Sunday, September 25, 2011

Maker Faire NY

I had the great fortune of attending Maker Faire NY for the second time. What a thrill! And this time the highlight was bringing some of my students. I decided to bring a few students from each age division of our school so everyone from young to old could enjoy it. I plan to have the students present pictures and videos to their peers and talk briefly about what they found inspiring and exciting.

What amazed me was that most of the projects on exhibit were different from last year. Of course some things have already become and deserve to be standard fare, such as MakerBots and the Life Size Mouse Trap. But the growth of affordable 3D printer technology was evident with so many more types on exhibit. I'm just amazed at the successful effort to coordinate so many new makers and their work in one place. What an event!

Some highlights were watching my older students attend a 25 minute presentation at the lockpicking booth so determined to learn the secrets inside the average lock, seeing the younger students' delight at 3D printers printing chocolate and cheese, the middle schoolers playing with the robotic drummer, walking into a wacky techno duo set bathed in technicolor patterns with Game Boys and Casios hanging off the musicians, and interacting with so many kinds of robots. Putting Flip cameras in the hands of the students was great because as our groups split up to explore different areas I got to learn about twice as many amazing projects than I would have had we stayed in one group, like the keyboard-on-a-glove.

The best thing about the whole trip was the chance to show girls the huge variety of applied science and technology there was to see. It was a great step in our effort to help them see themselves as makers of technology and not just consumers of it.

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