HI FusionED: Design Thinking-based PD

Design Thinking is a 5-step process to develop innovative solutions for complex challenges. Born from a need to improve business products and services, Design Thinking integrates end-users into a participatory design process, transforming passive users into collaborative designers. Most recently, growing interest has accelerated initiatives that transfer Design Thinking protocols to address education reform.

Since 2011, HI FusionED has adopted Design Thinking (DT) principles in professional development activities and program implementation. Using basic DT tenents, HI FusionED has facilitated DT-based workshops to help students and teachers create and transform learning environments, foster school-community partnerships and cultivate culturally responsive leadership.

HI FusionED facilitators are all Hawaii-based education specialists with backgrounds in public and private school administration, STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, mathematics) instruction and/or curriculum development.

Past work has included DT-based workshops at the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference, Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) Conference, Teach for America (Hawaii), Nanakuli-Waianae Complex public schools, Honolulu district public schools and Waiahole Elementary School.

For more information, please contact HI FusionED at info(at)hifusioned.org.

Teaming Up with Hawaiian Electric: PowerScope

Hawaiian Electric’s Smart Power for Schools program launched a new project to help public schools save energy and educate students about managing the electric grid of the future. Partnering with technology companies, Hawaiian Electric presents PowerScope – a project that utilizes advanced technology tools to help students learn about electricity, solar power, energy conservation and mathematics.

Energy monitors and a Web-enabled portal presents historical, real-time and predictive electricity use through visual representations. The smart tech has already been installed in 250 public schools throughout the State. Installation will be scheduled for all public schools on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island and Maui County.

Hawaiian Electric has also designed activity sheets to support real-world application and learning experiences for students. These activities can be modified and/or scaled to enhance existing unit plans.

As an education consultant, HI FusionED was asked to help Hawaiian Electric connect with schools on O‘ahu for the pilot launch. We are excited about PowerScope’s potential as a learning tool and will be conducting presentations for all complex areas on O‘ahu in the Spring of 2017. Rollout to the Neighbor Islands is currently being planned.

Hawai‘i Robofest Kicks Off Its 10th Season!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Robofest in Hawai‘i! As the proud official site host, HI FusionED expresses our appreciation for all the countless hours of dedication and effort from students, coaches, volunteers, parents and community supporters that made the past decade so memorable.

Special thanks to this year’s sponsors: High Technology Development Corp, Friends of Hawai‘i RoboticsTime Warner Cable and the Hawai‘i Academy of Science.https://hawaiirobofest.wordpress.com/

For more information about the Hawai‘i Robofest program, please visit their website at https://hawaiirobofest.wordpress.com/ or email info@hifusioned.org.

HI FusionED Hosts 9th Annual Hawaii Robofest

The 9th annual Hawaii Robofest Regional Qualifying Competition was held on Saturday, April 11th, at Pearl City High School. The Hawaii Regional is part of an international network of Robofest sites hosting scholastic robotic events in eight different countries and in eleven states across the nation. For the past several years, Hawaii has represented the largest regional event among all Robofest sites. This year, there were 56 teams from 17 different elementary and middle schools registered.

Kudos to all our sponsors, community partners, volunteers, parents and schools who were responsible for giving these students an opportunity to make learning fun!

Coach Comments:

“Hawaii Robofest gives students inspiration to work on STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, mathematics) projects…With the criteria set forth in Robofest, the students must learn teamwork, communication, perseverance and dedication to meet an end goal…It is an invaluable experience.”

“It’s a valuable enrichment to all schools if it was offered as a course or taught in the curriculum in addressing the (Next Generation Science Standards) for science and technology in schools.”

“Robofest is definitely an asset at our school as it allows students (the) enrichment (that) may not be so prevalent in the classroom…In the four years we have participated in Robofest, the students have developed life-long learning skills…such as teamwork, problem solving, communication and critical thinking. Thank you…for all you do in bringing Robofest to our schools!”

For more Robofest information, please visit the national website at or the Hawaii Robofest website.

Science, Engineering & ROVs: The Kawa Stream Project


To become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow, students today need to be exposed to the world of STEM to make connections between the basic science and math concepts and real-world applications to STEM careers.

The purpose of The Kawa Stream Project is to stimulate interest and develop student capacity for science- and engineering-based college and career pathways by understanding the relationships between 21st century content and contextualized investigative place-based learning.

Funded by a federal grant under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Kawa Stream Project introduces students to a real-world situation and the opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment.

Kawa Stream, part of the Kaneohe watershed or ahupuaa, has been compromised over the years due to negative impacts from both human and natural forces.

Through research and field studies, 7th and 8th grade students from MidPacific Institute and Washington Middle School will learn about the historical and cultural significance of the area and investigate sources and solutions for remediation of the stream. Students will present their findings at the NOAA Imi Wai Ola Conference in May.

A special thanks to our project partners, without whom this project would not have been possible:

  • The Pacific American Foundation & Waikalua Loko Fishpond
  • The Western Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center (NOAA)
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Engineering
  • 3D Innovations/3D Academy
  • Administration and Faculty at MidPacific Institute and Washington Middle School

KITV News Clip (Tuesday, April 5th, 2016): http://www.kitv.com/story/31650362/mid-pacific-students-use-high-tech-rovs-to-study-fishpond

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.

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