by Darren Sudlow

The Creative Forest Programme: 2022

The Creative Forest Programmme is a partnership between Creative Forest Ltd and NetNZ that endeavours to engage learners in projects and interests within a distributed, connected environment.

In 2022, this programme (Creative Forest) is available as an enrollable programme, open to any interested students or schools. It is open to enrolment for any period and starting at any time throughout 2022.

Enrol hereor email to find out more

What is it?

Learners 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 programme. 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.

Creative Forest Video - Ashcoll Green Jordan

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 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.


We have been fortunate to team up with the Nuevo Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Redmond, Washington. Founded by Security Engineer, Beatris Gandica Mendez, Nuevo Foundation is a collection of passionate professionals from Microsoft who want to inspire the next generation of innovators. Creative Forest and Nuevo Foundation have been collaborating in 2019 to bring our students and their experts together, across borders, to see what we can achieve, with the aim of opening up opportunities for Creative Forest students to connect with Nuevo Foundation experts, and students at US schools, in 2020.

How did it work?

The students pitch project ideas to the experts and both parties agree on which projects they will work on. Creative Forest and eDeans/Teachers work with the students on the development and implementation of the work. Nuevo Foundation hosts bi-monthly Video Check-in Meetings where we “Show and Tell”, discuss progress and ask questions. Questions can be asked at any time by posting into Microsoft Teams. It has been a fantastic experience so far with Maniototo Team working on a Steam Punk 2D Game and Ashburton Team working on a Mihi Pai App. You can read more about that project here:

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