Friday, May 18, 2012

Maker Faire Educator MeetUp

Yesterday I attended the Maker Faire Educator MeetUp at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. I was only able to attend one hour as I had two school open houses to attend, but, wow, what a great preview! It was very inspiring.

Marc de Vinck, Director of Product Development for Makezine, invites educators to experiment with LED lights and batteries.
The first station I came upon was this visually inviting one with colorful LED lights and batteries. This is a great hands on lead-in exploration to introduce youth to electrical circuitry. It is also inexpensive. Marc de Vinck told me that best way to source the LED lights is by searching for bulk LED lights is on eBay (about 1.80 for pack of 15 lights). The lithium batteries are from IKEA and a pack of 8 is $2.00. A roll of duct tape from Home Depot is around $4.00. So for about $17.00 (including shipping costs) you can conduct this really memorable and fun exercise in a classroom of 33. There are cool collaborative public art projects using these components. I saw this video quite a few years ago, but it is stuck in my head:
I would love to do a project that integrates these LED throwies (the most expensive components are the rare-earth magnets...the cheapest that would work are around .15 cents each)

The other booth/station I spent a lot of time at was hosted by BrainSpaces in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Their Maker Faire project invites youth to envision a better school locker. Their project site is elegant and so very well structured to walk one through the design process. It was incredibly inspiring to chat with Kelly Tanner of Brain Spaces and I wish I had know about this project earlier. It overlaps a lot with what I am doing in the Slot Shelters project and the Seeking Shelter Design Challenge.

You can see in the image below how engrossed educators were in exploring Google SketchUp to create their lockers.

As I walked to my car I took a picture of a public art project that will be installed during the Maker Faire. To me this dandelion sculpture (I think it lights up at night) really symbolizes the Educator MeetUp; teachers will return to their classrooms with seeds of inspiration for projects to engage their students with in the coming academic year. We have the summer to stew upon ideas. Can't wait to see what grows from these seeds of thoughts planted.

No comments:

Post a Comment