Audio essays, ampli-ties, and quadcopters (oh my!)

The creative non-fiction class is working on audio essays based on the Kitchen Sisters’ “Making Of…” series.

Their assignment is to find someone on campus who makes something and interview that person (or people), and then–of course–craft an audio essay.  I got the chance to talk to the students about the maker movement, makers, hackers, motivations for making things, and theories that may or may not explain why the “maker movement” exists.  It was exciting to watch them start to think about the makers in their lives.  After a few minutes of thinking, there was, “My mother’s friend is a doctor, and although she’s busy, she finds the time to make and sell really beautiful pottery.”  And “My friend paints shoes and sells them.”  There was even some, “I think Mr. Rider probably makes something.  Let’s go talk to him.”  I loved that the students wanted to reconnect with an old middle school teacher through making.

The visit inspired me to get going on the Flora LED Ampli-Tie that I’ve been wanting to make since summer.

I pulled out the supplies this afternoon, ordered a few parts I was missing, and started in on the instructions.  I’m looking forward to having two of these ties ready to go for the theater manager and the performing arts director in the next week or two.

I was thinking about the Ampli-Tie project this morning, and it occurred to me that I haven’t pulled the supplies out of the storage bin, because there was so much else to do.  There was a ton of “real work.”  Working on the ties seemed like a waste of time.  Definitely something that could be moved to the bottom of the to-do list.  That’s silly thinking.  The makerspace has been too quiet.  There’s no reason not to get in there a few times a week even if it’s to work on something small and/or quick.

Luckily not everyone thinks like I do.  A junior is about two weeks into research for a drone project.  After quickly reaching the limits of a Parrot quadcopter, this student is planning to build a quadcopter inspired by the creations of Justin in Victoria, Australia.  Film Club and some teachers in the science department are already coming up with ways they can use the quadcopter.  I’m looking forward to watching this project evolve.