Tag Archives: New York

Great #designthinking and @littleBits prototyping workshop led by @lesheepo at @beamcenternyc tonight! 

I had a great time participating in a 2.5 hour design thinking exercise that included a rapid prototyping experience with littleBits (@littleBits).  Special thanks to Nancy Otero (@LeSheepo) for leading the free event and inviting educators to attend. http://beamcenter.org/connectedteaching

The Beam Center in Red Hook, Brooklyn is a large Makerspace which boasts woodworking, laser cutting, tools, and experimenting facilities with space for classes and instruction.  Tonight’s plan was advertised as an introduction to the Stanford University/IDEO method of design thinking. Participants will engage in a project-challenge using the tools and attitude of d.thinking and build their prototype with littleBits.

The problem we tackled was to rethink the gift-giving experience. First we interviewed and re-interviewed each other using questions to gain empathy with our subject. We used a d.school worksheet, Interview for Empathy, to inspire our queries. The purpose is to understand “a person’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations, so that you can determine how to innovate for him or her. By understanding the choices that person makes and the behaviors that person engages in, you can identify their needs, and design to meet those needs.”

Next we brainstormed with our group an ideal user with a specific need based on our insight. This is the Point Of View Madlib that reframed the design challenge into an “actionable problem statement that will launch you into generative ideation.”

We crafted a user who is a “mild control freak who wants to give/offer gifts that she could enjoy with the recipient as a shared experience.” To that end, our prototype consisted of a machine I dubbed GIFTR which allowed both parties to decide if the experience would be mutually appreciated before moving forward (a little Tinder, a little Pinterest, a little Love Connection). We used a “double and” bit, two dimmers, a synth but, and a servo motor. Thus, both people could decide how much a particular activity appealed to them. Only when they were both at a 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5) did the synth bit light up and power the motor to clink together two bottles, as in the act of toasting or cheering each other.

Per the Beam Center’s website:

Beam Center is a Brooklyn-based community of learning where artists guide young creators aged 6 to 18. Our hands-on programs in technology, imagination and craft help young people build their character, courage to think for themselves, and capacity for collaboration and invention.

The Beam Center grew out of the Inventgenuity Festival, which we first held in 2010 at Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center to introduce families to Beam Camp. The popularity of that event led us to build a set of interconnected programs in New York that all share the basic philosophy of Beam, which celebrates the special alchemy between instructors who are passionate experts in their craft and young people who are given space and encouragement to invent and create.

Beam Center’s core programs are Inventgenuity Workshops, after-school programs for young people in grades 2-6; BeamWorks, in which teams of high school students collaborate with master practitioners of design, craft and engineering; and the WindowShop Residency, which offers artists both a high-visibility storefront space and an opportunity to share how they make things with the kids of the Beam Center community. We also host community events where kids and artists learn from each other.

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Public School P.S.10 in Brooklyn gets flash mobbed on 6/19/12 (via @rcuza)

Raul Cuza (@rcuza) is awesome. I wish I’d fully realized that when I had the chance to work with him for a short stretch at Convent of the Sacred Heart a million years ago. Instead, I was too ignorant to appreciate his dry humor, esoteric references, and complicated maneuvers to simplify the management of our school’s network.  That has changed. Among his other gifts, Raul shares amazing links and resources with our NYCIST community (that I often re-share) via our listserv. Here’s an example from a recent post:

Public School P.S.10 in Brooklyn New York gets flash mobbed on the
morning of June 19th, 2012: http://vimeo.com/44485679

I’ll add my #justdontgetit rant in a reply to this email so as not to
spoil it for you. Despite being distracted by old school schooling
#missingthepoint it felt good to see so many parents interfering in
the school life of their middle schoolers. Maybe if frequent
interruptions to the status quo happened, we wont raise a generation
of fabulous test takers (oops a different rant just reared its head).
signing off for now.

Raúl

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Me and @PaulieGee (or How my Twitter feed feeds me)

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In the midst of a night out in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I stopped to sup at Paulie Gee’s. Paulie serves up delicious brick oven pizzas with poetic names and ridiculously tasty combinations. It is worth ordering more than one Baconmarmalade Picante, as this is one you don’t want to stress about sharing. I checked into Paulie Gee’s on Foursquare (which I link to Twitter and Facebook). Contrary to what my less public friends believe, I don’t share everything, and I’m mostly selective about what I do choose to post.

The pizzas were delicious, and when I finally came up for air, I noticed a man in the open kitchen area looking at his iPhone and doing that tell-tale thumb-scroll down the screen. Then this man leaned over to talk to one of the servers, and she motioned over to my table. I immediately deduced this guy was Paulie, and he had just read my tweet. He came over, shook hands with us all, told us we ordered correctly (as he was almost out of kale and figs), and gifted me my bacon marmalade vanilla ice cream sundae for dessert. I’ll be back in a heartbeat.

I’ve been trying to get my faculty to use Twitter for a few years now, and not for just desserts. I follow hundreds of educators and technologists who share ridiculously awesome project ideas, websites, gadgets, hot topics, survey data, blog posts, humor, and personal insights. I forward tons of links to my faculty, and I try to always include the Twitter username of the original poster to reinforce who to follow for great resources.

I frequently explain the concept of a PLN to teachers at my school. I am blessed with multiple Personal Learning Networks, and I tell how Twitter introduced me to many people in my field or who share interests in food, music, technology, New York, travel, photography, etc. At Educon, EdCampPhilly, NAIS, TEDxNYED, TEDxDenverEd, TEDxEast, and ISTE, it was such fun to finally meet face-to-face people that I’d been following for minutes, days, months, or years. I show how the convention of Twitter hashtags makes it so much easier to find new people to follow, join thematic discussions, and virtually attend a conference/meeting. Finally, I differentiate between aggregators and aggravators; One gathers news for me, and the other gets an eventual unfollow.

Ultimately, Twitter is a microblogging tool and a social networking site, and I hope I reach some sort of balance between using it socially and professionally without alienating/annoying every one of my contacts. Or perhaps I’m kidding myself. Last month, I was on a tour of Pearl Harbor. The guide asked if there were any celebrities amongst us. I deadpanned, “I’m a minor celebrity on Twitter.” Another lady in our group returned, “Only in your own mind.” I would have preferred a retweet.

 

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