December 2019: Sharing The Gifts We Receive

December 20, 2019
December 2019 Newsletter

Last month, we shared that we reached 1 full year of publishing this EI newsletter, and talked about how each monthly newsletter helps us to share the joys, opportunities, and lessons we are so blessed to receive from our community in the form of partnerships, productive working relationships, and efforts to move the needle towards positive change in our communities. Our professional development courses, classroom-based programs, and strategic planning and visioning consulting work have served thousands of youth and community members, hundreds of teachers, and dozens of schools and institutions — thank you all for your belief in the quality of our work and for providing us the space to grow and steward our light. — Ke aloha, Miki & Hye Jung

Education Incubator

All three of our cohorts are rounding out their first semester by bringing their school- and community-improvement project ideas and proposals to a larger audience for feedback, approval and funding.    During this process, students progressed from ideation to user journey mapping to paper and digital prototyping, and are now working to create a 3-minute presentation to share with prospective users and funders to turn their project ideas to reality in the Spring. Stay tuned to hear more about their amazing work as we launch into physical prototypes in the Spring!

Some of the most important lessons we learn in this work are not about innovative design and project-based learning – they are about the communication and collaboration skills we have observed and seen these students develop during our time with them, and about the lessons they have taught us about what matters in teaching and learning.  Some of their most brilliant ideas are ones that we hear them birth, share, and then figuratively (and sometimes literally) throw away because other challenges like language, writing skill, technology, public speaking, etc gets in the way of them being able to share their genius. We ask you, as we ask ourselves, what is the value of an idea that could change the world?  Why is it worth more on paper than it is when it is spoken? How might we encourage our students to share with us the amazing gifts they have inside, in a way that they value? Is a social media post worth less than a paper test? To whom? These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves often in our work to create authentic experiences and opportunities for empowering youth to bring their hearts to the healing work needed in our communities.

Brand-new PDE3 Offerings: Innovation + Invention In Your Classroom 

We are excited to launch a brand-new PD/PDE3 course, Innovation and Invention In Your Classroom.  This series aims to bring teachers together to share resources and collaborate on lessons and opportunities to integrate SEL + STEM + PBL approaches in teaching and learning.   Our first PDE3 of this series hit capacity registration within weeks – we are so grateful for the interest and support of our community, and were delighted to welcome elementary school teachers from Oʻahu and Moku O Keawe to Hālau ʻĪnana Ma Kapaʻakea for our first meeting.  In that first session, we dove in to experience a few activities from our PBL+SEL partner Project Wayfinder, and our SEL+STEM partner Superpower Academy. Next session we’ll focus on prototypes and publications, in preparation for digital portfolios. What an ed-venture!????

For more information on the array of professional development services and courses available from EI, please contact us at [email protected].

Maryknoll Professional Development

The EI team got to spend two full days at Maryknoll School supporting their journey into contemplating and creating project-based learning opportunities for their students. We began our time together asking each teacher and staff member what brings them joy and how they bring that into their daily practice through Project Wayfinder’s Rooting in Joy activity. We were so inspired by the stories they shared about their journey to teaching, the elements of their lives that bring them joy, and how they bring that into the work they do to serve the Maryknoll community.  During our time there, we talked about the wide range of projects that take place during a school year, and the differences between project-based learning, problem-based learning, and projects. We are excited to hear more about their on-going efforts to enrich and enliven their classrooms through a variety of research-based, engaging approaches.

Mahalo Maryknoll School for having us!

Event Recap

McDonald’s Education Workshop in Hawaiʻi:

XLR8HI, Clique-Now, and Education Incubator hosted the 2019 McDonald’s Education Workshop in Hawaiʻi. From keynote speaker Uncle Pono Shim, through expert panels representing various voices in the STEM fields and preparation for college and career, to digital influencers Mari Takahashi and Steven Lim, the day was filled with lots of interesting insight and information for youth and their parents in shaping their journey from high school to post-high.  Two exciting opportunities were also shared by the McDonald’s Hawaiʻi team, the Archways to Opportunity Program and the McDonald’s APIA Scholarship Program.
The panels helped provide insight into parts of the college and career experience that may not be obvious but are very important to recognize and understand.   We heard from women in science about hidden challenges like micro-bullying and declining-but-still-strong gender bias, as well as cultural practices like humbleness here in Hawaiʻi that are important but can sometimes present a barrier to us being able to talk about our gifts and strengths.

The Kealakulia family from KS shared a wide array of services, supports, and insight into all aspects of transitioning to college, including typical topics like financial aid and not-so-typical topics like preparing for you first dorming experience.  Our local colleges provided us with information on the value of a local education, and the new fields emerging at various campuses. As food for thought, Josh Kaʻakua of University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges helped us imagine college as a part of the journey we may go on as we endeavor to help our entire community thrive.

Please feel free to contact us to get information from any of these speakers on any of their topics, and click here to catch a glimpse of the event.

A4LE Hawai’i School Design Symposium II Symposium on the Maker Movement in Education

Mahalo to Ben Gathright, architect and educational innovator, for the invitation to speak at the recent Association For Learning Environments (A4LE) Hawaiʻi chapter event hosted at Punahou School’s newly opened Kosasa Design Lab. In the midst of an environment rich with so much technology and resource, we focused on harnessing the most powerful tool we know of — purpose. With purpose – defined by Bill Damon as the intention to accomplish something meaningful to the self and consequential for the world – truly impactful progress for humanity is possible. Mahalo to the team of architects organizing the event, and to Mayumi and her ever evolving presentation skills!

She Started It and Youth Innovation Showcase

Mahalo to our friends at Hawaiʻi Society for Technology in Education (HSTE), and organizers Josh, Shane, and Stevin for organizing the screening of She Started It at Impact Hub HNL and the Youth Innovation Showcase that followed. Once again, Mayumi got to share about her passion project, Beach Glass Aloha, and Miki provided highlights of EI’s Innovation With Aloha approach and our XLR8YOUTH program co-founded by Sultan Ventures. For information on movie screenings of She Started It and Most Likely to Succeed, please contact Josh Reppun at @MLTSinHI.

Mahalo to our friends at Hawaiʻi Society for Technology in Education (HSTE), and organizers Josh, Shane, and Stevin for organizing the screening of She Started It at Impact Hub HNL and the Youth Innovation Showcase that followed. Once again, Mayumi got to share about her passion project, Beach Glass Aloha, and Miki provided highlights of EI’s Innovation With Aloha approach and our XLR8YOUTH program co-founded by Sultan Ventures. For information on movie screenings of She Started It and Most Likely to Succeed, please contact Josh Reppun at @MLTSinHI.

EI Book

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital Minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.

Cal Newport

When we read Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport for our monthly reading to better understand our relationships with technology and digital services on an individual and societal level, we decided to go on our own versions of a “digital diet”. Our common goal was to question our relationship with the digital technology & services we use, and make sure we understand our purpose and intention behind our choices. Throughout the month of November we had time to reflect on our digital lives, make time for activities that are meaningful to each of us, declutter our digital spaces, and be more thoughtful in our decisions.

Miki’s reflection: The smallest shifts in my digital diet brought the largest impact.  I hadn’t realized how badges and notifications on my phone subconsciously brought incredible levels of stress to my day.   Did seeing the 6-digit number attached to my Gmail app really help me understand anything in the world any better, or stay in touch with friends and clients better?  No. Many of those unread emails were from the Worldwide Voyage era, and would not be read now – removing the badges helped me think more clearly about what I actually wanted to pay attention to that was critical to my day.   Likewise for e-mail notifications – by creating 3 1-hour blocks to check emails throughout the day, 2 30-minute reading blocks for the dozens of books I have bought but not made time for, and not doing any work other than being the most attentive mom I can be during the before school and afterschool/evening hours I share with my daughter, I have managed to exponentially increase both my joy and my work productivity, and deepen my personal relationships.    I am grateful for the life cleanse this book provided an opportunity for.

Hye Jung’s reflection: In the summer of 2005 after my sister and I graduated from Mount Dora High School, we headed off to the University of Central Florida to start our college lives. I remember sitting in my sister’s dorm room when she told me about Facebook and showed me her account. She said it was only for people with college email addresses, which she had a semester earlier than me because she signed up for the summer term and I did not, so I had to wait until the fall semester to sign up for my account. I was so excited! After starting the account in 2005, there have been a few months here and there that I “took a break” or “quit”, but it never quite stuck. I have spent numerous hours each week on Facebook and other social media applications over 14 years. Even as I was preparing for this month’s digital diet, I was still going to set aside some time to catch up on everything on my various social media accounts. My friend Martin who inspired this digital diet month said that he would be quitting all social media cold turkey and pushed me to do the same. I am so glad he did! I quit all social media for the month of November and it has definitely changed my relationship with my technology. I used to check my accounts ALL the time – all that time I  used spend scrolling through endless social media posts on my phone are now mostly replaced by reading. Overall, I gave up my digital time for deeper connection and presence in everything that I do. It is a practice each day and I learn so much through time. Grateful to have friends like Martin who help me become a better version of me!

For more information on Digital Minimalism and author Cal Newport, visit

Our book for January is Nana Veary’s Change We Must – we invite you to please read along with us during the month of December. For those of us learning from Uncle Pono Shim, you will recognize this title and influential author right away. Let us know if you want to borrow our copy and we will find a way to get it to you.

PD is only
a click away!


Teaching Resource

If you are looking for resources to help youth challenge prejudice and grow to be the agents of change we see inside them, start your search at Teaching Tolerance. We recently read an article from Teaching Tolerance about how to teach Thanksgiving in a socially responsible way; visit their website for more critical inspiration. More than just a resource, there are magazines and newsletters to subscribe to, and even an interactive lesson plan builder where you can design your own lesson plans aligned to Social Justice Standards and share with others in the diverse TT professional learning community.


IDEO U’s Creative Confidence series, hosted by IDEO U founder and dean Suzanne Gibbs Howard, features conversations with inspiring change makers and industry leaders who are working to create positive impact through various creative organizations and initiatives at the intersection of leadership and design thinking. Through this podcast of stories and insights, as well as through their online courses via, IDEO U works to further global impact through workplace innovation.  A year ago we featured the book Creative Confidence by brothers Tom and David Kelley, founders of IDEO, in our December 2018 newsletter – take a look, and let us know if you want to borrow our copy of Creative Confidence.

Teaching Tool

Mayumi is a past EI summer intern, XLR8YOUTH Cohort member, and the founder/owner of local ocean awareness jewelry line Beach Glass Aloha. As she is also the daughter of our CEO Miki, Mayumi spends a lot of her time after school and on the weekends with us. She recently shared with us a poetry technique she learned at school – blackout poetry*. We really enjoyed Mayumi’s facilitation of the activity with us as we created our own blackout poems – one of the statements that Mayumi made while facilitating that stuck in Hye Jung’s mind is that the poem does not have to make sense to anybody else but you, the creator. She gave permission for Hye Jung to do what makes sense to her and not worry about if and how it might be perceived from someone else’s eyes and heart.

Here’s what we created:

Mayumi’s Blackout Poem

I realized as I went through the process that I had two poems on the same page, so I did the exercise twice with the same page:

Miki’s Blackout Poems
Hye Jung’s Blackout Poem

We loved sharing our results with each other, and invite you to join us in embracing this technique. We would love for you to share them with us via social media, just tag us @eduincubator. Mahalo Mayumi for always teaching us new, fun, exciting things!

*We also highly recommend exploring the countless other resources available via, including the Top Teaching Blog referenced above for stories and insight from other practitioners, Lessons and Ideas for lesson plan inspiration, Teachers Toolkit for PD resources, and so much more!



Two trainings on two islands within two months, for two days each! Join us for one of our upcoming 2-day trainings on Oʻahu (Friday December 13 + Saturday December 14) or Hawaiʻi Island (Saturday January 25 + Sunday January 26) as we explore Project Wayfinder, connect with a community of purposeful educators in Hawaiʻi, deepen our understanding of Design Thinking and Purpose Learning, and prepare to implement the Wayfinder Toolkit at your school. To find out more and sign up, please email [email protected].

Featured Partners:
Meet our EI Board
of Directors


Herb Lee

Herb Lee, Jr. , has been the Executive Director of the Pacific American Foundation since 2005 and President and Chief Executive Officer since 2018. Herb has led multiple highly-successful programs in youth leadership, career planning and development, STEM education and culture-based curriculum.  At their place-based hub, Waikalua Loko, Herb and PAF have trained over 5,000 teachers statewide in over 150 schools and benefited over 100,000+ students and families to-date. PAF is recognized as a leading non-profit in the development and training of rigorous culture-based education programs for both Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiian students.

Herb also has 30 years of experience as a community involvement specialist and has been a recording artist, Hawaiian musician, and a cultural practitioner for 40 years. He is one of the founders of the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society a Kāneʻohe, O’ahu non-profit whose mission is education through the protection, preservation, restoration and perpetual stewardship of an ancient (400 year old) cultural resource. He serves on numerous Boards and community groups and in 2011 was selected to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee Indigenous People Working Group and received the Historic Hawaii Foundation’s highest Preservation Award for the work at the Waikalua Loko Fishpond. In 2014 he was designated a Cesar Chavez Champion of Change, 1 of 10 recognized by President Obama, and was 1 of 3 to receive the Hawaii Maoli and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs Ka Mana o ke Kanaka, the Spirit of the Hawaiian award.  He has also been recognized with the O’o award from the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Honolulu’s Jerry C. L. Chang Peacemaker Award.

Keoni Lee

Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Keoni is a Native Hawaiian entrepreneur and community change agent. He co-founded ʻŌiwi TV – a media production company that leverages the power of media to reshape the narratives of the modern Hawaiian experience. He also co-founded Waiwai Collective, a contemporary Hawaiian gathering space that is growing a community and movement grounded in collective values and shared responsibilities to mobilize systemic change in Hawaiʻi. In his current role as CEO of Hawaiʻi Investment Ready, he is working to accelerate social enterprise impact and increase investment into Hawaiʻiʻs innovative impact sector.

Keoni is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, went on to Oregon State University, and also earned a MBA from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His leadership accomplishments also garnered his selection in the Omidyar Fellows program and the First Nations Futures Program.

In addition to serving on the EI board of directors, Keoni also serves on the boards of Sustʻāinable Molokaʻi, Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School, and MAʻO Organic Farms.

Christine Matsuda

Christine Matsuda is a communications strategist, working alongside Hawaii’s leading organizations to tell stories and shape ideas that make our community stronger. Born and raised on O‘ahu, Christine and her two young sons live in Makiki.

Christine is Bennet Group Strategic Communications’ senior vice president. A leader in the company since returning to the islands in 2011, Christine’s experience in complex issues management, strategic media relations, nonprofit communications and stakeholder engagement make her a valued colleague and collaborator. Her extensive background includes in-depth media coordination work as well as donor relations and fundraising cultivation expertise on behalf of her clients in a wide range of Hawai‘i’s business and nonprofit sectors. Previously with the Hawai‘i Foodbank managing donor events and fundraising campaigns, Christine worked with Washington D.C.-based Share our Strength and at Bon Appétit Magazine in Los Angeles.

Christine is a Punahou School and University of Southern California alumna; in addition to serving on the board of directors for Education Incubator, she also dedicates pro-bono time to several local nonprofits including Kanu Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Songwriting Festival and more.

Brian Dote

Brian Dote is the Senior Vice President and Director of Mobile and Digital Commerce at Bank of Hawaii and the founder of Tapiki, LLC, a Hawaii based iPhone application design and development company. Brian has experience as a designer, software engineer, and has been a co-founder, CTO, and trusted advisor for multiple early-stage technology startups. Brian worked at Apple, Inc. during which time he was awarded five patents for the iPhone and mobile web technologies. Brian has over 20 years of experience building and designing desktop and web applications and over 9 years of experience building mobile (iPhone, iPad, Android) games and applications.

Formerly, Brian was the first Chief Innovation Officer at Mid-Pacific where he was responsible for articulating a vision for educational and administrative use of technology throughout the school. Brian created the schools Technology Vision Statement and led initiatives in VR, AR, and other immersive technologies as well as in AI/data science, and entrepreneurship.

In addition to serving as a director of EI, Brian is a member of the Innovation Committee at PBS Hawaii, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Academy of Industrial & Engineering Technology at Waipahu High. Brian was a 2017 honoree in Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the next 20 and a Webby Honoree for his web development work on Springfield Town Center in 2009.

Inside Aloha


A few weeks ago we announced the launch of the Aloha Incubator, a collaborative effort of EI along with Sultan Ventures and XLR8HI, guided and mentored by our teacher Pono Shim.  Through the Aloha Incubator, we endeavor to offer a safe and brave space for reflection, remembering, re-energizing, and refining ways that Aloha is channeled into our everyday existence.

Every month, we will feature a new product, service, campaign or teaching born of the spirit of Aloha that Uncle Pono and Auntie Pilahi Paki speak of, something that deepens our Aloha Response.   Please see below for the Aloha Response T-shirt, an item that is grounded deeply in aloha but does not carry the text “aloha” on the shirt itself. Proceeds from the sale of this items goes towards supporting the growth of the Aloha Response global movement.

To join an upcoming Aloha Response cohort, support the Aloha Incubator collaborative, or suggest a product, service, campaign or teaching for inclusion in the Aloha Incubator portal, please contact us at [email protected].