Maker Places Conference in Burlington, Vermont #mpcvt @champlainmaker

August 8-9, 2016 (Monday and Tuesday)

The Maker Spaces Conference was put on by Doug Webster of Champlain MakerFaire. Doug has produced the MakerFaires in Vermont. He’s affiliated with the Agency of Education and is working on connecting Makers within Vermont and also with the wider world.

I had to travel two hours in each direction to attend, so I was a pretty late arriving.  On Monday the group had left on a tour.  This didn’t trouble me a bit on account of having visited the sites on previous occasions.

imgood

Participants (those who arrived on time, that is) went on tours of:

bon voyage.png

Since I’ve been to most of these spaces, I was content to stroll on the waterfront instead. I took that time to consider the program ahead and think about what possibilities might come out of the conference.

These were the stated goals:

  • More schools, companies, and individuals will start makerspaces and run local maker faires.

OK

  • Leave motivated and inspired to try something out – “Yes, I can do that!”

you can do it

  • Become aware of resources – who and where to go.

I don't know

  • Become connected to a local network of creators and doers.

anything for you

  • Appreciate making as being central to the community ecosystem in cities, towns, schools, libraries, companies, and other institutions.

team awesome

As participants arrived, we sat down to an incredible lunch.  It wasn’t until the end of the meal that I discovered the only other educator at the table.  This was not a conference specifically for educators. (There was a panel of higher ed folks, but only a few participants where school teachers.)  So meeting the other teacher was like

best friend.png

Here is a breakdown of all the sessions:

Monday, August 8, 2016, Starting session:

MassChallenge – Creating a Startup Renaissance

Bio from their website: “Scott Bailey is the Managing Director of MassChallenge’s flagship program in Boston. In his role, Scott oversees the Boston competition & accelerator. Scott has served as a key member of the MassChallenge team since its early days in 2010. Most recently, he held the position of Senior Director of Partnerships, raising $4M+ of cash and $10M+ of in-kind sponsorships in 2014 to support the organization. In addition, Scott has worked closely with MassChallenge founders cultivating a vast network of supporters that are committed to the organization and its startups.
Following college Scott served as the Director of Client Programs at the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET), a non-profit technology business incubator. During his time at VCET, Scott prospected early stage companies for the $5 Million Seed Capital Fund and joined a student run startup, BlirpIt, as Director of Sales & Marketing.”

From their website:  “MassChallenge is the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet. No equity and not-for-profit, we provide startups with the access and resources they need to succeed – from free office space to mentoring, workshops and global network access.”

The start-up world is one in which I’m an alien.  Never having studied business, my only experience with it was as a part-time bookkeeper.  I know next to nothing about venture capitalism except what I read on Twitter or blogs or listen to on podcasts.  I get the numerical parts of the start-up world, especially the scaling part.  It’s the culture that I don’t get.  

say-what

The concept of an accellerator is foreign. As an educator, my work has been that all my students need accelleration.  I do not seek out the most promising students and then pour all my resources into them to see if I can launch them into a successful life. When there’s any difference in resource expenditure, I pour my efforts into those “least likely to succeed,” (without resources and time poured upon them).

seriously

I’ve never chosen my students.  They are assigned to me.  Sometimes they have entered my room based solely on their age. Other times, especially in mathematics, they had been assigned to me because they had failed to meet the challenges of previous classes.  

When students in public schools “fail,” they do not vanish into the world of our memories. They grow up responsible to a society that basically allowed them to fail. Looked at another way, they are responsible to a society that has already failed them.  

All this is to say that I look at start-up culture as though from another planet.  Like

whatcha doing.png

So I was fascinated by the Matt Bailey and MassChallenge. This is the world as it is.  I may find it different from my own reality, but I’m here to learn.  By “here” I mean “on this earth.”  I listened and took lots of notes.  Most of my notes lead me to deeper questions about  the meaning of life, so to speak.  Just another day of questioning assumptions about the world at large…

Later, while writing about this, I turned to snapchat to think it through a little:

This is a theme I hope to return to from time to time. Come back for future episodes of this blog/bitmoji/snap/youtube show.

Don’t miss it.

brace yourself

The next block of time at the Maker Places Conference required me to make a choice.  The name of the session I had to miss was Biomimicry: Bringing Nature’s Tools into a Makerspace – Old Lyme Connecticut with Randall Anway of Green Mountain Power. Links hereherehere, here, and here. I would have liked to check this out, but…

My choice was to attend:

Maker Movement: Collaborating with Federally Funded Initiatives  

  • Karen Birch, Connecticut College of Technology Principal Investigator & Executive Director, National Science Foundation Next Generation Manufacturing

Had no idea there were so many funding sources available.  Took lots of notes. But, since I’m not affiliated with an organization that can apply, I mainly listened. She discussed career paths not known to students, beginning with Associates Degrees.  Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing was one resource she noted.  NSF is the National Science Foundation.  ATE is Advanced Technology Education.  NSF has a Center of Excellence for underserved populations. That’s as far as I’m going with these links. 

onempty

For the last session on Monday, participants were once again required to make a choice.  The name of the session missed was:  Integrating Makerspaces with Art and Technology Programs with Adam Kemp, Princeton, author of Workbench .  (Adam Kemp directs the Applied Engineering department at the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Scienceand is active in the Maker community. His first book, The Makerspace Workbench, is a compilation of years of experience designing and creating both inside and outside the classroom.)

I’ll be honest. This is the session I had meant to attend.  (I plan to check out the book as soon as possible.) I’m human, after all.

say-what

I went to the session I had intended to miss:

Road Pitch, Churn, and Growing Entrepreneurial Communities  

Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund. Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy, Faraday, Budnitz Bicycles and Mamava.
In 2011, the United States Small Business Administration named Cairn its Vermont, New England and National Financial Services Champion.

There was nothing wrong with this session. It was an opportunity to learn more about the foreign (to me) culture of capitalism in the form of challenges and pitches and churning and growing and failing like

what's your point

FreshTracks Capital goes around the state to all sorts of events and takes five minute pitches from those who have ideas.  Several are chosen to be included on a five day motorcycle tour around Vermont that brings investors and entrepreneurs to ten towns to listen to the pitches.

need-a-ride

This brought us to the end of Monday, Day One. A viewing of the film “Most likely to succeed” was held later in the evening.  I could not attend because of the two hour commute, but the irony of the title is not lost on me.

what a day

Next day of Maker Places Conference:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016, Morning Keynote:

“Maker Cities, Towns and Hamlets: How communities come together and what are the pivotal modes of change?”

Peter Hirshberg is at the epicenter of the noisy, connected world of online conversation, and has led emerging media and technology companies at the center of disruptive change for more than 20 years. Hirshberg is CEO of The Re:imagine Group, a fast growing agency helping some of the world’s best-known brands with strategy and marketing in a world of empowered and connected audiences and customers.
Previously he served as Chairman of Technorati,the largest social media ad network, as President and CEO of Gloss.com, the online prestige beauty etailer, and as Founder and CEO of Elemental Software (sold to Macromedia in 1999). He advises many educational and cultural entities, including the Computer History Museum, the Aspen Institute, the MIT SENSEable Cities Lab, and the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. He is also Co-Founder & Chairman of San Francisco’s Grey Area Foundation for the arts. Peter is a frequent technology and media industry speaker, having presented at TED, the World Economic Forum, DLD, EG the Entertainment Gathering, the 140 Character Conference, The Aspen Ideas Festival, and many other events. Peter Hirshberg earned his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College and his MBA at Wharton, and worked for nine years at a little-known firm named Apple Computer.

In unfamiliar territory once again, I did my best to remain engaged. Peter is a co-author with Dale Dougherty and Marcia Kadanoff of Maker Cities Playbook. (I wish I had read it before attending the conference). On the website of the book, I see “Maker Cities: Urban Manufacturing and Economic Renewal in American Cities.” (I’m not sure whether this is a subtitle or something else). 

shrugs

Participants were required to make a choice for the next session.  I had to miss: “Building a Community to Support Makers: The Burlington Generator Story”  with Michael Metz of Burlington Generator, Burlington City Arts, and Champlain College.

I chose to attend:

How to Inspire Early Makers  with two speakers, back to back, in this order.

  • Greg Defrancis, Montshire Museum link “Designing Spaces and Programs to Engage Children and Families in Tinkering”

    The kind of bio that impresses me:

    Greg DeFrancis, Associate Director and the Director of Education at the Museum, has spent the past 21 years exploring science and science teaching with children, families, and adults in a variety of contexts. Greg is most interested in the role of inquiry in science learning and in exploring ways to support and encourage such experiences through museum programs and exhibits, classroom curriculum and professional development for teachers.

    can't wait

    Greg currently serves as PI or co-PI on a number of large science education initiatives, including amiddle school health sciences curriculum development project funded through NIH and, The Dynamic Earth, an exhibit and public program development project on earth systems funded by NASA. He is also launching several new programs at the Montshire, including Science on Tap, a program modeled after the science café movement, and a project training climate researchers to increase their ability to present science to the public in informal learning venues. Greg recently completed a one-year fellowship with the Noyce Leadership Institute. As a Noyce Fellow, Greg worked with 17 other science museum leaders from around the world exploring leadership issues and how to expand the impact of informal science institutions in their communities.

    nailed-it

    Prior to his work at the Montshire, Greg was a classroom teacher in Vermont and Massachusetts. He received his undergraduate degree in Fisheries Biology at University of Vermont and his graduate degree in Education at Tufts University. He entered the science education field through an apprenticeship at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA. Outside of work, Greg can be found in the mountains biking, hiking, running and cross country skiing and coaching.

    Stay Golden

I just loved hearing about the Montshire Museum.  It opened when my son was young enough to enjoy going every once in a while.  It was too expensive for me at the time to bring him more than on special occasions.  I had always wished that they had a sliding admissions scale.

sad

 

Here are my tweets from the session:

tweettweet

Open ended inquiry. Nothing new about it. Question comes from the learner. Ex:Playing in sand at beach.

Engineering through tinkering is more purposeful. Based on principals.Must be challenging, develop skills and mindset, have STEM content,etc

Creativity, art, design, real tools required. This all coming from Montshire Science Museum. Promoting community of learning, sharing.

Personal relevance, being proud of products.Sharing and riffing off each other, social groups, facing each other. Place you want to hang out

The exhibit areas Montshire Museum is talking about sound *exactly* like interactive booth I bring to MakerFaires.

Except for the wood paneling and track lighting and staff and climate control.

My booth is always chaotic, outdoors (or in by bathroom), littered, casual, understaffed, un-self-conscious.

And I don’t have interns to collect data that I can analyze later. I don’t go for neatness either.

I don’t have facilitator manuals or laminated table signs. Most engineering goes into fitting everything into my car, unloading, repacking.

Now there is a children’s museum director showing the tinkering that goes into his space.


Coby studied painting and sculpture at the University of Ve­rmont and is still very active in the local art scene. Work has been displayed at the
BCA’s Firehouse Gallery, Champlain Maker Faire and the South End Art Hop and recently exhibited at theFleming Museum using projection, motion controllers, and augmented reality to showcase Picasso’s creative process.These were great sessions and inspired me so much.

bravo

Next I attended a panel facilitated by  Eugene Korsunskiy of UVM and SparkTruck and Champlain College.  From the website, his bio reads:

Eugene Korsunskiy teaches Design Thinking at the University of Vermont. Before coming to UVM, he has taught at the Stanford d.school and co-founded SparkTruck, a makerspace-on-wheels which has completed two cross-country trips and inspired thousands of kids all across America to tinker, make stuff, and develop their creative confidence. A repeat exhibitor at Maker Faire Bay Area, Eugene has been honored with two Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Awards and a Maker Faire Educator’s Choice Award. He is spending this summer building a small horse barn and learning to make wooden bowls.

I loved hearing from the panelists and wish that we could have spent more time picking their brains.

genius

Featured on the Panel were:

Coberlin Brownell is working at Champlain College as an Assistant Professor for the Communications and Creative Media department teaching in the Graphic Design Program. Currently the Education Chair for the American Institute of Graphic Artist (AIGA) Vermont Chapter and the Program Director for the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont – IT & Digital Media strand, which works with Vermont high school students exploring Game Design, Animation, Video, Interactive and Programming/Coding.
Recently completed the Master of Fine Arts Program in Emergent Media at Champlain College. Thesis work explored preserving history in a digital age using technologies like virtual environments and augmented reality. In his professional life, “Coby” worked for Jager Di Paola Kemp (JDK) designing for clients including Burton, Nike, Merrell, Timex, New Era, and XBOX 360.

My notes from Coby’s five minute talk are spotty but represent what was meaningful to me. He discussed the future and the past embedded in objects. Something about superimposing old photos with new photos or taking old photos and recreating the scene.

dragonprayer

Coby discussed how students in middle school can be guided to think beyond “getting a job” and be able to imagine themselves as thought leaders when they emerge from school. He said this in the context of “critical thought.”

touch-down

He gave an example of layering from Facebook posts. It was something about audio stories.  I’m new to Facebook and didn’t understand what he meant.

I give up

Coby discussed commercial applicability verses speculative design.  Something about thousands of possible futures, and about adaptability.

thinking

He discussed socratic dialog with materials or product.

whoa

Later, I asked a question of the panel that Coby took seriously. I’ll return to that.

very-nice

Also:

  •   Jenn Karson on Integration of Art and Technology
Jenn Karson is a sound artist with a background in musical performance. She’s performed in many different environments including the stage, bars, galleries, basements, garages, and at the drive-in. Presently she creates sound installations for galleries and nontraditional places of display. A current project involves composing with “sub ambient” sounds and developing a sound mapping application.
Trained as a classical singer and musician, she transitioned into sound work after releasing four original sound recordings with the alternative all-female pop band Zola Turn and her solo project, Bad Ju Ju. She received an MFA in Design and Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009. During her time in San Francisciso began working with DIY electronics and attended early Bay Area Maker Faires. Upon returning to Vermont she cofounded Vermont Makers in 2011. Projects that have spun out of Vermont Makers include “Vermont Libraries and Makers Spark A Culture of Innovation” that in 2014 produced 28 summer programs for 15 mostly rural Vermont Libraries. At UVM Karson is a lecturer and manages the FabLab in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS).

Jenn’s current experiements with composing music with “sub ambient” sounds intrigued me.  I’m not a musical person, but this grabbed me nonetheless. She calls these “found sounds” and gives workshops on them. She mentioned the name John Cage and described him as an experiementalist. From his wikipedia page:

“Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not “four minutes and 33 seconds of silence,” as is often assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance.[7][8] The work’s challenge to assumed definitions about musicianship and musical experience made it a popular and controversial topic both in musicology and the broader aesthetics of art and performance.”

What the?

Her description of sub ambient sound included reference to activators, purcussion resonators. One example of a sub ambient sound comes from an electric toothbrush.

pay-attention

Jenn studio has a website called studiojuju.com.  She mentioned hardware accessories, wearables, for collecting sounds that called be processed and shared to play and create. From her website, I found a description: “The JuJuScope is a device that discovers hidden worlds of sounds in everyday environments.  The JuJuScope provides access to new ways of exploring, knowing and mapping a place. Unlike most other sound devices that tune out the surrounding environment, the JuJuScope provides a unique opportunity to tune into environments; explorations with the JuJuScope activate what resonates and blurs boundaries between natural and unnatural occurrences.” There’s also a cool quote from Henry Miller: “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

epic

She’s working on a sub ambient sound lab and a social networking app. Described on her website: “The JuJuScope mobile app builds off of the core functionality of jujuscope device. The app makes way for lighter and easier to use hardware, allows for personal accounts and profiles, records sound samples, provides sound editing features and geolocates sound samples onto a shared soundmap (JuJuScape). You may purchase the piezo hardware that accompanies this app or you may follow the instructions for creating your own.”

bonus

She is making a map of sound.  JuJuScape is an online map where users of the JuJuScope app can share their found sounds with Creative Commons licensing. The juju community invites musicians and anyone one else who might find use for the unique and otherwise hidden sounds to use the jujuscape samples to create new soundworks and artworks.

on-fleek

Jenn gave a very thoughtful response to the question I asked the panel. As promised already, I’ll return to that.

And, finally:

  • Ken Howell of Champlain College Maker Lab and UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Ken Howell is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Communication & Creative Media at Champlain College where he teaches primarily in the MFA in Emergent Media Program. He also serves as faculty advisor for the college’s MakerLab and leads the college SandBox team, a group of students, faculty, and staff working out of the Emergent Media Center on new and novel human-computer interface designs. Before coming to Champlain College he taught at both New York University and New Jersey City University.
He is a practicing artist whose work has been shown at galleries in North Carolina, New York and Maryland, and most recently at the BCA Center. He has been active in the maker movement here in Vermont and is a co-founder of Vermont Makers, co-organizer of the Champlain Maker Faire, and co-founder of the Generator makerspace in Burlington, VT where he serves on the board of directors.
Ken’s current maker projects include: map paintings, a flight simulator, a studio above his garage, a video game controlled by sitting in a cardboard box, and an elaborate fairy garden with his daughter, Rose.

I just love the list of his current maker projects!

lit

Ken discussed the low-tech bias toward what tech is enabling.  He described the products of the approach as not being “precious;” they are rather things to “throw out.”

yolo

He described a project of Emergent Maker Center’s Sandbox Team called pixelCloud. From the website: “pixelCloud is an interactive sculpture in development by the EMC Sandbox team at the Champlain College MakerLab. pixelCloud makes the conceptualization of the internet as a cloud in physical and  tongue-in-cheek fashion. The project draws attention to the social media convention of reducing complex human experiences to simplified, peer approval systems. pixelCloud consists of approximately 200 individually lit cubes arranged into a cloud shape. Each cube is constructed of soda straws, coffee filters, Elmer’s glue and addressable RGB LED’s. The sculpture can be tweeted to, “reads” the emotion of the tweet, and executes lighting effects that echo that emotional quality.

wait what?

Ken said something about Icarus with wings VR (virtual reality) and something about proprioception (from dictionary.com : The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. In humans, these stimuli are detected by nerves within the body itself, as well as by the semicircular canals of the inner ear), and somethings about variance, flowers, and spacebox.

I don't know

Next I attended:

Keynote: Building Local Networks to Support Robotics and Technology Teams

I came to MPC already knowing a bit about FIRST Robotics having read a book about it. I didn’t take any notes on Steve’s talk.

whoops

Next I attended:

Community Teams working session on Building a Cross Functional Maker Community

Peter Hirshberg is at the epicenter of the noisy, connected world of online conversation, and has led emerging media and technology companies at the center of disruptive change for more than 20 years. Hirshberg is CEO of The Re:imagine Group, a fast growing agency helping some of the world’s best-known brands with strategy and marketing in a world of empowered and connected audiences and customers.
Previously he served as Chairman of Technorati,the largest social media ad network, as President and CEO of Gloss.com, the online prestige beauty etailer, and as Founder and CEO of Elemental Software (sold to Macromedia in 1999). He advises many educational and cultural entities, including the Computer History Museum, the Aspen Institute, the MIT SENSEable Cities Lab, and the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. He is also Co-Founder & Chairman of San Francisco’s Grey Area Foundation for the arts. Peter is a frequent technology and media industry speaker, having presented at TED, the World Economic Forum, DLD, EG the Entertainment Gathering, the 140 Character Conference, The Aspen Ideas Festival, and many other events. Peter Hirshberg earned his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College and his MBA at Wharton, and worked for nine years at a little-known firm named Apple Computer.

I did not take notes during this session, either.

guilty as charged

It was not out of boredom or disinterest.  I think I was just on overload. I listened to his talk on subjects that are far from my areas of expertise and tried to just take it in, gently. Marketing, branding, strategy, and all things business are not my forte. Truth be told, I’m not especially thrilled with the world of commerce and advertising. Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the communist party.  As an educator, however, my role has called upon me to  meet the needs of all comers without distinguishing between the worth or value of anyone in my sphere of influence.

True, I do try to “sell” the worth of what I teach to others. So I am not agnostic in the arena of value.  It’s simply a matter of time on task. My work has required me to go against the grain of capitalism by ignoring the invisible hand of the marketplace.  (My bank account will attest to this, much to the misfortunate of me and mine.)  This is only to say that communicating with those who come from the world of finance and industry requires that I readjust my mindset enough to follow their thoughts.  I cannot “unknow” my conditioning too quickly. It takes concerted effort to refrain from wondering

what's your point

long enough to follow the reasoning. My mind questions their assumptions repetitively to where I feel lost and alienated.

dark-cloud

But I try!

Here’s how the Re-imagine Group describes itself: “We are civic technologists, human-centered designers, researchers, wave-makers, storytellers and entrepreneurs. We harness new technologies to engage, to delight and to drive innovation in the public and private sector.” Here’s an e-book of a presentation they gave to the UN. They work with cities around the world.  Truly eye opening.  Some morning when my mind is fresh, I would like to know more about this.

rise and shine

The session brought us to the close of the conference at which time my head exploded.

It was time to do some heavy processessing of all that I’d seen and heard.

i-cant-even

Truth be told, I may have simply tuned in to a podcast for the long ride home.  But once I’d given my mind a rest from it all, I began to unpack what I’d learned.

take-a-bow

Here are some remaining questions:

  • What are some of the foundational assumptions of schooling and startup entrepreneurship that differ?
  • Should we prepare students for entrepreneurship while they are in school? If so, how?

Returning to the objectives of the conference:

  • More schools, companies, and individuals will start makerspaces and run local maker faires.

This remains to be seen, but I have since begun a Facebook account and joined Meetup groups in Vermont and New Hampshire that are starting makerspaces. I’ve also begun providing a Maker program at a local Art Center (Seven Stars).

  • Leave motivated and inspired to try something out – “Yes, I can do that!”

Yes, I have been inspired and motivated — as might be evident in this post.

  • Become aware of resources – who and where to go.

Writing this post has given me an opportunity to consolidate some of the resources I was introduced to. I have written some emails and joined virtual groups online.

  • Become connected to a local network of creators and doers.

While I am connected virtually, and will continue to see people at upcoming MakerFaires (Champlain, Randolph, and UVM), my connections are in the early stages.  But I’m working on it.

  • Appreciate making as being central to the community ecosystem in cities, towns, schools, libraries, companies, and other institutions.

Maker Places Conference definitely brought me a greater appreciation for the community ecosystem.  My appreciation of making in the sphere of education has been strong for years. I hadn’t seen how making translated outside school on this scale before. Therefore

mission accomplished

 

“Catch the Bug” from @GetTeachergeek #STEAM #makered

I took a chance on a product I hadn’t used before.  Even done that?

what happened?

In the world of making, unpredictability is welcome.

no-prob

Spoiler alert: It was harder than I expected.

woot

When it’s difficult, that means you have a perfect opportunity to learn more than you could have imagined.

Relax

It started at “Maker Camp” at Green Mountain Performing Arts Center in July, 2016.

The official title of the one week camp session was “E-Wearables,” and we did some project work in that area.  See the post on the Maker Camp experience here.

We made all kinds of things.  We made green screen videos, volcanos, e-textiles, vehicles of all sorts, and,

im-waiting

We made “bugs” and I blogged about the bugs in my blog and it was bomb.

Here’s a 9 second clip of what they are:

 

Here’s a link to the website : “Catch the Bug” from @GetTeacherGeek.

Or I’ll Bug ‘splain it to you:

It’s a bot that built onto a plastic, bug-shaped body.  It has two hobby motors that spin except when one of the tentacles bumps into a wall, causing a switch to cut off power to one or both motors.  The hobby motor shafts have plastic tubing in it that act like tires. Unlike wheels that rotate perpendicular to the ground, the turning action of the shafts is somewhat horizontal to the surface it travels on.

Need a ride.png

The first video explains the bug and shows how’s it’s made.

Warning: This one is long! Really long!

Skip through if you are not interested in soldering.  Some of the video uses Snapchat as a video creation tool. Most of it uses iMovie.  Video from the two creation tools were blended together in YouTube’s Creator Studio:

And now a short clip from Maker Camp that shows the participant giving it their best.  This video is made exclusively with the Snapchat app.  We did not send our snaps to anyone.  I did not add the snaps to my snapstory.  I just downloaded each 9-10 second stap and strung them together in YouTube’s Creator Studio:

 

To be clear, the two videos are out of order.  I tried it out at Maker Camp first. Then I brought the materials home and tinkered with them by the pool in August.

bitpool.JPGsurfwritingIMG_0541.JPG

As I was tinkering, I filmed my successes, my failures, and my rebounds from setbacks.

nailed it.png

I sent the bugs to the Maker Camp participants who expressed interest in receiving them as soon as I was able to finish the soldering.  I’m ready to do this again!

all in

Here are some videos from TeacherGeek:

 

 

k-thx

How do you feel about unexpected difficulty?

What do you do to learn from things that don’t go as you had expected?

 

Wiggle Bots from @GetTeachergeek #teachergeek #makered #steam #WiggleBots

I was introduced to Teachergeek on Kickstarter last year.  A friend from Voxer, Rachel Pierson @RPiersonEdu, tipped me off.  We both went on a pledged our sponsorship.  A few months later, our WiggleBots arrived.

 

Having been making JitterBugs and ScribbleBots for years, this kit was intriguing for a few reasons.  I like the colors for one thing.

teehee

Really, I’m that much of a kid. Also, I like the gears.  Wobbling in different ways requires the ability to expand the reach of the revolutions.  I’ll get into that part later.

 

whoa

I also like the parts that allow tinkering that lenthens the bot so that different effects can be engineered, especially how it affects the scribbling aspect.

good idea copy

Repurposing what would otherwise go to the recyling bin is something I value, too, and WiggleBots have lots of ways to do that.

So I filmed the contents of the kit:

popcorn

 

 

Then I had to pack everything up because the sun stopped shining on the deck.  That happens earlier and earlier each day and it’s sad.

whaa

The next day I brought the stuff out again, set up the camera, and got back to tinkering.

teeshirt

 

Here’s what I put together using the boomerang app on my iphone:

Here’s a clip that I posted to twitter:

 

 

Then it started raining and I had to put everything back indoors.

cry

Here are some videos from @GetTeacherGeek that show the possibilities:

And:

All the parts are back indoors and I’m thinking, “What will I create this evening?”

guess what

I have no idea.

Have you ever made something that moves?

Have you ever made something that scribbles?

Rutland Mini #MakerFaire #ecg2016 #vermont

EdCampGlobal is a virtual form of EdCamp.  EdCamp is a type of “un-conference” that is organized by volunteers.  It serves educators who seek free professional development in a collaborative spirit that allows them to pick and choose what to consume.  It allows educators to share their own questions, skills, knowledge, interests with others.

TEAM AWESOME

EdCamp normally takes place in person at sites all over the world.  The EdCamp Foundation is a central organization that offers assistance and support. EdCampGlobal takes the EdCamp philosophy and “uploads” it into online spaces.  It’s available to anyone who registers online.  Once registered, participants can choose from multiple offerings.

 

done and done

Registrants can also offer to host sessions online.  Looking at my calendar, I saw that I would be facilitating an interactive booth at a MakerFaire in Rutland, Vermont on July 30. So I offered to broadcast live from my booth using Periscope.  Most educators have never been to a MakerFaire. It seemed like a way to open up the experience to those who had not yet experienced it in real life.

megaphone

At the appointed time, I began the broadcast which I later uploaded to YouTube.  On Periscope, viewers can participate virtually by commenting and asking questions that are posted in text on the screen.  Those texts are not visible on the recording that is saved to the camera roll, so they are not visible on the YouTube version.  It sometimes seems strange to hear the broadcaster speaking replies to viewers when you cannot see the actual comments.

what it is

 

I happened to be going through a slight lull in traffic to my booth, which was a welcome break for me.  The broadcast, for that reason, was not as informational.  What it did allow for, however, was an opportunity to walk around the MakerFaire and show what else was going on.  It also allowed me to explain what the viewers were seeing.

shrugs

The same MakerFaire in the previous year (2015) was the first time I had used Periscope to broadcast an event.  Here’s that recording:

 

I was incredibly busy that day and able to enlist help from the people who came to the booth to make JitterBugs and ScribbleBots.  I especially liked how participants were able to get feedback from the viewers.  I hope to Periscope from the next MakerFaire if I get a chance.

woot

Champlain MiniMakerFaire is at Shelburne Farms on September 24-25, 2016.

Have you been to a MakerFaire?

Have you been to an EdCamp or any other kind of Un-Conference?

 

#PassthescopeEDU August 2016 What we learned this summer and how we will implement it

 

August 18, 2016

The August topic for #passthescopeEDU circled around summer learning and how we would implement our new learning into our upcoming work.

what's good

Two evening prior to our broadcast, we did a quick promo.  It also served as a practice run for people who were new.  (Note, the recording does not include the text comments from the live audience.) Here’s my scope:

By the way, the hearts I referred to are Snapchats way of allowing viewers to praise your broadcast.  Each tap on the screen comes across as a heart.Periscope keeps track of how many hearts you have accumulated in total since you first opened your account.

much love.png

On Thursday, I happened to be especially busy even though “vacation” continues.  My work involved writing proposals for upcoming Maker programs for the fall.  I am constantly applying new learning and planning for more learning.

 

sobusy

Since establishing a circle of fellow educators on Snapchat, I’ve been having fun with the lenses as I keep in touch as document my work. Below is a “Snapstory” that led up to the evening’s Periscope broadcast followed by an update the next morning.  In it,  I lightheartedly tell about our purpose in broadcasting. The next day, I followed up with some questions that came to me overnight.

oh?

I had been careful to not go on too long, which meant that I left things incomplete.  For instance, I mentioned on Thursday that my soldering iron was very basic and that I needed to upgrade. In the Snapstory on Friday I told about the lead-free solder and the different types that are availabe.  I also showed the Teacher Geek Bug robots that had been started during July’s Maker camp.

And here is the actual broadcast that went out as part of #passthescopeEDU Thursday evening.  I was not fully prepared! In fact, I was lucky that I managed to start on time.  I had been setting up an extension cord for the soldering iron when time slipped away for a little while.  All of a sudden, I just jumped on.

Oh no

It was okay; I did fine. Wish I had styled my hair, but

whatever

 

Here is a link to my blog post about Maker camp that I referenced. E-wearables at Green Mountain Performing Arts Company.

While on the subject of Making and Arts, here is a link to a post I was asked to write for EdSurge: Why Making and the Arts Need Each Other in Schools to Survive and Thrive | EdSurge News.

As soon as I finished the Periscope broadcast Thursday evening, I went back to twitter to correct the time I had announced for @mmebrady.  It wasn’t 6:15.  I should have said 6:30.

whoops.png

What did you learn this summer?

How will you implement your new learning?

 

 

 

 

 

E-Wearables Camp at Green Mountain Performing Arts July 2016

August 17, 2016

This post has been a long time in the making because it was the first in a series of Maker experiences this summer.  I’m still not at the blogging expertise level that allows a blogger to just crank out a post as soon as there is something to write about. No. WordPress is still something with which I wrestle.

struggle is real

Not to be too dramatic about it, but putting together the YouTube videos and managing those links and getting them in the right places continues taking me more time than it should.  To be managable, I need a better workflow.

But here it is.  When I was first invited to put together a week-long Maker experience at Green Mountain Performing Arts, I didn’t know that “camp” was different than the type of camps I went to as a kid.  I imagined a big camp with lots of programs running all at once.  I thought I would have a group of campers that would come to be from their previous workshop, spend some time with my workshop, and then move on to their next workshop.  That was not how it really works.

shrugs

As it turned out, my offering would be the entire camp experience for the participants for their day. There were no camp counselors or anything. We met in a performing arts center that was empty during the hours of camp.  Ballet and Hip Hop classes took place in the evenings. We set up shop in the lobby, with plenty of space for our needs, and had access to the dance studios when we needed it. It was air conditioned.

woot

Going through all my materials to pack separately for the workshops turned out to be impractical.  I just piled all my stuff in the car.  When I got there the building was empty and I thought maybe I was on the wrong day in the wrong place.  It turned out that I was only early.  The Director arrived and unlocked the door.  I carried in my stuff. The lobby had tables and lots of space to hold my stuff.  This was going to be great.

whoa

Instead of working outdoors with heat and bugs, we had a nice contained space.  I had time to unpack and prepare before the campers arrived.  As their parents/caregivers started bringing them in, I had my Digital LED Belt out. (I had made at Constructing Modern Knowledge . It was turned on to show the lights blinking in an amazing array of colors and beats.) This is video I made using Snapchat at the conference where I made the belt:

 

Campers included four wonderful children ranging in age from six through eleven. Skip ahead to Monday Day One to see video of our first day.  We tinkered with Snap Circuits.  Then Wiggle Bots.  We use Snapchat video creation tool, but we did not post our snaps on that platform.  We saved to camera roll and added to YouTube clips.  We also made some green screen videos.

popcorn

What follows is a look at some of the material/equipment that I had with me.  You can slip over it now and come back to it later if you are interested.  Just go down to “Monday – Day One.”

Here are some things that can be done with Teachergeek WiggleBots :

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another product from the same company: Teachergeek bugs

We made them later in the week.

 

 

Here’s the camp experience:

Monday – Day One

We were getting acquainted.  The first day of anything is a “get acquainted” day.  We began with some Snap Circuits, some Wiggle Bots and some Snapchat.  We later got to some green screen video and some different kinds of tinkering.  When parents/caregivers came to pick up their kids, we realized that in four hours no one had eaten a snack. Incredible.  I simply forgot to bring a snack. And those who brought a snack never asked if they could eat it.  We were so absorbed in creation. We may have a been a bit nervous.  I can go all day without eating, but I try to eat before I  realize that I’ve lost my pep.

onempty

 

 

Tuesday – Day Two

I began the afternoon with a Periscope broadcast before the children arrived:

(Note: Periscope is a live stream broadcast.  People in my circle were commenting through text on the screen and I was responding.  Once the video is saved to the cameral roll, those text comments are no longer visible.)

 

We made ScribbleBots using a mixture of TeacherGeek materials and materials that I bring to MakerFaires such as ScribbleBots and JitterBugs.  We made more green screen videos and Snapchat clips, too.  Notice how the markers were ingeniusly used in ways that had nothing to do with scribbling! That was cool.

yodawg

I love seeing the first child on the greenscreen in rapt attention as he figured out how the sample green screen background worked.  It was fascinating to watch as he learned. The other children chose their own backgrounds from Pixabay.  This site offers free clips that do not require citations of the source.  By the way, our green screen is simply a plastic shower curtain liner. It’s not perfect, but it works.

Here is a video that I produced with help from RETN about making JitterBugs a few years back:

Here is a video of Bubber, which was a favorite of one of the participant during the latter part of the week:

Wednesday Day Three

I began the day once again with a Periscope broadcast to show both the belt (worn as a necklace for ease of view) and the masks we were going to make that day:

 

We starting making what are often called e-textiles.  Here is a link to my first blog post on e-textiles.  We filmed using Snapchat as usual, and we incorporated use of the LittleBits.  We continued using the Wiggle Bot materials in ways they were not intended for. That’s what tinkering is all about!

team awesome

We also starting using the soldering iron.  We were trying to repair on of my MaKey Makeys.  See below for a video showing what a MaKay Makey is.  We continued making greenscreen videos.  It’s great watching the same boy as before beginning to really interact with the background.  It’s a sample that is provided by the app, DoInk.  Later in the week, he starts chosing his own backgrounds.

clap

 

 

Thursday – Day Four

I didn’t have time for a Periscope broadcast on Thursday.  I was preparing for some new things we would be doing. We were making something more complicated and following directions as opposed to free-style tinkering.  As usual, we used Snapchat to film ourselves.  By the way, I was still trying to repair the MaKey Makey that needed some soldering.  No luck.

Oh no

We began working on the Teachergeek bugs . See above for videos from the company.

At first we were using the soldering iron to soften the plastic so that we could bend it. It worked just fine.  The next day, when we tried to use it for soldering, we had difficulty.  But we only got part way through the project on Thursday.  You will see that we made more green screen videos and used Snapchat to film each other.

This was the day when we once again attempted to film in a collaborative manner.  The children started finding costumes (mostly hats and masks) and props (mostly candycane canes that they used as swords), and worked to try to agree on the backgrounds.  It was not easy!  We had moved into the dance studio by this time. Some of them were a little camera shy at times. Some of them were very interested in physical comedy and less interested in story or plot.

interesting

There was no doubt that a lot of fun was had by all:

 

Friday – Day Five

The video I put together below, as with most of the videos I edited in the past week, does not show events in the order in which they occured.  The boy who was singing using all the different Snapchat lenses was probably recording himself while I was recording someone else doing something else.  Sometimes I would get to a certain point and realize that a certain child had not had a chance to play with the lenses so I would hand them my ipod and tell suggest they go play with it.

Meanwhile, we were doing more than green screen video production.  It wasn’t filmed.  The participant were doing all kinds of tinkering, but I was using that time to help others choose the backgrounds for their green screen video.  Or, I was sitting with a group facilitating their plans for the video.  In some cases, the plans were abandonned in favor of improvisation, as you’ll see.

what it is

 

 

One thing I did not get any video for was the time we spent on the MaKey Makey.  But here is a video that shoes what the MaKey Makey is all about:

 

We had a great week.  I was tired by the end.  Mostly, I was elated by all the fun.  But the driving (I live over an hour away) and the loading and unloading of materials/equipment took their toll.  I had no time to rest or reflect but Saturday was the Rutland MiniMakerFaire at which I was to facilitate my interactive booth.  I simply weeded out anything not needed at the faire and left it on one side of the garage to sort through later.  The rest went back in the car.  After a good night of sleep, I was off to Rutland.

Later, after yet another conference (Maker Places Conference in Burlington, Vermont) I was able to take some time to reflect on the week.  There will be a post on that.

i'm on it

What are your experiences with tinkering?

How do you feel in front of a video camera?

 

 

 

 

 

 

CreateMakeLearn 2016 #cml16 #passthescopeEDU

This year CreateMakeLearn was a spur of the moment experience, much like the first year that I went.  This time, though, I knew about it in advance.  My plan, however, had been to do another week of Maker Camp (tentative name).  When there wasn’t enough enrollment, and Lucie wrote to ask if I was interested in attending in order to document and post on social media, it was an easy

yes.

The idea — later to be dismissed as overreach — was to attend as a participant who also happened to be documenting the event. wait what?

Yeah, I knew that was a stretch.  Somehow, though, I managed to bring all my Maker gear with me in my Prius and unload it into the Generator makerspace in Burlington, Vermont.

what a day

It was a two hour drive each way five days in a row.  I barely had time to eat. The first day, I don’t think I ate until I got home.  On the last day, I was walking around filming with the camera in one hand and stuff my face with a sandwich in the other.  Garbanzo beans were falling out of the sandwich and onto the floor. *walks right over them*

lets do lunch.png

I scaled down on my plans pretty early on.  I continued to live-stream via Periscope, post to Instagram, use Snapchat to produce little video clips that I later uploaded to Google-Plus and Twitter, etc.  (No one at CreateMakeLearn used Snapchat for anything but personal stuff.)  Most of my time was spent uploading and downloading from one platform to another, writing captions, editing in YouTube, etc.

what it is

So the Making simply did not get off the ground.  I still created and learned, but didn’t really make anything tangible.  It was an excellent opportunity to practice using Instagram, which I’d only used on occasion.  It was a great opportunity to try out my iRig microphone with my iPad on Periscope to filter out ambient noise.  Of course, that meant that the mic had to be right up to someone’s mouth to hear anything.  Kevin Jarret, Maker Extraordinaire and all around Great Guy, was a good enough sport to play along and let me broadcast/record a few minutes of his talk.  So were a few of the participants, but most of the sound consisted of my own narration.

what's your point

Here is a preview that I did while awaiting the group’s return after their morning up the hiss at Champlain College.

 

Here is a preview of the entire Generator makerspace:

 

After they ate lunch and walked down the hill, we started the first workshops.

Here’s Monday afternoon with Leah Joly and Kevin Jarrett on the MaKey MaKey, a device invented at the MIT Media Lab. First, see the MaKey MaKey

makmak

Flashback to two years ago:

I had just purchased my iPad and MacBookAir, having been on Windows for decades. Didn’t know how to operate any of it except to get past the passcode and press play on the camera.  That was basically the extent of my knowledge of iOS and Mac operating systems.

Yikes

And now I’m doing this with Snapchat:

It was a fun day. Drove home, Monday night, then turned around and drove back Tuesday morning.  Only I went to RETN for a workshop I had attended a few years ago that had inspired me to buy an iPad and the rest is history.  Regional Educational Television Network runs workshops for teachers so that they can incorporate video production into the curriculum.  It was a great refresher for me since I had been so overwhelmed when I went through it the first time.

Here’s the part on audio:

Here’s the part on video:

 

And then we took some pictures to get a feel for how the light affects them.  The assignment was to take selfies all around in different degrees of light with different angles.

Click here for storify of Instagram

Here we are wrapping up for the morning on Tuesday:

 

We had lunch over at RETN and then back to Generator for the afternoon.

Lucie delaBrue gave a workshop on Raspberry Pi and Kevin Jarrett with Shannon Walters gave a workshop on Toy Hacking.

I had to stop to deal with the tripod issue.  I’m sharing the whole process here!  Did I ever get the picture on the correct orientation?

NOOOOOO

It was another great day at Create Make Learn!

Drove home, then back two hours again.

Wednesday morning:

???

On Wednesday afternoon we went to UVM Physics Department.

First we had a great discussion about the confluence of Making and Engineering.  We were hosted by                 , Physics Professor, and joined by the Education Coordinator at the ECHO Leahy Aquarium down on the waterfront.

After a visit to an older lab (above), we went down the Glass shop where test tubes and other equipment is made by the resident glass blower:

We were given a bunch of stuff by the Physics Department because their building was being torn down and they were moving into the new building being built. Grabbed a bunch of little trinkets.

Drove two hours home, slept, then back in theThursday morning for Cardboard Teck.  This was one of the highlights for me.

clap

 

Was that not fantastic? Okay, well you need to see how they turned out:

 

I didn’t do any video recording on Thursday afternoon.  Instead, I did some curation.  Using Storify, I collected the still photos I had been sharing on Instagram.  I also updated the Google Plus page.

 

I went home Thursday night and returned Friday.  I was late getting out the door and rolled into town late, pretty well exhausted.  I had an appointment to have my hair cut and highlighted, so did not get the ECHO Leahy Acquarium until the afternoon:

Before leaving the museum, I had some fun with Snapchat:

 

What an amazing week!  I was exhausted! And Saturday was the Rutland MiniMakerFaire, which I also Periscoped. But you’ll have to wait for my next post for that..

take it easy

Do you have a routine for documenting as your are learning?

Is it difficult to do both?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 21, 2016 #PassthescopeEDU What’s New? Creative Mojo.

 

After Constructive Modern Knowledge Conference (my last post), my task was to play “passthescopeEDU” with a network of educators who are exploring social media to amplify our voices. This means a five to ten minute live-streamed video post that we take turns with all day, once per month.

Periscope is our app, hence the name #passthescopeEDU. We’ve been experimenting with it for about a year and are now using it more. It allows us to read an audience including our selves and those who happen to follow us and anyone else who happens to jump on board. Each month, we work on expanding our reach a bit more and developing our skill with the medium.

you can do it

The theme in July was about our “creative mojo” and whatever was “new” in our worlds.

i'm on it

There was a lot on my plate, and the impulse was to make sure I covered it all. That’s what being a classroom teacher does to us as presenters.  We feel that we need to cover it all.

sobusy

While I did make a list to have nearby, I made it a point not to look at it.  (I made it until the last moment.)  Instead, I worked on having an interesting introduction and a graphic that would look at least a tiny bit polished.  I have not been trying to make a huge impression, by any means.

anything for you

It’s more that our network is developing some consistency and attempting to keep some momentum.  For me, I need to be myself.  I can’t make myself into something I’m not. This effort is to enhance what I have, not to alter my image.

IMG_0361

So I used the Digital LED Belt to begin the broadcast, and worked out a way to use the tripod so that I could step back.  It was a little awkward when I had to remove the iphone from the tripod and carry it with me to the deck where I planned to sit.  Also, I realized that I had planned to use my laptop to display the Canva image I had made. This was not a good idea.  I should have had it on my iPad and held it up to the camera on the phone.

Imoverit

I showed the view from the deck as a segue into sitting at the table, and I managed to cover most of what I intended.  It was great to have an audience to interact with. This is the power of Periscope.  Unfortunately, when I download the recording, the comments from the audience do not download with it.  So the recording, which I then uploaded to YouTube, shows me interacting with an invisible audience.  Now that Periscope is maintaining the broadcasts, I can also link directly to Periscope TV.

Enjoy the show:

popcorn

 

 

What’s new with you?

How’s your creative mojo?

(Nearly Complete) Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016 (Text Only) #cmk16

Trinket Challenge at Constructing Modern Knowledge

Monday, July 11, 2016

Constructing Modern Knowledge is the “unconference” that considers teachers capable of mastering difficult knowledge and skills.  Or, as Gary Stager says, “We don’t treat you like idiots.” Straight talk. Instead of learning how to use the Googles, educators attending #cmk16 learn in an atmosphere imbued with cutting edge technology where the hood is lifted.  Educators are allowed to get as deep as they can in the workings of electronic platforms and their components.

We spent the day working on Trinket, getting it to blink, double blink, triple blink, work a servo motor, and more. Here is a thread of my snaps: https://youtu.be/cAhesLmpVEM

We worked alone and together. We went out for lunch in area sandwich spots and the park in bunches.  We gathered at the end to reflect upon what the experience of learning meant to us individually, and heard what the faculty thought about the experiences we were having.

Gary Stager, who tells us what he really thinks to a fault and beyond, gave us some historical perspective about learning breadboarding and coding.  He had a teacher, Mr. Jones, who taught him as a kid.  He learning computer programming in MUCH more depth than “Hour of Code.” Here are a few snaps of him threaded together: https://youtu.be/YJU8GpyfBRs

And now the second day is getting started.  I’ve listened to the opening remarks, introcution of faculty, explation of the structure – and lack thereof – and the choosing of projects.  Here is a snap thread from that:  https://youtu.be/im94yyRB5HU

Click here to see  the photos of the ideas that were offered on flickr.

Now I have work to do, so, if you’ll excuse me…..

  • What are you creating today?

 

Flexibly choosing first project to start

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Last year at Constructing Modern Knowledge , an “un-conference,” was my first.  I was a noob. And that was fine.  I experienced the whole catastrophe that comes from having been schooled for life to do what I’m told and being an educator for 20 years being expected to design learning experiences for others in which they will never wonder what is expected of them or what why we’re doing what we’re doing.  Administrators are supposed to be able to walk through a classroom and see posted on your wall “learning intentions” that are cross referenced to Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the Vermont Framework for Learning.  And it has to align with Grade Level Expectations and Quality Expectations.

We decide here what we want to do based on curiosity — both intellectual and creative — and passion, which sounds great until it hits you suddenly. And the choices are practically unlimited.  You meet people, mostly educators, who are likewise both stoked and intimidated.  You jump in and go through all the stages of excitement, panic, overload, accomplishment, failure, frustration, and lots of other emotions and states of being.

This year I didn’t want to be in a group.  Not because I don’t like people. In part because I do like people.  A lot.  I would like to be silly and learn about their dogs and kids and jobs and make sure they feel included in every decision and happy with all the outcomes.  I decided shortly before coming here that I would go solo so that I could focus.  I could stay home, but it’s not the same.  Here there is a powerful surge of energy that comes from people on missions. People normally focused on young people in their charge and presently given permission to focus on their own learning.

I brought with me some projects which I prepared for by collecting items and reading up.  I have every intention of documenting my work with everything from pictures to video to blog posts and more.

My first project didn’t work out because I had purchased the wrong part by mistake.  I tried a work-around and it was going to be more complicated than I wanted to deal with so I chose a different project.  I quickly realized that I had not purchased enough of the parts and doubted that I could find the exact parts I needed here. https://youtu.be/R9pSlQy5F1M

There is a ton of stuff made available here at the institute, but I just decided to go with a project for which I know I have everything: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adafruit/5387932657

https://flic.kr/p/9hgnPj

I started by making sure I really have everything I need.  I threaded together some snaps of the parts as well as a preview of the tutorial online at Adafruit.

This project will involve soldering which I’m not really great at.  I’ve barely done it.  I’ve also welded, but under close supervision.  (Won’t need to do any welding this week….)

Here’s a preview of what I’ll be doing tomorrow: https://youtu.be/pL2F_i-R7B8

Tonight, we are going to a Brazilian Steak House just as we did last year.  I was on a meat-free phase last year. So I ate bread and salad. I was meat-free all winter, but have fallen off that phase lately.  So I’ll be indulging.  🐂🐃🐄

  • Have you made any wearable electronics?
  • Does any of it interest you?

Making Up My Mind at #cmk16 and Carla Rinaldi Illuminates Us

Wednesday, July 13, 2014

Tuesday, the first day of #cmk16 proper, was not as productive as I hoped, but I accept it.  I am ready to proceed.  My mind is ready. My plan for documentation is ready. I’m beginning now.

Click here for an Adafruit tutorial for what I’m making.

And here is the preview I put together Tuesday: https://youtu.be/pL2F_i-R7B8

The process of choosing a project to start with took me on a few goose chases related to my own poor planning. But I’m prepared for this project so I’m good to go.

Reflection time was helpful to me since I’m working solo and yet don’t wish to be isolated. We went out to Gauchos Brazillian Steak House, the tradition at CMK, where I managed to sit with people I hadn’t yet met.  The conversation was fabulous because we all had some commonality of interests and experiences which was made even more amazing given all the differences in our backgrounds, positions, and passions.  We talked about woodworking, programming, all kinds of things, with an enthusiasm rarely found in a team meeting at school. Collaboration at dinner can be so much easier than during the work day.

So that was Tuesday, the halfway point in the CMK journey. Then came Wednesday, which was the day for the keynote speaker.  Carla Rinaldi gave a riveting presentation. She had some slides, but the way she spoke was the highlight.

It was a moving presentation that I will carry with me moving forward.

In my next post, I will pick up where Carla’s Rinaldi’s talk left off.

  • What do you think about Carla’s ideas?
  • What do you know about Reggio Emilia?
  • Is there anything about it that strikes a chord?

Digital LED Belt, Soldering at #cmk16 and MIT Media Lab

Wednesday, July 13, 2014

My last post ended with Carla Rinaldi’s presentation at #cmk16.  Link to it here.

Then I got to work on my Digital LED Belt. The link to the Adafruit tutorial is here.

My previous SnapStory overview of the project was in an earlier post.

Here is Part One of a SnapStory of my Wednesday work: https://youtu.be/WrRhK5MDerw

During this clip I solder pins to a board. I also attach the board to the LED strip. Both these steps were done incorrectly. So this clip shows where I make two critical errors which come back to haunt me later.  They are:

  • My soldering job is inadequate to the point where it renders the board completely inoperable. I just didn’t get it right. Plain and simple.  Later, Karen will notice this after we have done some trouble shooting.  It ends up being easily corrected.  But it marks an important juncture in my learning journey.
  • The directionality of the current through the belt is backwards. The coding instructs the board what to send into the belt to make the LED’s do what they are coded to do.  There is a direction through which they must go.  They must enter through the ends marked CI and DI.  Those I’s stand for inputs.  I was able to see the C’s and D’s, but the print was so small that I didn’t notice the I’s.  Likewise, on the other end of the belt, it says CO and DO.  I saw the C’s and D’s but not the O’s.  I simply didn’t realize that I was on the wrong end of the belt.  Fortunately, this is something pretty easily fixed.  Ben helped me realize the error and I fixed it myself.  I write more about this at the end of the week.

Here is Part Two of Wednesday’s work: https://youtu.be/eNm8IlXul_I

What I’m doing in this clip is downloading the code to make the belt light up in the pattern that has been designed for it.  Eventually, my plan is to alter the lighting pattern and combine it with other components such as sensors (accelerometer or light or sound).  During this clip, I first make sure I have the latest Arduino IDE for TeensyDuino.  Then I try to get the code for the belt from Adafruit’s GitHub.  Since the IDE is open source, my operating system (Mac) wants to make sure that I don’t download something unsafe.  So I have to unlock it to allow me to download it.

After briefly reflecting as a large group on our work for the day, we left for MIT Media Lab in the afternoon in a bus.

Here is a replica of MIT Media given by the LEGO foundation in honor of their 30th anniversay of collaboration: (pic)

The first thing Mitch Resnick did was show us a video. https://vimeo.com/143858250

This gave us some context about the collaboration and how it evolved. (Tweets from the evening)

  • How do you feel about the Computational Revolution?
  • Have you noticed the signs of its approach, of its accelleration?
  • How will schools adjust?

That Digital LED Belt, Though    #cmk16

Thursday, July 14, 2014

Last night at MIT Media Lab in Boston was phenomenal.

Here’s the video.

And then this morning it was time to get back to working on the Digital LED Belt that was documented in my last post.

Here is the geeked out learning in all its Snapchat glory:

Here’s Part One: https://youtu.be/nwLvtyrBaX8

This clip shows me removing the solder from the board using something referred to as a “solder sucker.”  It wasn’t difficult.  The short circuit is removed and we move on. Once Karen and I get the computer able to sense the board, we are able to have the computer lead us to the list of boards that are available in the Arduino IDE. We settle that part of the project.  We get the blink.  Getting a blink is a good sign!

Here’s Part Two: https://youtu.be/bCLhBfyU02s

 

The clip shows me removing the solder from the board using something referred to as a “solder sucker.”  It wasn’t difficult.  . I simply heated up the solder on the pins so that I could vacuum it into a syringe. The short circuit is removed and we move on. When I brought it back, we had a big win. A light lit up.  This felt empowering!

The feeling of independence made the successes sweeter.  The feeling of independence made the struggles lonelier.  The atmosphere at CMK is supportive in a way that energizes without overloading.  If you feel overloaded, it’s because you haven’t yet learned that you don’t have to be. If you feel jazzed up, you can do a happy dance without self-consciousness.  If you feel overwhelmed, you can reach out and everyone will know what you’re going through. You are not alone.

Then we encounter another problem.  We don’t discover the solution (or the exact problem) right away.  We get to it the following day.  (By “we” I’m referring to Ben and me.) During this clip, Karen gets the blink of the board, but we don’t get the belt to light up. Karen gets strategic with the multimeter.  We want to rule out some connection issues before moving on.  But the multimeter wouldn’t work.  I wasn’t sure if there were batteries in it.  When I checked, they turned out to be there.  Assuming they were dead, I took them out and replaced them.  Still didn’t work.  I ended up putting the old ones back in and it worked.  Surely, there is a logical explanation for that! They must have been situated in such a way that the connection would not hold.  No problem. It’s working, and that’s what matters.

But then it was time to regroup. I’ve done some file management, some reflection, some blogging, and I’m ready to get back to work.

My big takeaway is the power of nearby support.  At home, when I run into difficulty, the experience is rarely empowering.  It takes such a heavy lift to figure out where to turn.  My wheels spin.  I second guess myself.  I get distracted.  But with support available, and with people all around who are going through similar trials, I can persevere without losing the passion.

  • What situations drain your enthusiasm?
  • Why is it that one experience of struggle can bring you down when another can power you up?

 

What Learning Is / What Documentation Is              #cmk16

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My previous post was about my learning experience connecting an Atmega32u4 breakoutboard to the Arduino IDE and to an LED belt. With assistance.

The posts this week are all from Constructing Modern Knowledge Un-Conference in Manchester, NH, with Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, and the rest of the amazing intellectuals they run with.

After a long morning of learning, documented in the above post, I joined the large group for a panel discussion conducted among Carla Rinaldi, Gary Stager, and Edith Ackerman. The purpose was to have an opportunity, promised each year of CMK, to have conversations. Conferences in which speakers fly in and are ushered to the podium in a hermetically sealed packet only to be ushered out to the airport with barely a handshake or a selfie are not the CMK experience. Speakers spend the week with us.  They are by our sides engaging with us.  They accompany us to the dinner at Gauchos, they join us on our trip to MIT Media Lab, and they participate with our projects.  We learn next to them.  They learn next to us.

(Tweets from the panel removed from post)

To have our un-conference leaders sharing their thoughts and questions with each other in a collegial manner is not as easy on your attention as being presented to. We are not being entertained or having our preconceived notions validated.  We don’t come to CMK for the opportunity to hear from our heroes on the speaker circuit. CMK is not an elitest gathering, but it is an intellectual experience.  It is not a Disney movie.  Not being a cinema goer, the closest picture I can compare CMK to is The Matrix.

Okay, it’s nothing like the Matrix, but it is closer to The Matrix than to any Disney movie I’ve ever seen.  The point being, you cannot be entertained by CMK without allowing yourself to dig deep into the learning process, deep enough to be affected by the ideas you are asked to consider.  It’s all-consuming which is part of why it’s called “hard fun.”

I love it. It taxes me. It gives me the boost that I need. It reminds me that professional development is not about “learning to use the Google,” to quote Gary. “Making kids behave” is also not on the agenda here.  This is a circus atmosphere.  When you are on the flying trapeze, precision is needed. When you create something that has never been made, you are flyer through the air without a net.

CMK is a juggling act.  We are thinking, creating, wondering, proecessing, communicating, inventing, questioning, demonstrating, documenting, and, sometimes, tweeting. Here are some

Finally, later in the evening, a tweet came across linking to an Edutopia post about “Assessment in Making:”

Here’s the link. My disappointment with it are the questions it offers.  The questions are offered as a framework for exploring “assessment in making” and they disappoint:

“1. Does maker education raise test scores?”

imho:   This question should not be asked about making. If you are asking this question about making, you are expecting to enhance learning experiences through the exact lens that has been degrading learning experiences for so long.

  1. What is a maker curriculum, and how might we align it with standards?

imho:   This question should not be asked about making.  To design a curriculum around making is a worthy quest. To have the chief goal the alignment “standards” (which ones?) is, once again, expecting to enhance learning experiences through the exact lens that has been degrading learning experiences for so long. It’s not the standards themselves that degrade learning, it’s the relentless pursuit of proving them reached that has degraded the learning environments we find outselves in.

But that’s none of my business.

  1. How can I assess making?

imho:   Assessment of making is a worthy endeavor when it focuses on the right things. When it has the learner as the center, assessment can look at what the learner cares about. It can assess what the learner thinks and feels about the making.

It is at this point in the post that the authors bring up “Assessing 21st-Century Skills” and “Digital Portfolios,” including some examples.  Check them out.

For the record, I understand that the authors of the post, Stephanie Chang and Chad Ratliff, are constrained by the conversation in which we are all immersed: test scores and standards. My beef with the post is that I believe changing the conversation is just as important as the quest for assessment of making. I do, however, understand the need we all have to stay in the conversation.

Here is the video embedded in the post:  https://youtu.be/_MDOB5-ocQc

My final comment on the Edutopia post is its emphasis, commonly placed upon the maker movement, on reaching the disengaged learners. My wish would be an emphasis on preventing disengagement in the first place. Making should not be defended as a prescription for students who have failed to thrive without it.  Let’s promote making as a way to enhance the learning environments all students are in.

Thanks for listening to my rant.

  • How do you document maker experiences?
  • How do you assess making?

Last Day at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016             #cmk16

July 20, 2016 (Written about Friday, July 15, 2015)

I have finally finished replacing the videos lost to earlier posts, and I’m ready to complete my final post about Constructing Modern Knowledge.

A previous post about the institute, #cmk16, left off with my Digital LED Belt project in progress Thursday morning. (Between then and now, I posted about a panel discussion held at CMK Thursday afternoon.)

After the panel discussion on Thursday, we had a brief reflection. Lots of my fellow Un-Conference participants at CMK went back to the work area on Thursday evening.  Not me. I grabbed a garlic/mushroom pizza and collapsed in my hotel room to edit video and catch up on the day’s events in the world at large.

We all got right to work Friday morning and it was exceptionally productive.

Tracy (and then Ben) helped me discover the solutions to problems I was having uploading the code to make the belt light up like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adafruit/5387932657

My videos (below) show the experiemental process of figuring out that the problems stemmed from issues:

  • in the soldering
  • in the directionality
  • in the order in which I would hit one button and then the other

There are five video clips.

The first shows Ben leading me to understand the coding issue.

https://youtu.be/8KsJG4Bzezs

This style of learning — wherein the learner independently makes things, tinkers, takes chances, runs experiments, and seeks help when truly stuck — requires  more than a growth mindset.  One must be able to communicate without overwhelming, have trust, be patient, be proactive, listen, make decisions, maintain momentum, and get out of one’s own way.

These abilities fall into the category sometimes referred to as “soft skills.” Adding to the complexity, theses soft skills are being applied en masse. Without all of them functioning, a blow-out is likely. (Fortunately, nothing like that happened at CMK.)

In practice, these soft skills are required of the “teachers” as well. If a teacher is overbearing or aloof, the system fails.  Collaboration between individuals in a working group or in a class would add to the complexity of instructional dynamics.  A room full of high-maintenance individuals and a cranky teacher can throw a monkey wrench into the learning process.  If you were to add to that a fire drill, a health problem, a wifi loss, or some type of stress from outside the learning environment, things could break down altogether — even when all parties have good soft skills on board. I was lucky. (We all were.)

The second video clip shows me fixing my original soldering job.

https://youtu.be/8KsJG4Bzezs

Having soldered several times in the past, I came to CMK will some  decent soldering skills. They were not strong, but they were there.  I had received instruction, but had not truly had the motivation to want something to function for me.  In other words, I had lacked the passion that a special project can bring.  So I had soldered and simply seen the results of my work. There was no sense of accomplishment.

This time, I was able to internalize the direct correlation between quality of soldering work to outcome of project.

That soldering iron is gonna get that connection right!

The third video shows Ben taking my newly repaired soldering and getting the belt to light up correctly. He showed me how the code needs to be uploaded in exact timing with the pushing of the reset button.  Also, the video shows me attaching the power supply by soldering a diode to connect two wires (one positive and one negative) in the correct direction:

https://youtu.be/I_B2EnqbMR0

One of the recurring themes in my learning this week is that directionality is important. Early on, I had failed to take into account the fact that the LED’s would need to be powered and programmed from a specific direction.  The print on the LED strip was so small — and buried under thick plastic — that I did not make out the “I” for Input and the “O” for output.  It says DI and CI on one end and DO and CO on the other end. I only saw the C’s and D’s. Each end had looked the same to me, with each end having a C and a D.  I didn’t question it. That error made it necessary for me to redo the the connection, but that was “okay” for several reasons. Yes, it put me behind schedule.  But when it was time to solder the diode, I understood that I had to LOOK for the correct direction, and that I had to maintain it. It’s a lesson I won’t have to learn again. Next time, I will look for the end that is input and the end that is output. No one will have to remind me.  I own it.

The fourth clip shows me finishing up the soldering and then coating it with rubber tubing that is shrunk with heat from the iron:

https://youtu.be/mlXDH1gvh4o

Take away:

It’s important to turn on the switch when you want something to work.

Likewise, knowing that I am prone to absent mindedly neglect such wisdom, I can compensate for this by taking extra precautions such as deciding to BOTH turn off the switch AND remove the batteries when it’s time to solder.

The fifth clip shows the finishing touches, including the dramatic end when the belt lights up with all the code working.  I think the chocolate helped.

https://youtu.be/cODNt5CbtnA

By the time that I had to connect the power supply to the board, I had developed two drives within me — working in tandem:

One drive was toward precision.  Of course I always want to be precise.  But, this time, I really, really, really wanted to make sure that I hit the nail on the head. And I did.

The other drive was to study the inner workings of the project. I didn’t just want to get it working so that I could be done with it.  I wanted to master it. I wanted to be the agent of my destiny. Ego? Probably. But in a good way, I think. I was feeling more and more control over the outcome of the project and it felt good. The sense of control came from a combination of knowledge and confidence.

And I did get it right. I’m not gonna lie: it’s an awesome feeling.

My colleagues, too, made some amazing things.  It was an honor to be among them.

Next is a video of most all of the other projects at CMK:

https://youtu.be/y0rawNYEH1k

Give it up for the people who persevered to create.

Finally, here is a video from the closing session in which we reflected with the faculty on the experiences we had. And Neil Diamond Kareoke.

https://youtu.be/b6e87tWuOaM

To Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, and all the good people of Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016: Thank you.

  • Have you ever been to an “un-conference”?
  • Which professional gatherings have inspired you to continue the work into the future?

Last Day at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016 #cmk16

July 20, 2016 (Written about Friday, July 15, 2016)

I have finally finished replacing the videos lost to earlier posts, and I’m ready to complete my final post about Constructing Modern Knowledge.

A previous post about the institute, #cmk16, left off with my Digital LED Belt project in progress Thursday morning. (Between then and now, I posted about a panel discussion held at CMK Thursday afternoon.)

After the panel discussion on Thursday, we had a brief reflection. Lots of my fellow Un-Conference participants at CMK went back to the work area on Thursday evening.  Not me. I grabbed a garlic/mushroom pizza and collapsed in my hotel room to edit video and catch up on the day’s events in the world at large.

can't sleep

We all got right to work Friday morning and it was exceptionally productive.

Tracy (and then Ben) helped me discover the solutions to problems I was having uploading the code to make the belt light up like this:

led strip

My videos (below) show the experiemental process of figuring out that the problems stemmed from issues:

  • in the soldering
  • in the directionality
  • in the order in which I would hit one button and then the other

There are five video clips.

The first shows Ben leading me to understand the coding issue.

This style of learning — wherein the learner independently makes things, tinkers, takes chances, runs experiments, and seeks help when truly stuck — requires  more than a growth mindset.  One must be able to communicate without overwhelming, have trust, be patient, be proactive, listen, make decisions, maintain momentum, and get out of one’s own way.

These abilities fall into the category sometimes referred to as “soft skills.” Adding to the complexity, theses soft skills are being applied en masse. Without all of them functioning, a blow-out is likely. (Fortunately, nothing like that happened at CMK.)

In practice, these soft skills are required of the “teachers” as well. If a teacher is overbearing or aloof, the system fails.  Collaboration between individuals in a working group or in a class would add to the complexity of instructional dynamics.  A room full of high-maintenance individuals and a cranky teacher can throw a monkey wrench into the learning process.  If you were to add to that a fire drill, a health problem, a wifi loss, or some type of stress from outside the learning environment, things could break down altogether — even when all parties have good soft skills on board. I was lucky. (We all were.)

Stay Golden.png

The second video clip shows me fixing my original soldering job.

Having soldered several times in the past, I came to CMK will some  decent soldering skills. They were not strong, but they were there.  I had received instruction, but had not truly had the motivation to want something to function for me.  In other words, I had lacked the passion that a special project can bring.  So I had soldered and seen the results of my work and been like:

meh

This time, I was able to internalize the direct correlation between quality of soldering work to outcome of project. It’s like

brace yourself.png

That soldering iron is gonna get that connection right!

all in.png

The third video shows Ben taking my newly repaired soldering and getting the belt to light up correctly. He showed me how the code needs to be uploaded in exact timing with the pushing of the reset button.  Also, the video shows me attaching the power supply by soldering a diode to connect two wires (one positive and one negative) in the correct direction:

One of the recurring themes in my learning this week is that directionality is important. Early on, I had failed to take account of the fact that the LED’s would need to be powered and programmed from a specific direction.  The print on the LED strip was so small — and buried under thick plastic — that I did not make out the “I” for Input and the “O” for output.  They had looked the same to me.  I didn’t question it. That make it necessary for me to redo the the connection, but that was

OK.png

for several reasons. Yes, it put me behind schedule.  But when it was time to solder the diode, I understood that I had to LOOK for the correct direction and maintain it. It’s a lesson I won’t have to learn again.

Th fourth clip shows me finishing up the soldering and then coating it with rubber tubing that is shrunk with heat from the iron:

Take away:

It’s important to turn on the switch when you want something to work.

duh.png

Likewise, knowing that I am prone to absent mindedly neglect such wisdom, I can compensate for this by taking extra precautions such as deciding to both turn off the switch AND remove the batteries when it’s time to solder.

The fifth clip shows the finishing touches, including the dramatic end when the belt lights up with all the code working.  I think the chocolate helped.

By the time that I had to connect the power supply to the board, I had developed two internal drives working in tandem:

One drive was toward precision.  Of course I always want to be precise.  But, this time, I really, really, really wanted to make sure that I hit the nail on the head. And I did.

The other drive was to study the inner workings of the project. I didn’t just want to get it working so that I could be done with it.  I wanted to master it. I wanted to be the agent of my destiny. Ego? Probably. But in a good way. I was feeling more and more control over the outcome of the project and it felt good. The sense of control came from a combination of knowledge and confidence.

you can do it.png

And I did.

killin' it.png

I’m not gonna lie: it’s an awesome feeling.

 

My colleagues, too, made some amazing things.

It was an honor to be among them.

blessed

Next is a video of most all of the other projects at CMK:

Give it up for the people who persevered to create:

clap

Finally, here is a video from the closing session in which we reflected with the faculty on the experiences we had. And Neil Diamond Kareoke. It was

lit:

 

keep it hundred

To Gary Stager, Sylvia Martinez, and all the good people of Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016:

respect

Have you ever been to an un-conference?

Which professional gatherings have inspired you to continue the work into the future?