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.


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.


  • 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.  


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).


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. 


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.


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.


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, 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). 


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.


    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.



Here are my tweets from the session:


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.


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 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.


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.


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.”


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.


He discussed socratic dialog with materials or product.


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



  •   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.


Jenn studio has a website called  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.”


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.”


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.


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!


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.”


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 : 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.


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, 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.


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.


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.


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.


Spoiler alert: It was harder than I expected.


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


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,


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.


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:




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.


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.



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:




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.


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



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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Have you been to a MakerFaire?

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