Saturday Afternoon Workshops
James Joshua Coleman (University of Pennsylvania)
What does it mean to be a maker or a computer scientist? Where are conflicts and connections in one’s story? How does one become part of the story? In this workshop, we will introduce a maker activity to help participants understand how computing and maker identities can be developed through promoting connections to students’ interests, communities, and history. You will get to combine the historical practice of quilting—which has allowed marginalized groups to represent their cultural identities and histories—with programmable paper circuits in order to reimagine and “restory” the dominant stories of making and computing through the design of interactive quilts. By drawing from your personal experiences with computing and identifying dominant stories, we will design paper-circuit-based quilts that tell new stories—about what computing and making are used for, how the field came to be, and who participates! Throughout the workshop activities, you will reflect on your experiences and discuss possible ways to integrate restorying into your own maker activities.
Katie Henry (Micro:bit Educational Foundation)
Build dynamic sculptures and bring them to life with servo motors controlled by a micro:bit! This workshop integrates mechanical construction, coding, design thinking, and debugging in the context of an open-ended physical computing activity. Participants will design and build dynamic sculptures and bring them to life with servo motors controlled by a micro:bit. In the process, they’ll learn how to make mechanisms that convert rotational servo motion into various other kinds of motion. They will also learn the usefulness of resilience in the creation process, both for the creators and for those who lead those creators in open-ended STEAM activities. Our artistic focus will be the conference theme “Making as Resistance and Resilience”. Coding will be done with MicroBlocks, a free, easy-to-learn, Scratch-like language for physical computing. MicroBlocks provides a “live” programming experience, similar to Scratch, that encourages exploration, experimentation, empowerment, and deep engagement.
Aaron Vanderwerff (Maker Ed)
Experience a new take on working with sustainable materials in your classrooms, fablabs, and makerspaces. This workshop will unlock the possibilities of the “second-life” materials that are the byproduct of making, while simultaneously examining the systems around these materials. Tree-based, plastic, and fabric waste will be investigated, refashioned, and reimagined into masterpieces worthy of display and reflection. By engaging with materials and a set of prompts, participants will gain a deeper understanding of materials through systems thinking routines. During this hands-on, minds-on, workshop, participants will develop discipline-agnostic sustainable maker activities for the classroom, as well as a pedagogical framework for developing classroom content through connected ideas.
Jeff Mizener (The Fab Lab at WorkChops)
GoBabyGo is a highly-recognizable, national program, started at U of Delaware, that makes unique modifications to battery-powered electric toy cars for children with disabilities, enabling those children to be more mobile in their homes, years before they are eligible for a power wheelchair. Facilitators will share their curriculum for this program as well as their experiences with hacking the cars, each of which must be individually tailored to its recipient. Participants in this workshop will learn how to deliver a unique program to young people at the high school level who wish to learn and utilize design and tech skills while also doing community service. Topics covered will include the history of the national program and problems of information sharing between local ones, what resources are available, what materials are required, how the cars work and how to hack them, and what fabrication/printing/programming (Arduino, etc.) can be utilized. Participants should have at least some exposure to digital fabrication and Fab Labs/makerspaces; they should be interested in learning more about the topic and potentially bringing an active program to the community and students they serve.
Arnan Sipitakiat (Chiang Mai University)
In this workshop, participants will be introduced to a prototype of an upcoming physical computing platform called the GoGo Board version 6. Inspired by “programmable bricks” at MIT, the GoGo Board was first conceived in 2000 as a low-cost implementation for schools. This workshop will highlight how the GoGo Board has evolved and adapted to the changing physical computing landscape while still keeping Papert’s learning principles at its core. Participants will work in small groups to learn how to use and program the GoGo Board version 6 and construct a small project. Participants will then join a discussion about how this platform compares to other mainstream platforms using Papert’s perspectives on computers, children, and powerful ideas.
Colin Dixon (Concord Consortium)
Data literacy is increasingly important, yet many efforts focus on representing data with insufficient attention to developing critical yet agentive stance toward data – one that questions why data were produced, while also encouraging learners to act with, not just think about, data. This workshop shares the Tangible Data platform (TADA) for transforming datasets into stories told through the creation of dynamic maker sculptures. Together we will: (1) learn how to use TADA and its affordances for K-12 communities (2) collaboratively build a public art piece that displays datasets along with climate and social indicator data selected by participants (like happiness index, GDP, etc.), and (3) share strategies for using TADA in educational contexts. In data science, educating for resistance and resilience is critical for the health of democracy and society. TADA embraces that challenge by providing new ways to interact with and come to understand data, to bring data beyond the spreadsheet and into the community, and to pose data as a tool for creative, human and meaningful, as well as analytic, work.
Alejandro Ferreira (Universidad Tecnológica)
In this workshop we aim at providing teachers with tools to introduce coding through storytelling by designing text-based experiences. This workshop will be centered around the design of a collaborative, interactive, non-linear story in which each learner can develop one persona with a storyline that will merge with other learners’ storylines. In order to create this collaborative adventure, participants will be invited to design a physical prototype of the plot. Additionally, participants will be shown how to code their stories using the text-based programming software Twine which allows users to write non-linear stories while coding different text-based features such as stats, objects, secret passages, among other. Finally, the instructors will show how different stories written on Twine can be merged into a single interactive experience. This workshop will provide an original entry point for teachers willing to introduce programming to students who may be more inclined towards Language Arts and creative storytelling.
Tamar Fuhrmann (Columbia University)
The challenges of scaling educational innovations across large and complex public education systems with numerous civic, private and political stakeholders are many. Often, there is under-investment in the creation and deployment of the tools and training needed to develop effective organizational change agents that can lead scaling of new programs through district, state and national levels. This two-part workshop will allow participants to actively engage in determining key practices necessary for successful makerspace program scaling by abstracting from a case study set within a failing U.S. district-level makerspace program implementation. The case study technique used in part one of the workshop will parallel that which is often used in business schools and allows participants to imagine themselves in the shoes of the case protagonist and analyze what they would or would not do in particular situation. Part two of the workshop will delve more deeply into a single dimension of effective change management using a ‘card game’ exercise which will require participants to reflect individually and in groups on relevant issues and risks within their own scaling initiatives.
Sunday Morning Workshops
Christine Boyer (Scarsdale Union Free School District)
During this workshop, participants will work through a Design Thinking experience using The Extraordinaires Cards and a hands on sewing experience. These activities are an organic way to weave making into any school curriculum. Starting with a Visible Thinking Routine (See, Think, Wonder) to look closely at their character, participants will learn the importance of empathy in design as they create and prototype (with a variety of materials) a product for their Extraordinaire. The conductive sewing project encourages participants/students to persevere through the design process, while learning circuitry and electrical connections. We offer two different perspectives as we are a classroom teacher and a tech specialist working together to elevate learning and level the playing field for all learners. We do this through the lens of Design Thinking and Making. Our goal is to integrate curriculum, challenge the status quo, and encourage a growth mindset in all educators and students. This in turn builds and strengthens resiliency in our students and across our curriculum. The maker movement may not be entirely new because as humans we love to tinker, create and build stuff. However, due to STEM and STEAM initiatives in school districts across the country, the momentum has certainly picked up. Cultivating a maker mindset, means integrating the makerspace into the very fabric of a school and it’s curriculum.
Godwyn Morris (Dazzling Discoveries)
Transform simple supplies into engineering explorations for you and your students. This hands-on workshop will get you cutting, folding, connecting and building in a matter of minutes, with materials you already have in your classroom. We will start by learning a paper engineering “alphabet” of techniques and then explore ways to apply it to any subject or topic. Using paper, tape, paper clips and other classroom essentials you will learn how to build creative projects that align with your curriculum and state standards. From marble runs to bridges to catapults to habitats and more; you will be ready to implement new activities when you are back in your classroom.
Truuske Budding (De Onderwijsspecialisten & Fabrica)
By working together on creating a shadow play we will be learning at the interface of art, technology and science. In the Netherlands we have gained successful experiences by working together. An example of this is our regional school project that took shape in the collaboration between the teachers’ college, primary schools, the library, an artists’ collective and a FabLab. Students made shadow plays inspired by our national book week theme ‘Travel with us!’ In this way they addressed the challenges for a sustainable future, experimented with language, learned about geometry, made creative use of digital technology, learned about light and shadow, and developed artistic and creative capacity. This project is the starting point for our workshop. First, we will talk about the importance of networks and co-creation. Then we go to work hands-on starting with a choice from 5 mini workshops. 1. Maker Education in Dutch primary-schools. 2. Programming a microcomputer that controls a servo motor with which the figures in the shadow play can be set in motion. 3. Exploring the properties of sound, light and shadow so that we can later apply these insights in the shadow play. 4. Making forms inspired by works from the visual arts. 5. Exploring the possibilities of different transmissions and connections. With the acquired knowledge and skills, we will together depict the future of maker education in a shadow play. Hereby we follow the Dutch method of design thinking and / or the creative process. At the end we will reflect on the shadow play made and try to formulate possible directions for the future of maker education.
Saskia Leggett (Creative Learning Designer)
Join us to build a collaborative chain reaction machine infused with digital elements! We will work in small group with micro:bit, servo motors and sensors programmed in the make:code block based coding language. Projects will be connected using the bluetooth radio function of the microcontroller providing an immersive framework to the experience. In the session, participants will get a sense of the method for taking an existing making/tinkering activity like building Rube Goldberg machines and adding computational elements. We’ll discuss the learning outcomes that creative coding activities support and share practical tips for initializing similar activities in a classroom environment.
ComPHOrtable Schools is an active learning experience where attendees will develop an idea and build a prototype to make the school or classroom environment more comfortable and inclusive through photonics, machine learning, digital fabrication, electronics and coding. This workshop is a result of research project and has been designed for participants experiment at first hand how learning about artificial intelligence and machine learning can be carried out in conjunction with other skills often developed within a maker centered learning environment through a methodology that can be applied in a classroom context.
Rita Junqueira de Camargo (Instituto Catalisador)
This workshop will introduce participants to the Circles of Inventions (CoI) program through a few cases and a brief illustration of the theoretical foundations. Participants will also actively engage in a Circle of Inventions followed by a debrief of the experience. The Program Circles of Inventions, an initiative by the Brazilian non-profit Instituto Catalisador , began as a constructionist activity in public libraries in Brazil where, after reading sessions, children engaged in the creation of meaningful personal narratives through the construction of artifacts to be played with and shared. Today, the program has evolved to include diverse non-formal educational spaces as well as schools. The CoI framework and Catalyst Kit were developed to bring, through easy implementation, CoI into schools. Circles of Inventions allow for a maker-centered learning practice that fosters the thinking and sharing of narratives, ideas and 3 dimensional drafts related local and global issues, in a culturally responsive, purposeful, meaningful and personal way.
Saber Khan (Processing Foundation & Packer Collegiate Institute)
Maria Dolores Delgado (Garner Holt Education through Imagination)
In this workshop, led by FabLearn Fellow Sarah Alfonso Emerson, and colleagues at Garner Holt Education through Imagination, the world’s largest manufacturer of theme park animatronics, participants will engage in an integrated project in which they will build an animatronic figure using parts from makerspace equipment such as vacuum formers, waterjets, 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills. Participants will power and code the animatronic figure’s movements via a Micro:bit controller. Participants will also engage in various figure finishing arts techniques to include sculpting, costuming, sewing, and air brushing. Animatronics is a unique industry within robotics, in which the purpose is to educate, inform, and entertain an audience- thus, a main goal of this workshop is for participants to spend time imagining and creating an animatronic figure that has intentionally programmed movements to tell a story to an audience. Participants should walk away understanding how animatronics projects can tie makerspace technologies and 3D arts techniques into one integrated project in order to give intentional focus to student storytelling and career exploration.