Early Learning: The Tinker & Do Academy

(Honolulu) Is your child curious? Is your child constantly asking you how things work? If so, The Tinker & Do Academy could be the educational gateway to a lifetime of invention and innovation for your child.

The Tinker & Do Academy provides high quality learning experiences for young learners. Keiki Engineering is a series of units that present basic engineering and coding concepts through games and playing with engaging, age-appropriate tech tools to increase technology literacy.

In the summer of 2015, the Academy launched its Keiki Engineering pilot program at Pali Preschool for 4- and 5-year-old students. Keiki Engineering is currently offered as an after school program at five Honolulu preschools. In addition, Keiki Engineering training is now being offered to elementary school teachers to support curricular objectives at any grade level. Currently, two Oahu elementary schools offer intracurricular Keiki Engineering activities.

HI FusionED technology specialist, Erin Horner, MSEE, developed the Keiki Engineering lessons. Erin, an electrical engineer, is currently employed at Oceanit, one of Hawaii’s largest private employers of engineers and scientists. Erin’s interest in early learning was inspired by her son, Raiden, who provided valuable feedback to help shape the program.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Keiki Engineering program, please contact us by calling (808) 988-1931 or posting a comment to this blog post. Mahalo!

Keiki Engineering: Coding for Preschoolers

(Honolulu 2015) Question: What do jelly sandwiches and milk and cookies have to do with coding?

The Tinker & Do Academy’s Keiki Engineering program launched its second unit, “Cool Coding!” at Pali Preschool this Fall. Using games and programmable robots, our 4-5 year old students were introduced to basic coding concepts and ideas through guided play.

Highly engaging activities included programming BeeBots, mapping paths for OzoBot and even an introduction to developing “truth tables”!

Special thanks to Pali Preschool Director, Nancy Moore, for giving us the opportunity to launch Keiki Engineering lessons there.DESIGNING CODE FOR OZOBOTWRITING “CODE” FOR BEEBOTCURIOUS ONLOOKERS


November: EcoVentures Hawai‘i

(Honolulu 2015) In collaboration with EarthWorks and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, HI FusionED presented transformative field experiences for 21st Century Community Learning Center educators this Fall. EcoVentures Hawai‘i is a program designed to inspire personal and professional growth in sustainability and ecological awareness by visiting sites and meeting local practitioners. Through field observations and activities, participants learn from zero footprint leaders in Hawai‘i who are designing and implementing innovative place-based strategies in sustainable systems and resource management.

In addition to the guided tours, Cindie Ogata, MEd (EarthWorks) provided linkages between the information presented and classroom implementation. During the bus ride to and from each destination (as well as interjecting her thoughts during site visits), Ms. Ogata presented key points to help educators align resources with classroom objectives for action planning. Ms. Ogata also provides on-going classroom support to help with implementation.

Special thanks to Kevin Vaccarello and Malia Smith from Sustain Hawai‘i (Palaka Moon Farm and ‘Ai Love Nalo Cafe) and Michael Leeand his staff (Kualoa Ranch Education Center) for sharing their time and their vision.

Michael Lee, Kualoa Ranch Education Center
Kevin Vaccarello, Palaka Moon Farm

The Outdoor Classroom: EcoVentures Hawai‘i

(2015 O‘ahu) “Probably the most fun (and huge learnings) I’ve had in any workshop!” (Post-activity survey quote)

In June, HI FusionEd launched EcoVentures Hawai‘i – a pilot “Ride & Learn” professional development (PD) program for educators. The pilot (funded, in part, by the Hawai‘i State Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center grant), HI FusionED and partner, Earthworks, used the abundant resources on the island of O‘ahu as an “outdoor classroom.” Over the course of two very full days and with on-board professional development training by Cindie Ogata, MEd, the group visited various locations around the island, meeting ecology experts and sustainability practitioners, ending with a focused Design Thinking action planning session.

Tours for corporate groups exploring “Green Economy” strategies are also in development. For more information, please contact us via email at ecoventureshawaii@gmail.com.


  • Keawawa Wetlands and Hawea Heiau staff
  • Kevin Vacarello and Malia Smith from Sustain Hawai‘i (‘Ai Love Nalo Cafe and Palaka Moon Farm)
  • Monique and Jenny from Naked Cow Dairy Farm
  • Fred Lau and Bradley “Kai” Fox from Mari’s Gardens
  • Chef Chris Okuhara and staff from Miso & Ale
  • Complex Area Superintendent, Ruth Silberstein
  • 21CCLC Project Director, Pamela Kohara
  • DT Practitioner and Consultant, Kapono Ciotti



2015 World Robofest in Michigan

This May, Hawai‘i Robofest committee members were invited by Robofest founder, Prof. CJ Chung, to visit the 2015 World Robofest in Southfield, Michigan.

Teams from all over the world competed in the event – South Korea, China, Egypt, Paris, South Africa, Canada and, of course, teams from all across the nation. The level of competition was high but the camaraderie was genuine. The investigative team from Hawai‘i was quite impressed by the well-run event, the beautiful Lawrence Technological University campus and LTU’s real-world, project-based curricula.

Congratz to the Mighty Mo’ Education Program!

A big “Congratulations!” to the USS Missouri’s Education Team on hosting their 20th on-board robotics challenge!

A little background: In 2009, HI FusionED partnered with the USS Missouri’s Education Team and Community Partner, Dwayne Abuel, to develop an on-board robotics program for students. Not only did program activities reinforce 21st century skills development, it focused on the history of “the Mighty Mo’” through a challenge-based robotics mission, originally designed by Mr. Abuel. USSM educators, Dan Parsons and Neil Yamamoto, have taken the original program framework and have developed it into a rigorous, enriching and engaging learning experience for students.

“This program was a perfect learning activity for our students. We loved the way that the entire activity incorporated math, writing, technology and, especially, team-building skills.” – Hau‘ula Elementary School educator

HI FusionED wishes the USSM on-board robotics program continued success!

8th Annual Hawaii Robofest Regional – RESULTS

The 8th annual Hawai‘i Robofest Regional event was held this year at Leeward Community College on Saturday, April 11th, 2015. There were 179 participating students (grades 4-8) at the event from 16 different schools vying for gaming and project awards…not to mention the over 100 students who participated in intraschool competitions this Spring.

Special thanks to our Sponsors and Community partners for their generous support (see below). In addition, over 100 community volunteers pitched in to help make the event a resounding success!

Last, but not least, KUDOS to all the coaches, parents, teachers and school administrators for their support and to all the hard working students who demonstrated their innovative minds and technical skills. Well done!


Open Category: BOTTLE SUMOBOT (Single Elimination Matches)

  • 1st Place: Kalihi-Kai Elementary, Team 1825-3 Sumo Tubbiez
  • 1st Runner Up: Ka Waihona PCS, Team 1994-3 Ka Waihona Robotics – Na ‘Elele

Main Category: ROBOBOWL

  • 1st Place: Kanoelani Elementary, Team 1468-1 Robo Warriors
  • 2nd Place: Kapolei Middle, Team 1945-1 KMS Tech Hui
  • 3rd Place: Kanoelani Elementary, Team 1468-2 RoboGeniuses
  • Judges’ Choice Award: Mililani Ike Elementary, Team 2236-1 Pueo Technotics for their perseverance, adaptation and accuracy

Main Category: EXHIBITION

  • 1st Place: Kaleiopu‘u Elementary, Team 1951-1 KES Warriors Blue
  • 2nd Place: Leihoku Elementary, Team 2282-1 Leihoku Na Pueo
  • 3rd Place: Kalihi-Kai Elementary, Team 1825-2 Bionic Bros
  • Judges’ Choice Award: Waikele Elementary, Team 2166-2 Bionic Bacteria Bot for their teamwork, clear presentation, research, connection to the Hawai‘i theme, and good use of media
  • Judges’ Choice Award: Kanoelani Elementary, Team 1468-5 Circuit Breakers for their innovative idea and creative design

MAHALO! to Lawrence Technological University and all our 2015 Sponsors and Community Partners:

For more information, please contact us at info[at]hifusioned.org or call 808.988.1931. Visit our local Hawaii Robofest website or the national Robofest websitefor more information.

HIFED DT Team at People of Color Conference

The People of Color Conference is the flagship of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). This conference was designed to support leadership, professional development and networking for all diversity advocates and allies and to support equity and justice in all independent schools.

The HI FusionED (HIFED) Design Thinking team was invited to the conference to present how Design Thinking can be a powerful tool that engages diverse groups in designing innovative solutions for complex challenges. The workshop provided tools that combined empathy and creativity in developing user-centric solutions to address school and classroom challenges. It focused on the theory behind a culturally responsive framework and included concrete take-homes for participants to begin innovation work at their schools.

The Conference was held in Indianapolis, IN, with participants from all across the nation – even from Hawaii! Most were Directors of Diversity (Equity and Justice); some were school administrators and yet others were classroom educators. All came with an open mind and willingness to work with us during this 8-hour session. Everyone was highly engaged throughout this active, collaborative workshop and most left with enthusiasm and great anticipation of implementing Design Thinking principles. The HIFED team will be following up with those who expressed a desire to carry on culturally-responsive Design Thinking protocols at their schools.

It was an incredible opportunity and learning experience for HIFED. Thanks to conference coordinators for the invitation and to the hard-working attendees. Hope to be there again next year!

Golden Hawks Rock DT Training!

Student leaders at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School took the reins and led their fellow officers in an immersive Design Thinking (DT) training session. The day was filled with happy discussions, music and dance all with the purpose of improving their learning environment through innovative strategies. It was a delightful experience for all the adults, watching how excited and productive students can be when engaged in relevant application.

The training outcome went beyond all expectations and the team is currently planning a student-led teacher training session. The primary goal would be to help teachers use DT concepts to better engage students in innovative learning strategies.7TH GRADE STUDENT COUNCIL IN DEEP DISCUSSIONIDEATE! FUN WITH BRAINSTORMING SESSIONDT ARTIFACTSAWESOME!

Mahalo, Mililani High School!

A big “MAHALO!” to Mr. Todd Yoshizawa and five of his talented graphic design students from Mililani High School for submitting logo designs for our rebranding campaign. The new designs were presented to the HI FusionED Board and school liaison for consideration.

In 2004, Mililani High School was HI FusionED’s first student cohort. In partnership with the Women in Technology Project (administered by the Maui Economic Development Board), the project involved pairing female students with female mentors from industry and academia to encourage their interest and retention in STEM-related pathways.

It is with great sentiment and honor to be working once again with Mililani High School as we enter a new chapter as HI FusionED!

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