New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Peter Reynolds and his entrepreneur twin Paul Reynolds launched their new non-profit Reynolds Center TLC this week at the MIT Endicott House in Dedham.
The brothers have been working on the project for two years, as stated in their literature, the goal is to bring, “inspiration, innovation, and community” to educators and students.
Cecilia Lenk, newly named executive director of the Reynolds Center, said it has always been Peter’s goal, especially as an author, “to inspire creativity."
Peter said he and Paul are looking to create a community, “not only in Massachusetts, but nationally." He said the center does not have a physical location now, but they will be holding many educator workshops at the MIT Endicott house at 80 Haven St. in Dedham.
“We can make a difference if we focus on the teachers,” said Peter.
According to their literature, the workshops are, “designed to hone your skills, rekindle your creative spirit, and collect the courage to put new ideas and directions into practice."
WBZ-TV news anchor Lisa Hughes hosted the evening and began by saying, “I am a huge fan of Peter and Paul Reynolds." She added that the brothers, “Have and live a mission of moving the world forward."
Peter Reynolds said while addressing the educators, policy makers and friends that the Reynolds Center is, “more about human beings finding each other,” which is what he hoped for that evening and what he hopes for any learning process.
Peter recounted a teacher he had in seventh grade that astounded him during a project by being one of the first adults in his life to admit to not knowing everything. “I’m going to learn with you,” the teacher told the young Peter.
Paul Reynolds said in his address, “Peter and I were touch profoundly and deeply,” by their teachers. He noted in, what could be the Reynolds Center mantra, “Human potential is something you work on your entire life."
Michele Norman, vice president of communication for the Reynolds Center, said their initiative is, “To keep good teachers fighting the good fight." She added that the Peter and Paul have a “strong belief in the need to do teaching and learning in new and creative ways."
One of the programs that the Reynolds Center is already working with is the Fab@School program which was started by Peggy Healy Stearns Ph.D. and Glenn Bull at the University of Virginia.
One of the Fab@School projects is a 3D fabricator that etches models out of different types of medium through the use of 3D software. The machine itself was built by a second year Ph.D. student from Cornell University named Jeff Lipton that flew out from Cornell to demonstrate the machine and the software at the launch party. “It lets kids learn by building,” said Lipton.
He then recounted a story about a test run they did with the program in Virginia where elementary school students were asked to build a cube using the program. During the project, he said, children started asking how to determine cube routes, “Once you hear that, you know you’ve won." Lipton noted with technology like this teaching kids, “You never need to hear again, ‘Why do I need to know this math?’”
Julia Young, a representative of the Reynolds brothers’ software and media company Fablevision, explained a 3D printer being developed by Fab@School. “This is meant to be the on-ramp to 3D design." It prints images which children can then cut and perforate to create simple and complex machines, like a small windmill or plane.