December 23, 2016
Students at Marysville Early College High School are applying technical skills through a project setting holiday lights to music.

Learning Illuminated

Strands of multi-colored lights cover Marysville Early College High School, illuminating the night. Over 6,000 lights dance to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid, choreographed by students during a semester-long project.

“Our Christmas light show project has really taught me how to work with certain software, IP locations and networks, because we’re programming all these lights to work together,” said Robert Moots, a junior at Marysville Early College High School. “I have learned so much about coding and I think this entire experience has made me smarter and able to handle large tasks.”

Moots and six classmates worked on the project as part of a new Winter Magic capstone project with their teacher, Justin Rigsby. The project was a natural fit for these IT students, who learned the basics of circuit boards and coding in earlier classes.

The project also meets all learning standards from the Ohio Department of Education.

“It’s touching all the ODE standards, maybe not in a conventional way, but in a very fun, practical way,” Rigsby said. “You always get kids asking, ‘why are we doing this’ or ‘is this something I’ll ever use?’ Now these students get to see the skills they learned in other classes and put them to use.”

Most importantly, the Winter Magic project has been completely student-driven, allowing space for teamwork, creativity and learner agency.

“At its core, this is a student project,” Rigsby said. “From day one, they’ve planned it. I told them right from the start that we need to come together to teach each other what we learn. They had to figure out how it worked as a team. This was wholeheartedly their project from start to finish.”

The show will be automated from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the holiday.

Mary Kenkel

Written by: Mary Kenkel

Mary Kenkel serves as the KnowledgeWorks Senior PR Specialist.

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