Mason Uses Crowd-Sourced Innovation

Mason Uses Crowd-Sourced Innovation to Champion Students' Vision
Posted on 04/01/2019

Mason Uses Crowd-Based Innovation to Champion Students' VisionMason City Schools is leveraging the ideas of the greatest innovators in education - students. This year, the district joined the national Innovate K12 cohort to strategically increase student voice in the everyday environment of Mason High School. Innovate K12 is a national cohort of schools who use crowd sourcing to grow innovative solutions for school challenges. Mason City Schools is the first district within the cohort to create a student platform for crowd-based solutions.

"Because student voice was at the core of this project, MHS Associate Principal Shanna Bumiller formed a team of student leaders from a whole host of school activities and experiential courses. They were really the ones in charge of branding, marketing, and launching our event. Notably, they worked with Innovatiive Programs Administrator Christine McCormick to launch combined the InnovateK12 platform with a student brainstorming site that was completely built by our MHS Hack Club in a matter of three days," explains Innovative Learning Coach Aaron Roberts.

The student-led Ignite Your Vision leaders were seniors Nihal Ahmed, Megan Cui, Luke Hutchinson, Taylor Kiss, Will Mechler, Savannah Quach, Kirsten Riley, Mark Senne, Jake Snyder, Luke Volpenhiem, and Xander Wells, and junior Maddie Lin.

In November, MHS students submitted their ideas connected to three themes: "Your Learning Environment and Experience," "Brain Health for You and Your Friends," and "Positive Community Culture and Inclusiveness." The following month, students and staff voted on the ideas. Top vote-getters went through a panel review to determine feasibility and viability. The Idea Champions were then crowned and their funding level to make their idea a reality was approved.

The MHS Idea Champions crowned two $1500 winners (junior Emily Holcomb - MHS Coffee Shop, junior Judi Hu - Relaxation Room), five $500 winners (senior Mary Durfee - Feminine Hygiene Initiative, sophomore Evan Hill - Heated Food, sophomore Kayla Jackey - Calm Down Before You Break Down, junior Henry Robbins - Spreading News Around the School, junior Emily Yu - The Zen Den), and six $100 winners (junior Nicholas Flood - Big Green Should Go Green, freshman Kyndall Kilgore - Hobby Classes, senior Andrea Lawley - Innovate Computer Labs to be a Fun Stress Reliever, sophomore Isaak Nijakowski - Vivid Hallways, freshman Mowath Odeh - Indoor Soccer, and senior Hannah Parsons - The Best Parking Plan this Side of the Mississippi).

These students are now working through a design thinking process called ‘The Vision to Action Workshop’ to refine their ideas while challenged to work inside their proposed budgets.  The Mason Schools Foundation has agreed to review grant applications for groups who determine they may need additional funding.   “It's been a rich, engaging, and empowering program this year. We've gotten lots of great feedback from students who are looking forward to seeing many of these ideas in action,” says Roberts.

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