#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.



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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.


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.




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.


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


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


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.


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?


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.



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.


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.


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.


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:




What’s new with you?

How’s your creative mojo?