sprout aims to help people ask deep and wonderful questions about their everydday lives. We want to promote the practice of science as an everyday and cultural activity, and have decided to start at the beginning of the process: helping people ask the questions the world around them is full of. To this end, we’re working on making data visualizations that highlight pieces of the everyday in a way that makes question asking irresistible.

I have been working on this since Nov., 2008, with Alec Resnick and Shaunalynn Duffy, both of whom I feel really grateful to be working with. I think of it as my project to begin answering the deep questions I have: how do we make learning a way of life? How do we discover and work on what is most meaningful for us to do? Underneath every brilliant discovery is a question and a drive to solve that question: how do we light this fire world-wide?

camp kaleidoscope

Camp Kaleidoscope is a hands-on summer day camp for kids ages 6 – 12 that I founded in 2006 and ran through 2008. It’s philosophy is to give kids freedom and inspiration: giving kids the room to find what they love to do, and then take off with it! Projects ranged anywhere from making leaf-blower hovercrafts sturdy enough to transport a child across a basketball court to sewing stuffed animals with light up LED eyes.

The project led to several spin-off afterschool programs, the founding of the Kaleidoscope Homeschooling Center (with Natasha Hawke,) and the start of the Parts and Crafts Education Collective (with Will Macfarlane.) Ultimately, camp was my learning lab: a way for me to try out ideas of progressive education. Once I import my blog, I will link to my favorite posts from when I was writing actively about camp (note to self: these are the “hands-on education” article, maybe the scratch article, maybe the “why building stuff matters,” and maybe the “ideas at the fountain” article.)

There is, I believe, a natural segue from my work on camp to my work on sprout. Camp showed me the power of giving people the room to explore — children are ready, able, and wild learners. sprout hopes to bring the same creative energy to anyone — child or adult — and is something I started working on as I came to realize that the world of children is fully circumscribed by the attitudes of the adults in their lives.

do it yourself health

In the winter of 2009, from Jan. – March, I took on an extensive project to heal a severe medical problem I’d had since fall of 2005. It began as a mystery: it hurt to read or use the computer (to the point of being unable to do either for more than 30 min. at a time without extreme pain) and unravelled as I came to find, with the help of Esther Gokhale, that my posture kept my head far more forward than was healthy – the mysterious problem was nothing more than a constant strain on my neck that became intolerable when I habitually pulled my head forward as I read or used the computer.

Now able to read and use the computer again in a normal, daily way, I’ve become deeply aware of the need to take charge of our own health. DIYHealth is the beginings of a project to facilitate self-research, documentation, and collaboration around the investigation of our own bodies and health. At this time, I simply present the documentation I kept while undergoing my own research and recovery as a starting point for those interested in solving their own medical problems. Blogging, with an active list of questions and observations kept, was a powerful tool for me to make headway into the morass of theories surrounding the musculo system, and I highly recommend it as a starting point for self-inquiry into one’s own medical conditions or curiosities.

If you are interested in conducting your own medical research or documentation, please contact me! I hope this project can grow in the future.

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