SafeVoice smartphone app lets NV students report safety issues anonymously

School officials across Nevada are launching a new smartphone app that allows students to anonymously report a variety of safety concerns to the proper authorities.

Students in Carson City and elsewhere were greeted with posters for “SafeVoice,” an app designed by the Nevada Department of Education that’s designed to give students an anonymous way to report threats of violence, self-harm, drug use, bullying or other problems, KRNV reports.

The notifications are then forwarded to the Department of Public Safety, which evaluates whether police involvement is necessary and alerts school officials.

SafeVoice debuted in January and is currently in about half of the state’s schools. Over the summer state officials received about 2,700 tips, with use expected to increase as students head back to class.

“Every tip is important. Every tip is evaluated by the Department of Public Safety and pushed through to the school,” Nevada DOE Safevoice coordinator Sarah Adler told the news site. “While it may seem frivolous to us, it may add a piece of information at the school level that connects with other pieces of information, and now we start to put a picture together about vulnerable kids.”

SafeVoice is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, and students can report issues they’re struggling with both on and off school grounds.

Richard Stokes, superintendent of Carson City schools, told KRNV he hopes the app empowers students to take action to improve their school communities.

“We want students to speak up for their friends and themselves to stop bullying, support students in crisis, and above all, prevent school violence,” he said. “When it’s not possible to come to school leaders directly, we want students and parents to use SafeVoice.”

KRNV notes that Nevada law requires all school to eventually implement the program, which affirms officials are focusing on what most parents consider a top priority: safety.

James Davison Hunter, founder of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, explained why a unified message centered on issues of character are typically the most effective when he wrote about such matters in “The Tragedy of Moral Education in America”:

Moral education can work where the community, and schools and other institutions within it, share a moral culture that is integrated and mutually reinforcing; where the social networks of adult authority are strong, unified, and consistent in articulating moral ideas and their attending virtues; and where adults maintain a ‘caring watchfulness’ over all aspects of a young person’s maturation.

The Nevada DOE website offers more information for parents, students, schools, law enforcement, community members and others working to improve student wellness and prevent violence and other negative influences on learning.

The site also provides links to helpful resources including internet safety pledges, the “Bully Free Zone,” and other information on physical needs, safety, belonging and self-esteem from the state’s Office of Safe and Respectful Learning.

Educators discuss how technology is changing the ways students cheat in school

Smartphones are making it easier for students to cheat in school, and several Ohio students and school officials recently discussed how it’s playing out and what educators can do about it.

With text and photo messages, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and dozens of other apps, students now have a plethora of options to share answers to a Spanish assignment or history homework, and it’s a problem some administrators are struggling to contain.

“Local school officials and a wide range of opinions on high-tech cheating. Superintendents in Franklin and Newton schools said it’s not a big concern in their buildings,” the Dayton Daily News reports. “Carroll High School principal Matt Sableski called it ‘a huge issue,’ and Centerville teachers’ union President Brian Cayot said teachers know it happens, ‘probably more than we want to admit.’”

Cayot, and Fairmont High School student body president Emma Kane explained there’s typically two kinds of students who participate in cheating: those struggling to learn the material and high-achievers overwhelmed with extracurricular activities, jobs, and pressure to get into a quality college.

“If you’re super, super busy and a teacher assigns a ton of homework that night, you’re in an ‘uh-oh’ moment,” Kane said. “You can either stay up all night, or get it from someone else. A lot of times some kids push more toward getting it from someone else.”

“I would argue that it’s more pervasive in the honors-level classes,” Coyot added. “They are under a different set of pressures. But it comes down to building character and instilling in them the importance of ethics and doing your own work.”

Other students are embarrassed to ask for help.

“I think the main reason people do that is because they’re afraid to ask for help in the middle of class, or ask the teacher for extra tutoring,” Thurgood Marshall High School student Ayyoub Muhammed told the news site. “They’re scared of looking like they’re dumb.”

School officials told the News educators can combat the problem by randomly switching the order of questions on worksheets, and using assignments that probe students for deeper answers, rather than multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. Teachers can also leverage technology to their advantage, through sites that scan student papers for plagiarism.

“As a student, if it’s not at all specific to me or doesn’t have me engaged in the work, I’m going to take (my friend’s) work and be done with it … who’s the smart one there? The student,” Trotwood interim superintendent Tyrone Olverton said. “It goes back to the whole notion of engagement and enjoyment of learning. We need to look at a lot more individualized learning.”

Researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture examined cheating as part of a broader look at character education in a variety of American high schools.

In rural schools, education researcher Richard Fournier noted much of the issue centered on an incohesive message about why cheating is a bad thing.

“While teachers might be fully able to articulate the moral ideals behind their disciplinary decisions, their explanations typically varied, which presumably sent mixed moral messages to students,” Fournier wrote in “The Content of Their Character,” an Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture publication. “Similarly, although teachers, students and parents offered similar examples of bad student behavior – cheating, bullying, selfishness, etc. – they either were unsure or gave different answers when pressed for insight into why these things were bad or how students should be disciplined.”

The Jubilee Center for Character and Virtues offers character education lessons that focus on using technology more wisely. The lessons prompt students to think more about their relationship with the technologies they use, and to consider the benefits and drawbacks they pose for themselves and others.



WI district wants to fine students for cell phones at school

Officials at Kewaskum High School in Wisconsin’s Washington County wanted a new three strike policy for students who violate the school’s cell phone policy, including fines for a third-offense, but village officials shot down the plan.

Vice Principal Mark Bingham told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cell phones have become the district’s top discipline problem, and officials requested a village ordinance to ticket and fine students for using the devices in class.

“We want to try to eliminate those distractions and truly utilize that classroom time for learning,” Bingham said. “Obviously … our hope is that we don’t get to that situation where we have to involve law enforcement.”

The Journal Sentinel highlighted a vast differences in school cell phone policies across the state, from schools that ban them outright, to others that allow use in classrooms for educational projects. Some schools also allow students to keep their phones on them during the school day, but only allow them to use the devices during lunch and breaks.

Liz Kolb, a University of Michigan professor who studies technology in the classroom, said schools have generally shifted to more lenient policies as smartphones have become more popular.

A 2015 Pew Research Center report claims about 88 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have access to a cell phone or smartphone, and nearly a quarter of them are online “almost constantly,” the Journal Sentinel reports.

“Plenty of studies show that it can be very distracting and can reduce the cognitive capacity in the classroom – students can be distracted just knowing they may be getting a text,” Kolb said.

On the other hand, “there is a lot of potential for cellphones to … extend learning to students’ real lives, especially for high-needs, low-income students for whom the family cellphone may be the only device they have to navigate the outside world and digital resources.”

The Kewaskum Village Board discussed the school district’s proposal, which “crashed and burned badly,” village board president Kevin Scheunemann told WISN. School officials did not attend the meeting to discuss the proposal, not a single person spoke in favor of it, and the board ultimately voted 7-0 to kill the idea.

The proposed ordinance would have confiscated phones from students the first time a student was caught with it at school, and a second offence would require a parent to collect the device. A third offense would have come with a $124 ticket, police chief Tom Bishop told WISN.

“If the school district wants to do something like this in the future, they have to at least be here to defend the proposal,” Scheunemann said after the vote. “I think that’s what really hurt them here tonight.”

While the proposed Kewaskum ordinance wasn’t successful, several “pedagogical” schools have improved learning by dialing down the technology to help students focus on what really matters.

Researchers with the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture noted the impact of low- or no-tech policies in “The Content of Their Character,” a summary of character education in a variety of schools.

The Waldorf, Montessori, Friends, Democratic, and International Baccalaureate high schools studied, among the most sought after in the U.S., “had some limits on the use of technology in the classroom – for example, minimal projector use, no Smart Boards, and no cell phones in the school,” education researcher David Sikkink wrote.

The “pedagogical” schools, Sikkink said, were defined by a commitment to particular modes of learning that limited technology based on the principles of the pedagogy.

Teachers in other schools, including ninth-grade government teacher Ken Halla, have successfully integrated mobile devices into classroom lessons. Halla explained on the NEA union blog why he thinks smartphones can be an education booster with the right kind of supervision.


Schools are monitoring student social media to address problems earlier

Lakeview School District Superintendent Blake Prewitt wakes up each day and scrolls through a dozen or more alerts from Firestorm, the Georgia-based service the district uses to scan through student social media pages across several networks.

Firestorm flags public posts that contain certain keywords and images of violence, or those that mention the district’s schools or community, giving Prewitt a jumpstart on addressing issues before they snowball into something bigger, Wired reports.

The program has helped in an abduction investigation, allowed officials to reach out to families with questions about the dress code, and Prewitt considers the alerts an important tool to keep the district’s 4,000 students and 500 staff safe.

“If someone posts something threatening to someone else, we can contact the families and work with the students before it gets to the point of a fight happening at school,” he told the technology site.

Firestorm is among a host of companies offering to help schools monitor student social media posts in the wake of high-profile school shootings in recent years, most notably the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February that left 17 dead.

In the Florida shooting, the alleged perpetrator vented his frustrations on social media before the attack – something Firestorm and its competitor, Vermont-based Social Sentinel, are designed to catch.

Gary Margolis, CEO of Social Sentinel, said business is “definitely booming,” and it’s helping administrators track down guns in schools and other threats.

Others, meanwhile, are raising concerns that adults monitoring teens’ social media conversations can easily take things out of context and create more work for themselves than it’s worth.

“Even if you have people directly looking at posts they won’t know what they’re looking at,” said Amanda Lenhart, researcher with the New America Foundation who focuses on teen internet use. “That could be exacerbated by an algorithm that can’t possibly understand the context of what it is seeing.”

Columbia University professor Desman Patton is working with social workers in Chicago to monitor social media in an effort to reduce gang violence. He believes schools may benefit from tracking students’ posts, but warned that interpreting language used by black youth could pose problems and draw increased scrutiny from school officials, Wired reports.

“I think there’s an opportunity for schools to use this as a way to support people but I would do so with extreme caution,” Patton said.

While some focus on effective ways to monitor students on social media, others are examining the underlying reasons why teens – and many adults – are seemingly addicted to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

Chad Welmon and Julia Ticona wrote in The Hedgehog Review, a publication of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture:

Believing that we as individuals are solely responsible for our technology-suffused lives, we risk overlooking the ways in which our individual incapacity to say no to Facebook is a cultural incapacity, one that Facebook is not only keen to exploit but also eager to preserve.

The fact sheet “Social Media and School Crises” from the National Association of School Psychologists analyzes the risks and benefits of social media for schools and students, and offers resources for educators to learn more about the issue.

“Robot apocalypse” could affect character education

A series of reports by Education Week is highlighting how automation and a possible “robot apocalypse” could impact the way schools educate students for the future, and how the outcome of many of the moral dilemmas that await the next generation will depend on how well schools instill good character.

The education site suggests that by the time today’s sixth graders are in the workforce, robots will have likely replaced many of the working and middle class jobs available today. Top economists and technology experts offer a wide range of predictions for the future, from a full-blown robot revolution to a slow integration of new technologies in a variety of sectors, and now schools are grappling with how to prepare students for the uncertain.

“What skills will today’s students need? Will the jobs available now still be around in 2030? Should every kid learn to code? What about apprenticeships, career-and-technical education, and ‘lifelong learning?’” Education Week questions. “Just as importantly, how can schools prepare children to participate in the political, civic, and moral debates stirred up by technology-driven changes?”

Futurists like Martin Ford, author of Rise of the Robots, predict many routine jobs could soon be gone, such as paralegals, radiologists, line cooks, truck drivers, tax preparers, office assistants and others.

Such “predictions tend to overgeneralize from a breakthrough at one level of engineering to quote another level of sophistication,” wrote Mike Rose in The Hedgehog Review, and tend to ignore history showing that new technologies often “draw on existing knowledge and skills, even as it might alter them.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Paul Osterman, who ran the state’s workforce training programs, told Education Week that people will likely adapt with technology. And while some jobs will be lost, people will create new opportunities and new occupations in ways similar to the country’s transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy a century ago.

Either way, most agree students will need new skills for an unpredictable future, and will likely need a foundation in math and science, as well as other, uniquely human abilities.

“To maintain their edge, workers would also need to focus on cultivating the human qualities that robots still lack, such as creativity, empathy and abstract thinking,” Education Week reports. “And because most jobs could constantly evolve, today’s students could eventually face a make-or-break question: Can you adapt?”

That question will guide the flourishing of students after they graduate, and the answer could rest with how well schools instill good character in the classroom.

“ … Consider how deeply robots, algorithms, and digital agents are being woven into important aspects of our lives, from loan applications to dating to criminal sentencing. Will tomorrow’s citizens be thoughtful and vigilant in deciding how much control they’re willing to give to technology? Will they be able to recognize and challenge automated decision-making systems that replicate existing racial, gender, and other biases?” Education Week questions. “For all the attention to technology, the answer may have more to do with our laws, policies, and values.”

Many believe it’s especially critical for educators to help students reflect on the wise use of technology as part of a broader character formation lesson. Such lessons require intention and planning beginning with resources about character, technology, and making decisions based on good sense.

TX schools partner with Sandy Hook Promise to launch anonymous bullying reporting app

Students in Houston, Texas schools will soon have new, anonymous ways to report bullying, an effort spawned by a state law focused on fighting bullying online.

Texas lawmakers approved David’s Law last summer to ensure the state’s public schools “have the authority to address cyberbullying that occurs off-campus,” according to David’s Legacy Foundation.

The law requires schools to notify a bullying victim’s parents of an incident within three days, as well as the parents of the aggressor. The law gives schools the authority to expel students who encourage others to commit suicide, incites violence or releases indecent images of another student, and promotes mental health education and use of counselors to resolve student conflicts and bullying.

David’s Law also requires schools to include anonymous ways for students to report problems with bullies.

The Houston Independent School District is complying with a new tip line, website and mobile app that will allow students to report incidents of bullying without the stigma of going to the school office or approaching adults or police.

“The main thing is you’re providing students voice,” HISD’s head of student support services, Anvi Utter, told Houston Public Media.

“You’re providing them a safe place where they can talk about things that are happening at school, that’s outside of school,” Utter said. “And students will know that they’re being heard and that there’s going to be a response to this.”

HISD’s anonymous reporting system is provided by the nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise, created in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Connecticut in 2012. Utter believes that while the new approach will ultimately reduce bullying in schools, she suspects it will initially create more reports by allowing students to voice their concerns from the shadows.

“I actually think there’s going to be an increase in our bullying reporting because this is anonymous,” she said.

The system also reflects a unified approach – from lawmakers to counselors in schools – for dealing with students who prey on their classmates.

James Davison Hunter, founder of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, notes in “The Tragedy of Moral Education in America”:

Moral education can work where the community, and schools and other institutions within it, share a moral culture that is integrated and mutually reinforcing; where the social networks of adult authority are strong, unified, and consistent in articulating moral ideals and their attending virtues; and where adults maintain a ‘caring watchfulness’ over all aspects of a young person’s maturation.

To date, nearly 3 million people have taken the Sandy Hook Promise – “I promise to do all I can to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier homes, schools and communities.”

The national nonprofit offers a variety of programs and resources for educators and parents, from suicide prevention, to safety assessments and other guides to help prevent violence in schools and to reduce and eliminate harm to young people.


Students ditch digital devices to focus on conservation, communication, and community

Seventh-graders in Reedsburg, Wisconsin are learning what it’s like to leave technology behind to shift focus to nature, community, communication and socialization.

Throughout the last school year, students from Webb Middle School, St. Peter’s Lutheran School and Sacred Heart School took part in youth conservation days hosted by the Sauk County Conservation, Planning and Zoning Department. The events were held at Devils Lake State Park, as well as River Valley and Sauk Prairie parks, as part of a broader effort involving other districts in the county, the Reedsburg Times-Press reports.

Students spent roughly 25-minutes at nine different stations, where they listened to seminars and played games pertaining to a wide range of conservation topics, from archery to local food chains.

“I know the kids really look forward to it every year so we are excited to be able to host it and put it together for them,” said Melisa Keenan, Sauk County conservationist.

“I hope they realized getting outside and away from electronic devices is a lot of fun and they can learn a lot just by being out in the natural environment,” she said. “I hope they learn a little bit from each session, something they can pass on.”

Reedsburg Future Farmers of America advisor and Agriculture teacher Todd Cherney said the intent of the youth days is to educate students about the outdoors and compel them to protect the environment for future generations.

“It’s hoping that everybody gathers some information and some awareness of our resources and what we have to do to protect them,” he said. “What they have today they sure want their kids and their grand kids to have the same opportunities.”

The appreciation for the natural world grows naturally out of the community conversation and socialization at the events, without the help of digital devices.

It’s part of what researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture describe as the “attitudes, behaviors, and strategies” that strongly influence character education.

In The Content of Their Character an analysis of character education work in a wide variety of schools, Institute founder James Davison Hunter wrote that those factors “underpin success in school and at work – capabilities such as self-motivation, perseverance, and self-control, but also empathy, truthfulness, and character more broadly.”

As most schools focus heavily on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Davison points out that it’s equally important to help students develop soft skills and higher virtues that often determine successful outcomes for people.

“STEM skills are vital to the world in which we live today,” Davison wrote, “but technology alone, as Steve Jobs famously insisted, is not enough.”

The Jubilee Center for Character and Virtues offers a variety of lessons and other materials for educators looking to help students develop soft skills.

One lesson on The Virtue of Truthfulness for example, prompts students to assess their own truthfulness, and to consider why this virtue is important.

“Truthful people grow in virtue much more quickly than for those who struggle to be truthful about who they really are,” according to the lesson. “It is also worth thinking through what human relationships would look like were they to be based on us representing ourselves in a false light: hypocrisy, deceit, lying and the breaking of promises would dissolve social bonds.”

IT director highlights importance developing of digital citizenship in students

Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools technology director Mike Ribble wants students to “become their best selves online” through an intentional focus on digital citizenship in schools that teaches them “to be appropriate and use technology responsibly.”

Ribble, director of technology for Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools, recently outlined for EdTech, “The Top 3 Elements of Student Digital Citizenship” that he believes students and schools can use to harness the benefits of technology and avoid potential pitfalls.

Ribble boils it down to “three simple maxims: Be safe, be savvy and be social.”

Being safe centers on educating students about the power of digital tools, how to identify threats like strangers trying to steal personal information, and the importance of alerting adults when issues arise. Schools can also highlight data privacy settings on social media, software and apps, while protecting students with a network management system and other measures that ensure a secure network.

Being savvy deals with developing deeper understanding of digital communication, including the nuances of the wide variety of digital education tools, such as Google’s G Suite for Education, cloud storage and other options, and how best to utilize the technology. Ribble wrote it’s also important to help students understand “what is true versus what may not be accurate” information online, as well as the details of making secure purchases online.

Being social involves embracing new technologies like telepresence solutions to include challenged students, “from those learning a second language to those with physical or behavioral disabilities,” according to Ribble.

“Treating others with respect and empathy are key elements of digital citizenship,” Ribble wrote. “Remember, the internet never forgets. It’s our job to teach today’s students how to manage their digital footprint. It is our responsibility to help all technology users become the best digital citizens they can be.”

Research from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia shows many parents are struggling to control technology use at home, and they’re worried about the negative influence it’s having on their kids.

“Many parents feel their attempts to control the home environment and to keep external influences at bay are nearly futile in the face of new communication and entertainment technologies,” according to the Institute’s “Culture of American Families” report.

“These technologies introduce a host of unknown and often unwelcomed influences into the private space of the home. The overriding concern is the negative influence that parents are unable to keep out,” the report continues. “Many feel helpless in the face of these technologies and uncertain about how, or if, to limit them.”

Fortunately, the UK’s The Jubilee Centre and other groups offer lessons to help parents, teachers and principals on how  to guide students to develop appropriate and healthy relationships with technology.

The Jubilee Centre lesson “Using Technology More Wisely” for example, encourages students to reflect on whether social media and mobile technology are good or bad for them personally, for their relationships and society.

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Cultivating cyber-wisdom through character education

For some, the advancement of digital technologies and their rapid adoption has created a moral crisis for individuals as well as broader society. For others, they present an opportunity to tackle moral concerns on a global scale. The truth is probably somewhere in-between and that both these positions have merit.  A further truth is that researchers have struggled to keep pace with recent digital technological developments. Gaining a clear picture about the effects of the Internet, mobile phones and other digital technologies on humans and humanity has been challenging.  What is clear, both from research, but also the daily experiences of young people, parents, teachers and others is that these new technologies have poised some big moral questions.  Global moral concerns such as cyber-bullying, online plagiarism, piracy, fake news and many others have become a reality for most of us since the start of the millennium.  These concerns are prominent in the media yet often contested on conceptual or empirical grounds in academia.  Yet, the evidence shows that moral concerns, such as those listed above, are on the rise globally.  There are also those who seek to counter the negative picture; they say digital technologies can be the driver of informed, collaborative, active and positive citizenship activities.

If children and young people are to become cyber-citizens then we require educational policies that encourage them to be critically reflective on their use of digital technologies.  One approach is to seek, through deliberate educational efforts, to cultivate Cyber-wisdom (what Aristotle might have called cyber-phronesis) in our children and young people. Cyber-wisdom can be defined as doing the right thing, at the right time especially when no one is watching (Harrison, 2016).   The substantial work carried out by the Jubilee Centre into how neo-Aristotelian character educational theory can be applied in practice provides some guidance on how cyber-wisdom can be ‘taught’ in schools (see

A new intervention, entitled Making Wiser Choices Online, was recently developed and trialed by over 500 11-14 year olds in England.  The intervention was incorporated into the Computer Science programme of study and built on similar studies that demonstrate the possibilities of teaching character through and within curriculum subjects. The intervention, consisting of a taught course structured across four computer science lessons and required students to be both self-reflective about their own Internet use and its impact on others. At the heart of the programme was a focus on the moral dilemmas that students face in their daily lives; relating to concerns such as cyber-bullying, plagiarism and piracy amongst others. The approach aimed to improve students’ ethical decision-making in cyber-society as well as to help them engage in virtue reasoning, especially when the virtue conflicted.

Repeated exposure to dilemmas might be seen as a form of advanced habituation where students are gradually brought to more critical discernment through the practice of cyberphronesis. The advantage of this approach, and its focus on critical reflection, is that moral character education need not be indoctrinating as it is about ‘helping students grasp what is ethically important in situations and to act for the right reasons, such that they become more autonomous and reflective’ (Jubilee Centre, 2017: 2).  The results of the pilot found that those students who had experienced the programme developed their virtue perception and reasoning more than those who did not.  Virtue perception and virtue reasoning might be seen as just two parts of the complex cyber-wisdom jigsaw; but the research demonstrates how adopting a character education approach to address online moral concerns could be an important step towards us all flourishing online.



Harrison, T. (2016) ‘Cultivating Cyber-Phronesis: A New Educational Approach to Tackle Cyber-bullying’, Pastoral Care in Education, Vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 232-244.

Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues (2017) A Framework for Character Education in Schools. Birmingham: University of Birmingham, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, [Online], Available at:

Cade Museum aims to ‘spark wonder, invent possible’ with exhibits that blend science and art

A “26,000-square-foot intellectual oasis” opened in Gainesville, Florida in May after more than a decade of fundraising, and it aims to inspire visitors to “spark wonder, invent possible.”

About 100 visitors attended the grand opening of the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention last month, the culmination of a 13-year, $9.2 million fundraising effort by the Cade Museum Foundation.

A tribute to Gatorade inventor and University of Florida medical professor Robert Cade, the sprawling two-story facility hosts exhibits like a working 160-year-old Gutenberg printing press, regular talks from leading scientists and inventers, and interactive facilities like a “Fab Lab” and “Creativity Lab” to inspire visitors to design and create.

“Our tagline is ‘spark wonder, invent possible,’ and I think we want people to come in, be curious and to walk out having learned something new or been inspired by something,” Stephanie Bailes, the museum’s executive director, told WUFT.

The museum’s mission is to “transform communities by inspiring and equipping the future inventors, entrepreneurs, and visionaries” with what it takes to develop great ideas, particularly those that blend art with science.

“We believe that great ideas happen when disciplines intersect in novel and exciting ways,” according to the museum website. “Many famous inventors are also musicians and artists, and report that their inspiration often comes when engaged in the arts.”

Robert Cade – a scientist, poet, musician and “collector of violins and Studebakers” – “exemplified joyful creativity with a purpose,” as did other noted inventors like scientist and accomplished violinist Albert Einstein, according to the site.

“Why is creativity our passion? Studies show that it is a better predictor of success and happiness in life than the intelligence quotient,” the website reads. “The good news is that everyone has creative potential and that creativity can be taught.”

“Our whole goal here is to help people find an inventive mindset. So maybe they don’t need to become a scientist or a researcher, but now that they’ve been sparked by going through the Cade museum they can eventually leave with that mindset and feel like, ‘maybe I can create something, or maybe I can do this,’ just changing their perspective,” Elizabeth Gist, the museum’s inventor coordinator, told WUFT.

Research from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues identifies four distinct types of character: moral, civic, performance, and intellectual, and illustrates that teaching and modeling each is equally important to developing truly good people.

Hands-on learning experiences and creative spaces like the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention help to nurture and support youngsters as they develop intellectual virtues like curiosity, critical thinking, reasoning and reflection.

Combined with other “building blocks of character” – moral, civic and performance virtues – the creative experiences contribute to a “practical wisdom,” which the Jubilee Centre describes as “the integrative virtue, developed through experience and critical reflection, which enables us to perceive, know, desire and act with good sense.”

The Jubilee Centre offers a lesson for educators to help foster creativity in the classroom that breaks down the virtues of learning, explains how the brain works, and discusses the impact of mindsets in the process.

The exercise prompts students “to think about the relationship between curiosity and learning” and “to develop a very clear picture of how continuous, lifelong learning will benefit them.”

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