Tag Archives: tinker

My new passion project



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Pics from @BrynMawrSchool’s innovation lab. Thanks for the tour, @KennedyKristen! #edcampIS #MakerEd


A highlight of today’s @edcampIS at @BrynMawrSchool today was my awesome tour of the Innovation Lab from their Director of Innovation, Kristen Kennedy. Like many maker-educators I meet, Kristen taught herself most of what she knows, and she continues to learn constantly. The Upper School lab spaces were previously occupied by other departments (Art, languages, technology), and were revamped two years ago to be agile, flexible, and collaborative learning spaces for fabricating, making, and tinkering. Architects designed the spaces and Kristen’s colleagues (including Director of Technology, Justin Curtis) made choices for location, mobility, permanence, storage, and use of equipment.

Writeable surfaces abound:

Long flat storage areas and counters for work space (with tools mounted on the walls above) were important features to consider:

There is a HUGE Shopbot (under a fascinating ventilation system) and lots of other fun machines including a vacuum sealer, drill press, lathe, table saw, multiple 3D printers, laser printer, etching machine, and more. Larger items are often on wheels to make them mobile and allow for them to be easily moved out of the way and under counters when not in use:

The space also allows for many areas to showcase past and current projects:

As for classroom learning strategies, I learned a few from Kristen including why there was a container of mini ducks. I sometimes encourage students to “ask three then me” in order to get them to ask each other before continually seeking answers from just me. The duck takes it a step further; rather than ask the teacher or a classmate a question, they are encouraged to “ask the duck” — this made me laugh out loud.


I also learned that Kristen is a fan of Rocketbook Wave and the Rocketbook app. I’d only ever seen the Kickstarter campaign for the notebook that can be reused by heating it up in a microwave, whereupon the ink disappears and the papers are again free to be written upon. Kristen makes photocopies of Rocketbook pages, hands them out to students to write on, and then uses the free Rocketbook app to snap a pic of each page. Thus, she gathers and organizes PDFs of student notes into their class’s section (using the symbols at the bottom of the page and the QR code). From the Roketbook app’s download page:

The Rocketbook app works in conjunction with the Rocketbook Notebook. Rocketbook allows people to enjoy the pleasure of writing in a traditional paper and pen notebook, while digitizing all notes and sending them to the cloud, using your smartphone.

Kristen told me she’ll be offering a PD workshop for teachers this summer. Stay tuned!

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Amazing! @smartinez & @garystager are offering a free e-book of *Invent To Learn* this week!

The mitzvah of the day goes to Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager for offering a free Kindle version of their recently published and wildly helpful guide for makers and educators, Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom!

I’m quoted on page 101 in the book, by the way. I talk about how we have used 3D printers at The School at Columbia University. 🙂

Click here for the link: http://www.inventtolearn.com/free/

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Heading to #MakerFaireNYC at @nysci this weekend?

This is the third year in a row that I’ve organized an outing of teachers to go to the Maker Faire in NYC at the Hall of Science in Queens. (Bonus bargain-shopper tip: Get a Sunday Family Pass of 5 tix for $70)

Here are a few ways to score free tickets:

— There are 250 free tickets available (first-come, first-served basis) for the Maker Faire Education Community. In order to receive a free ticket, please complete the following:
1. Fill out this short survey to join our Maker Faire Education Community
2. Email a photo and short (1-3 sentence) description of something that you have made (either inside or outside of the classroom, with or without your students to educationday@makermedia.com

— There are also free tickets available if you join Maker Faire’s Maker Corps Program. There is a separate sign-up link here: http://makercorpatworldmakerfaire2013.eventbrite.com/

— There is an Educator Meetup on Thursday, September 19 from 4-7pm at the Hall of Science. I think all attendees will get a pass to the Maker Faire (though I’m not 100% certain).

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