Nightowl History

Night Owl Hackerspace

Education provides a systematic approach of giving equal opportunity for students or individuals — to expand his/her capacity to understand the world — to learn and shape his/her worldview — but the framework of education has been shortsighted in a way that is has neglected the fundamental principle of being human — that we are unique — therefore learn differently in our own way. Additionally, the apparatus of educational institution has been struggling in the age of digitalization. Individuals has transitioned to be more dynamic as we have integrated ourselves in the interconnecting ideas of different concepts from the world wide web. It is only logical to assume that traditional teaching methodology has only been a hindrance as we progress — therefore needed to be changed.

Inspired by the western civilization’s response to societal problems; Silicon Valley has proven the potential of social entrepreneurship as a concept of balancing capitalism and upholding the nature of innovation. This leads us to correlate how the mechanics of adapting to digitalization can improve how we can learn effectively; they’ve emphasize on intensive trainings to actually solve a particular problem — improving upon their management discipline, learning methodology and especially understand how each individual’s manner towards the contribution of resolutions — in terms of intricate human-computer interaction allowing to exercise a more substantiated creative process.

It was the “eureka” moment for us to see what we were missing out on and how it can actually solve the conundrum we were experiencing towards the myopic educational system. What we needed then to figure out was how we can contextualize their model to our institution’s current capacity. Nevertheless, we’ve began to experiment; understanding the dynamics of startups — we began to formulate ideas and implementing it in forms of softwares/systems in newer platforms, implementing from newer frameworks, programming language, and algorithms — In the context of our provincial demographic, this was new because the curriculum was not.

This has shifted us in an advance manner of learning as these things were not taught by the institution. Thus started the early stages of the Incubator in mid 2015. In the setting of the industry — we’ve been working as well at Entheos IT; a local Architecture and Information Technology firm — developing our products and doing practical applications of our skills at the same time. This allowed us to distinguish methodologies that were in need of contextualization.

This has then made the incubator feasible to be institutionalized because of how we efficiently learn and develop. Complimentary to the current curriculum as this will not disrupt the standard workflow but in such aspect be part of the extra-curricular activities — but in a bigger scale it only addresses a temporary gap of what we were trying to fight for — reform.

Comprising mostly of college senior year students that were undergoing job trainings it was prejudice not to consider the causation of their involvement. Correlating their current curriculum; they needed to comply with their requirements; like accomplishing their capstone projects — consequently joining the incubator. Eventually decreasing in numbers from at least 10 to 3; still doesn’t answer how we propose upon the improvement of the educational framework — moreover creating a startup ecosystem to promote innovation — with that factor in mind, we needed to understand a fundamental environmental aspect — culture.

Bringing with us the movement of educational reform, the incubator members has done outreach to individuals with exceptional passion towards technology, learning and innovation — and inspired them to visualize the advantages and the possibilities of joining the incubator. The anarchism of the organization has profoundly enhance the creativity of the incubatees and the flat hierarchy have established a self screening method done organically — because individuals were not motivated by strict authoritative compliance but are driven by the spirit of learning. At that time without knowing — we were slowly transitioned from being an incubator to something entirely different.

In the early summer of 2016 a non-profit and non-government organization from the United States  — ZERO1 found a project made by the students of the Department of Architecture at our institution. This project was called Estudio Damgo 4; a pyramid floating bamboo based structure to serve as a lighthouse in the near seashore — In different variations it was mainly to apply practical skills and knowledge from architecture students and construct an establishment to answer societal predicaments in the community. ZERO1 together with the US Embassy sought to build relationship with our institution to have a month long Waterspace Arts Incubator Program — with arts, technology and environment  to implement project BOAT Lab in the Philippines.

The architectural design of Estudio Damgo 4 — provided a grounding on the structure of what the BOAT Lab is based upon. BOAT stands for Building Open Art and Technology and literally is also a boat. Waterspace is a program name derived from a makerspace — basically a makerspace in the water. The fundamental purpose of a makerspace is to provide a playground for enthusiast or motivated individuals to be able to create or build things out from their own interests and ideas.

The director of the project — Andrew Quitmeyer; a digital artist — facilitated in the development of the project Waterspace. He introduced workshops that allowed us to be knowledgeable on the field of electronics — technology or sensors that helps us interact with the environment or in nature in general. Part of the workshop was the creativity process — basically connecting different ideas in contributing to some answers in addressing key issues in the environment — the process also needed us to collaborate. Each of the ideas were given individually but are linked to which is related — at the end we needed to form a team and start building those ideas.

This has given us the opportunity to have a concrete model relative to the incubation program we had in our institution. Focused on how we generated ideas — we saw the potential of it especially if we were to apply it where the students are involved. The interesting part was how we noticed that — similar to our case of anarchism — the individuals involved has no strict mandatory processes to uphold only that we had to finish our project and document it — consequently realizing that the model was in fact the nature of a makerspace.

One of the essential experience that happened at the end of the Waterspace program was the meeting of Dolf Andringa — who by then was invited to the very last day of the program where there was an exhibition of projects. He was the one who introduced us of the concept of a hackerspace — another term for a makerspace. Basically motivated to collaborate with us — we decided to organize the NightOwl Hackerspace and got an approval of officially being institutionalized by Foundation University.

From the NightOwl website: 

The aim for NightOwl is to create a place and culture of curiosity, creativity and cultivating each and everyone's skills, building and establishing progressive education. Important is that we do things because we like them, not because we have to. Having fun and not being pressured to deliver are vital parts of this.

In conclusion, NightOwl provides an exceptional model in facilitating creativity amongst individual; It consist of an unsubmissive type of environment that promotes self-esteem and freedom of individuals to actually be allowed to do anything. Consequently, in any case of which the individual will create something or not — the outcome underlies in the relationship amongst its members to inspire, mentor and collaborate with one another. This has evolved to be branched out to different sub-programs such as the incubation — organized internally amongst themselves —providing a concrete mechanics of incubatees because of the fundamental aspect — that in each member’s incentive are their own determination.

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