the only learning environment. As such, while the role of the teacher changes to a mentor who learns and experiences together with the students, transforming the classic classroom into new learning environments has come to the fore as an emerging need. This new concept for learning environments has now become an agenda item for school. Indeed, it suggests that learning, instead of being restricted to an enclosed classroom with four walls, should go beyond the classroom to extend all areas in school and even exceed its boundaries, while incorporating practices to introduce a change in school environment and learning design.
This approach aims to improve all aspects of learning, from the design of school furniture, desks and chairs in use and digital tools provided to students, to curricula and Internet services.
Flexible Learning Environments
Innovative and flexible learning environments refer to those environments which consist of open and different spaces, in which students can move more freely, carry out group or individual work readily, change the design of the environment to suit their needs, communicate with one another and the world at any time, and, in short, be more involved in the learning process. Accordingly, a deep-rooted change in school ecosystems seems to be one of the most fundamental issues that we will all work on in the coming years.
ideaLab, which refers to innovative and flexible learning environments in Hisar School, is an environment which lives, develops and produces together with students and teachers alike and in which many inspiring classes, projects, activities and studies take place. To offer these environments, the following headings can be listed as key points to pay attention to:
In addition to individual and group working areas, storage rooms, and seminar and training halls, these environments are structured in a natural layout and transparency to allow for studies in robotics, 3D design and electronics.
In this context, flexible and inspiring areas have been created by taking into consideration the requirements of graphic design, multimedia, entrepreneurship and innovation.
This structure was created together with Computer Science (CS) teachers and students. ‘Design Thinking’ was at the core of this process, as a problem-solving method focused on empathy. This approach addresses Problem Identification and Empathy, Description and Analysis, Idea Generation, Prototype and testing in a repetitive cycle. Based on an organic structure nurtured by this approach, our learning areas continue to develop and transform.
Area designs were made to have a natural layout and visual transparency by taking into consideration the requirements of group and individual working areas, storage rooms, seminar and training halls, robotics, 3D design, electronics, graphic design & multimedia, entrepreneurship, and innovation. This structure was created together with Computer Science (CS) teachers and students. ‘Design Thinking’ was at the core of this process, as a problem-solving method focused on empathy. This approach addresses ‘problem identification & empathy,’ ‘description & analysis,’ ‘idea generation,’ ‘prototype,’ and ‘testing’ in a repetitive cycle.
Based on an organic structure nurtured by this approach, our learning areas continue to develop and transform.
Materials and Projects
The materials available at ideaLab support our students in all courses, projects, competitions, events, and individual university portfolios in Computer Science and encompass all technological developments around the world. Consumables and electronic materials used in electronics, programming, design and manufacturing include Lego, Robotics supplies, Arduino, RaspberryPi, 3D printer, sensors for IOT, and Microbit.
Students and teachers at the CS Department manage their time by taking their own schedules into consideration. Our students have the opportunity to study after school hours and on weekends, and our school has thus turned into a learning environment that lives beyond school hours.
ideaLab is always open to all our students and teachers who are the owners of their own learning. Students using this area gain valuable experience as well as a collaborative culture. Using the materials and space at ideaLab, taking responsibility, organization of the workspace, time management, sharing, and peer support are important components of this culture.
In all the courses, clubs and projects carried out in these fields, strong connections have been established between disciplines of Computer, Mathematics, Science, Arts, Language, and Social Sciences, adopting an approach which enables and supports STE(A)M studies. An entire learning environment has been created by removing interdisciplinary boundaries.
All students and teachers who work at ideaLab receive training on how to assess risks and security requirements. A rigorous due diligence for security is a priority for all of us.
A Small Room for Big Ideas: ideaLab
Students describe the Idea Lab as an environment in which small ideas turn into bigger ideas.
The working area, which merely consisted of a small room in 2010, has changed from year to year and become an innovative and flexible learning area under the name of ideaLab. This change and transformation means not only the construction and use of a physical area, but also the realization of an idea. It stands for a transformation in our ways of working, studying and thinking, and also in students, teachers, parents, curricula, and many other variables that make up a school environment -- transforming the entire school into a learning area.
ideaLab is a learning area that is centered around students’ learning, problem solving and collaboration skills. As a learning and living space where our students demonstrate their potential before university and choosing a profession, ideaLab inspires us all.
This is the inspiration and culture that leads the Hisar Community to re-think education and to re-design learning environments.
Teaching strategies, curricula and learning environments constitute a powerful combination for a better learning experience. In this respect, “flexible” is the keyword: flexible curriculum, flexible learning environments, and flexible learning styles. And this is how teachers and students alike have the chance to focus on exploring and learning more.
A Journey from Teaching to Learning
The most powerful aspect of ideaLab is that teachers and students work together with the same enthusiasm to create a new learning environment together to deliver a project that grows, develops and transforms with them.
The passion for learning among students has grown day by day since the launch of this area and students have begun to manage their own time, learning materials and processes.
In ideaLab, our students work on a number of interesting, garage-type projects of various sizes and technologies, including arcade games, drone works, face-emotion recognition devices, IoT projects, RaspberryPi, Arduino, and Microbit. Our students regularly participate in, and host, many local and international projects, conferences and hackathons, thus having the opportunity to realize their potentials and dreams.
The projects realized by our students at ideaLab contribute greatly to their university life. While they continue their education at selected universities such as MIT, CMU, PRINCETON, STANFORD, and UPEN, they benefit from their portfolio and experiences acquired in CS at Hisar School. Our graduates maintain their connections with ideaLab and support many students and projects as mentors.
Living, Changing and Transforming Learning Environments
Students studying in these areas enjoy invaluable learning achievements, take responsibility for their own learning, and realize that learning is a process including the steps of Make, Fail, Learn and Repeat.
Our students' passion and motivation for learning is what pushes ideaLab to develop and grow every year in line with existing needs every year. ideaLab continues to develop as a living learning area by diversifying to cover the A-B-C block areas ideaLab Multimedia, ideaLab Fabrication, and ideaLab.
This is a study area created for all students who want to work on programming, robotics, graphic design, multimedia, electronics, 3D design, entrepreneurship and innovation, application development, and prototyping.
ideaLab, which is used for all CS courses and projects covering different disciplines, houses materials that support national and international competitions and activities, as well as STE(A)M materials students use to realize their individual and group projects. It is used as a working and living space for Computer Science teachers and students alike, allowing for continuous learning. This area is designed in a way to be always accessible to students.
IdeaLab Fabrication - Fab Lab
A CNC Device and 75W Laser Cutter are used to help our students implement their designs and prototypes developed in their Graphic Design & Multimedia, 3D Design, Robotics & Programming studies. Our students are able to use these devices to cut their designs on wood, metal or plexi plates and to engrave them on metal.
With these devices, IdeaLab in our school has physically reached the Fablab status. Located in the garden outside the school building, this area is used under the mentoring of our computer teachers. So, our students undertake 1:1 prototyping, product designs, and digital-interactive and creative projects in mechanics, engineering and design.
This is a study space designed for all students who want to work on graphic design and multimedia, robotics (FLL, lego), electronics, 3D design, green screen projects, entrepreneurship and innovation, application development, and prototyping.
In addition to the materials supporting all design courses in Computer Science and projects covering different disciplines, this area is used by students to prepare for local and international competitions, to create university admission portfolios, and to realize individual and group projects. It also hosts teacher trainings on educational technologies. It is used as a working and living space for Computer Science teachers and students alike, allowing for continuous learning, and is always accessible to students.
As a result of the expansion of the Innovation and Robotics Club, which has been active for a long time at Hisar School, and from the need for a fixed venue in long-term projects, the Mechatronics-Robotics Workshop is reshaped and reorganized every year to address existing needs and, more importantly, usage habits of those students who use the workshop.
The workshop started out with production materials that hardly covered a small table, and then was restructured for FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) in 2014. It is now available to support more comprehensive production processes with sponsorships and donations received thanks to dedicated teams’ studies on entrepreneurship and business management.
Boasting a technical infrastructure enabling more than 25 students to work concurrently, the workshop is now used not only as a study room but also as a social space.
The workshop was combined with the Experimental Preparation Laboratory in which not only robotic studies but also many scientific experimental studies can be carried out. Today, it can host numerous practices required for a physics-based approach to robotics and mechatronics education. With the guidance of the teachers, the workshop has gained an organic structure where products can emerge from, and be filtered according to, observations, experiments and validation.
EUREKA Research Lab
In addition to Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Science & Technology Laboratories in our schools, it is a flexible learning environment designed according to the needs of our students who want to conduct advanced scientific research, experiments and projects. It aims to prepare our students fully equipped for national or international competitions, conferences and tournaments by supporting their lasting learning, analytical thinking and interpretation skills. Our students follow the scientific process steps in this laboratory throughout the year and complete the scientific research paper with the data they obtain.
EUREKA Research Lab is also the laboratory where sets of high level courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) Physics, Biology and Chemistry are prepared and sometimes applied with in a small group of students. Our experimental sets and devices enable the establishment of official laboratories required by the IBDP or AP curriculum. Our Lab have been transformed into a modern structure at the beginning of 2019-20 academic year by support of Tekfen Foundation. EUREKA Research Lab is now ready to use for our high school and middle school students whom we believe will design our future.