— Design Make Teach (@DesignMakeTeach) July 9, 2014
Like DS106, my experiences at Constructing Modern Knowledge have influenced the way I approach many facets of my life from what I do in a school and library to how I parent my son. The the DS106 community, I feel connected to many of the passionate and creative people I met in Manchester, New Hampshire last summer.
One day I’ll go back to CMK, but this summer I’m trying my best to recreate the CMK spirit in my own town.
I’ve been exploring e-textiles by mixing the old (embroidery) with the new (the e-textiles).
I’ve been trying my hand at entry-level robotics by playing with the Finch and Snap! with hopes of using the Finch as a way to really learn Python. Though the content seems attainable and Dr. Chuck is personable, the Coursera model isn’t for me.
I’m also playing around with the Mousebot, which is not less about robotics or even electronics and more about soldering practice for me.
I don’t know if the Mousebot works yet, because I am still soldering. It’s sometimes difficult to complete a project in a timely manner when one only has a couple of hours a few nights a week to work on it (and the other things that vie for my attention).
God, I really hope that Mousebot works.
Back in January, I mentioned my hopes of doing a local version of CMK during a #makered chat. Andrew said (and I paraphrase, because I can’t find the twitter thread) that it only counts if one doesn’t work alone in a basement. That resonated with me, and I’m trying to get out to work with other people. Or at least forge relationships that will eventually lead to my working with other talented, passionate, and curious folks.
I loaded up my son and a bunch of tools and toys in a rental car and headed to Roanoke for a “Petting Zoo Times Two” program at their public library. Outside were ducks, alpacas, goats, rabbits, etc. Inside were robots, a 3D printer, a Makey Makey, e-textiles, and LED throwies sans magnets.
Here’s what you should know: kids will go nuts over LEDs and coin batteries even if there are no magnets and throwing involved. One saavy, young attendee made several LED doodads toward the end of the night and said he would sell them for $12. I don’t think he was successful, but I admire the entrepreneurial spirit.
I also reupped my membership at Hack.RVA, where there is a vast library… in the bathroom. Because I have a stunted sense of humor, I adore that.
I also adore the abundance of expertise that exists with other members and their willingness to share. RVA Maker Guild also hosts many events at Hack.RVA. Some of the events are even child friendly.
There are more connections to be made in Richmond. A Coder Dojo has recently started up at the public library. Rebecca Dovi is hoping to open computer science opportunities up to more kids in the area with CodeVA. The list really does continue.
But this is enough writing for now. I have to get back to that Mousebot and that Finch and the notebook hacking and another embroidery/Lilypad project that I’m kicking around that involves the Sauer’s sign here in Richmond.