Creative Forest

Facilitator: Renea Mackie

Creative Forest Ltd and NetNZ are collaborating to develop and implement a prototype project to build student capability in areas of interest in a distributed, connected environment, with a view to developing a global product if the prototype is successful. In 2019, this project (Creative Forest) will be available as an enrollable programme, open to any interested students or schools.

What is it?

Learners will engage in a project driven approach to exploring their passions and interests, within a connected, community based online environment. They will be able to connect with others beyond their school, including those who share a common interest, and experts in fields that align, as needed. While students will enter the environment as individuals, the key aspect is finding connections with others, to form project groups and to create a product(s) as a result. Creativity, entrepreneurship, and collaboration are key aspects to this trial.  Students will develop digital literacy skills, learn how to visualize and expand upon their ideas, document their progress, share work with others and build social capital.

How does it work?

There are a range of ways to engage in Creative Forest. Learners may be fully engaged in the Creative Forest model and have dedicated time set from 2-4 hours a week. Or schools may come in at a supplemental level as a way to support projects students are already doing within their own school.

Students will drive their own, passion-based projects, exploring ways to work and connect with others within the Creative Forest community. Video conferences using or Skype will be used on a needs basis. Students will use the Creative Forest Online Platform.

The role of the onsite teacher / school support

This an online, connected programme largely led by Renea. Students will need onsite support though. Local teachers are welcome to engage in this programme at a level they are most interested in, or that most suits them. At a minimum level students of this age will need someone onsite who is supporting them, guiding them through processes, and helping them when they most need it.


Schools who are exploring how they can create a more flexible, personalised learning experience for students and in particular, the use of passion projects to engage students in authentic, contextualised learning. The trial itself is designed for any sort of student, whether they have strong interests or not. It is up to schools who they select to participate.

The project lead is Renea Mackie.

Who is Renea Mackie?

“I’m Renea Mackie, CEO and Co-Founder of Creative Forest Ltd. Over the past 8 years, I’ve been working with kids to help them create some super cool projects and engage with industry folk around the globe. My primary focus has been in the technology and innovation space, helping to prepare a pathway from school to tech start-up.
I work alongside students to help them find new and immersive learning opportunities to build their skills, collaborate, help others, and create their own professional networks.  In this field, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. My approach is to empower students to find their own confidence, use their initiative, develop a support network, give as well as receive, learn for themselves, and know when to ask for help.”

Renea worked on a series of projects at Ao Tawhiti, Unlimited Discovery School, most notably, UPT Digital, a groundbreaking web, app, music and games development class. Find out more about Renea here

What do the students say?

Articles on Creative Forest

Creative Forest: Connecting to Community

Our Creative Forest trial, delivered in partnership with Creative Forest Ltd, has been running since...
September 3, 2018

Connecting learners: Creative Forest

Over the years online learning has often been represented as a disconnected, linear process of...
May 8, 2018