The innovative nature of the research and development work that goes on at CRDG and in the University Laboratory School (ULS) means that visitors are a common occurrence on campus, and 2008 was no exception.
In February, long-time collaborator Dr. Alexander Uvarov from the National Training Center and the Russian Ministry of Education in Moscow and two master teachers from Russia—Gregory Vodopian from School 550 in St. Petersburg and Pavel Yakushkin from Moscow—came to campus. Their visit was part of a study of school readiness for change. Their specific interests were STEM education and how school information systems operate—how students use the Internet for education, what sorts of authentic assessment are in use, how science curricula are organized, and the expectations for the next steps in the use of information technologies in the classroom.
Three new collaborations were initiated with visits from delegations from Southeast Asia interested in studying the Laboratory School and CRDG model. January brought a visit from Pissamai Sri–ampai and a delegation from Mahasarakham University in Thailand. Sri–ampai had visited ULS while she had been at East West Center in the 1990s. When she returned to Thailand she established an elementary school modeled after ULS, which has now expanded to K–12. The delegation was interested in better understanding how CRDG uses ULS in its R&D work and in forging a collaboration for curriculum research and development.
Dr. Hung Nguyen, president of Hong Bang University in Vietnam, visited in June to observe classes at the Laboratory School and to discuss a possible collaboration with CRDG in curriculum development and teacher training for a college preparatory school they plan to establish within the Hong Bang University system.
In October, Dr. Yusni Saby, president of the Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN Ar-Raniry); Mr. Saiful Mahdi, president of the Aceh Relief Fund and faculty member at Universitas Syiah Kuala in Aceh; and Mr. Asnawi Kumar, official journalist with Serambi Indonesia Online visited CRDG while they were in Honolulu to be part of the Beyond Tsunami: The Aceh Experience and International Application conference. The delegation was very interested in establishing a relationship to replicate the ULS experience in Indonesia. Specifically, the collaboration will focus on inquiry-based teaching to develop critical thinking among students.
Among the visitors here to collaborate on research was Nanette Seago, a researcher in mathematics education at WestEd, who video-taped ULS classes as part of her NSF-funded project involving professional development for middle grades mathematics teachers on the topic of similarity. She visited the Laboratory School in December to videotape the sixth and eighth grade mathematics classes and to provide an informal seminar on her project and its uses of video for professional development.
But not all the visitors were here to work. The Hawai‘i Ground Golf Association Nonoichi-machi Ground Golf Association from Japan visited the Laboratory School to play, donating twenty-five sets of ground golf equipment and lessons to ULS. Thanks to the support from these two ground golf associations, the ULS fourth through sixth graders started ground golf lessons in fall 2008.
The year wrapped up with visits from two sister schools from Japan and two new schools. Students from sister schools Nishi-Nippon High School and Sohseikan High School met with ULS high school students during day-long visits. Teisei High School, also from Japan, and Palm Beach High School, from Boca Raton, Florida, also brought groups of students to spend a day with the students at ULS.