Creating Physical D-HIVE Cells

I work in the Center For Teaching Excellence at The American School Foundation. The CTE is unique on a K-12 school campus in that we have a physical space as well as full-time staff dedicated to professional learning. My position in the CTE is that of a digital literacy coach. I am charged with finding and developing ways to help teachers integrate the most modern learning techniques and technology in their classes. Through the development of D-HIVE cells we maximize technological resources in order to the meet the needs of the greatest number of teachers, while meeting budgeting needs.

In thinking about providing equitable access to all students at my school I looked for a way to maximizing resource sharing among all students and found the idea of a mobile storage unit that I thought could be a great place to house the cells.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 3.33.36 PMI discovered this picture online and honestly can not find the source. If you made it or know who did I would love to give credit for the idea. When I shared the vision with Francisco Padilla at Art Center in Mexico City he graciously offered to build one for me to use as a prototype for the mobile D-Hive cells.  We are using the D-Hive (Design, Hacking, process to test this storage unit. Here’s what our first version looks like.IMG_2874.jpg


D-HIVE: A Philosophical and Physical Model for Interdisciplinary Learning


Which of these resonate with you as an educator?

  1. I design learning experiences that help students discover their passions
  2. I want my students to be creators and collaborators
  3. I notice the potential for teachable moments in most things around me
  4. I loved making, creating tinkering as a child and still do

Thinking back on my childhood, my most memorable moments were in the kitchen with my mom or in the garage or outside with my dad. We were always making and doing things. I clearly remember making “potions” in the crevices of large rocks in our front yard when I was no more than 3 or 4 years old and baking and decorating cakes by five years old. My dad has about every tool one can imagine and my mom is not afraid to tackle any craft or baking challenge. We were encouraged to create, tinker, imagine and dream. You could often hearing one of my parents saying, “old man can’t is dead,” meaning that we were not to give up easily.

I truly love learning and take advantage of every opportunity to do so, even being accused of being “addicted to learning.” This blog is meant to be a celebration of learning and failing (first attempt at learning). So here is how D-HIVE came about.

The maker culture continues to grow and be reborn throughout the world. As a digital literacy coach charged with supporting teachers with the transformational use of technology in classrooms I frequently struggle with how to bring maker culture and maker spaces to my school. During a brainstorming activity last spring Chris Muller and myself were challenged by Memo Leal to think bigger than a “maker space.” Memo said something to the effect of maker spaces not being that innovative of an idea anymore and that we needed something that made our maker space different. All afternoon I could not stop thinking about his challenge to come up with a different, better, more interesting idea.

Later that afternoon the idea of a bee hive came to me. I was struggling with the limitations of lack of an open classroom space for locating a maker space, as well as limited funds for the technology needed to fill the “maker space.” I keep thinking of the hive idea and remembered speaking to a bee-keeper who told me that often he would take his hives to farmers’ lands. His bees went where they were needed.

That’s when the idea of a mobile maker space came to me, much like a bee hive being taken where needed, when needed I wanted something mobile so that students were not just confined to one place on campus for creating. We would create something that teachers and students could use to turn our entire campus into a true learning lab. I  had also been reading about the D-School at Stanford at the time and I knew that I wanted to find a way to incorporate design thinking with maker spaces.

Through a series of WhatsApp chats I began to share my idea with Chris and he got excited about it as well. Ideas were flowing and the D-HIVE was born.

So what exactly is a D-HIVE? It is a philosophical framework for learning, based on making, doing and creating. At the same time it is a model for a physical, mobile learning pods (mobile maker spaces).  Bee hives are made of cells that work together for a common purpose.  In a similar fashion D-HIVE cells are meant to allow teachers to extend constructivist methods present in physical maker spaces to entire school campuses, utilizing all resources for authentic learning experiences. Cells can be related to art, research, video and sound creation, or any number of themes. The acronym D-HIVE stands for the following:

D- Design 

H- Hack

I- Ideate

V- Visualize

E- Experience

Through this blog I will delve deeply into the D-HIVE philosophies as well as physical models while sharing the processes used at my school to bring the D-HIVE idea to life.

Thanks for taking a look!