Madison Middle School Partners with Noel Studio for Academic Creativity

Madison Middle School in Richmond has partnered with Eastern Kentucky University’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity to help a group of seventh- and eighth-graders turn research completed in the University’s John Grant Crabbe Main Library into a “convincing” presentation.

The partnership “came about through an identified need for students to do more active research that would take them out of the classroom,” said Noel Studio Director Dr. Russell Carpenter.

The students, led by teacher Michelle Neeley, conducted research in Special Collections and Archives section of the Library on Monday, Sept. 12, and visited the Studio, also located in Crabbe, for two sessions on Wednesday, Sept. 14, to refine their collected information and design their communication project

“Through these two sessions in the Noel Studio, students worked in small groups to determine the most effective approaches for communicating their research,” Carpenter said. “Much of the challenge was dealing with the huge amount of information gathered from their research. Their trip to the Noel Studio focused on how to build that information into a convincing presentation – orally, through writing, and visually.”

Carpenter, Noel Studio Research Coordinator Trenia Napier and Margaret Foote, team leader with EKU Libraries Special Collections and Archives, sought collaborative opportunities for students to work with Debbie Whalen, librarian with Special Collections and Archives, and Jackie Couture, digital archives specialist with Special Collections and Archives, on identifying and studying primary documents, which include text, images and video and audio files.

The collaboration entailed projects that employed creative thinking and integrated technology, writing, oral communication, and multimedia. Students created artifacts – audio and video files, Prezis, and other creative pieces – based on their research.

“Students often consider research a print-based practice – searching through books and journals for information,” Carpenter said. “This collaboration brings research off the page in a visual, creative and interactive way. Students are talking to each other about what they have found, they’re asking questions that require critical-thinking skills, and they’re designing communication that requires creative thinking. We approach communication design through active learning – from doing research in Special Collections and Archives to engaging communication and information in the Noel Studio.”

The partnership meshes with the Studio’s mission to develop collaborative relationships “within our spaces, the EKU community, and surrounding communities,” Carpenter said.

For more information about EKU’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity, visit

Published on September 14, 2011

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