Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tech Valley Center of Gravity

Today, I had the opportunity to visit The Tech Valley Center of Gravity, http://www.tvcog.net/. Their website does not do this spot justice. What a beautiful open space for creativity to flow! It is impressive to learn that many of the shared resources at the space are available thanks to donations. This just reinforces that you never know until you ask. Ask away! Light refreshments were served as tours of the space were guided.

One of the items that truly caught my eye was two types of electronic signage. One was similar to a rectangular monitor but instead of being used in the usual landscape mode. This sign was hung on the wall in portrait mode (aka longways along the wall). Way to "think outside the box". Another was a display sign that changed its content to explain what the THINQubator was (children's area to share skills with the younger set). This was a great kick-off to the NYS Makers Summit. I look forward to tomorrow.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Think Beyond the Popular

Recently also, I was visiting a local pharmacy chain. Naturally anything left over with a Valentine's Day them is surprisingly well marked-down. We have a new energy efficient system where if people are not active enough in #OurSTEAMCafe, the lights go out. I do appreciate that so that we can strive to be more green. But when I am there working on my laptop, yes, a small grown may escape me while I perform a jumping jack to reactivate the room lights. And if students are down in the space but remarkably focused on their work, the lights may go out. To avoid the shrieks of scared children left in a dark space, I have purchased a few sets of battery operated candles. My last few for some reason were deemed Valentine's Day gifts. Okay sure. But that means they were available instead of with a retail price of $39.99 at $10.00. Yes, please. And today (because it is even further past February 14 - $7). The battery operated candles supply nice ambient lighting when the lights go out. Offer a way to talk about circuits with multiple students in the future. And just look rather fancy when the room lights are actually lit.

But my favorite piece of thinking beyond the popular was an adorable little stuffed bear. Technically his packaging was all about Valentine's Day. Red hearts and I love messages everywhere. But when you take him out of the box, the only hearts to be seen are small ones on each little paw. But the one on the paw on the right says, "Press to Record" and the paw on the left says, "Press to Play". So for $5 I managed to find a bear that has a small microphone box built in.

You can record and re-record any message for students. Right now naturally he proudly states, "Welcome to #OurSTEAMCafe" in my voice. A few people have commented, "What a cute bear!" No one realizes he was once meant for a Valentine's Day gift. Once I show them the arm that plays the recorded message, they are all left in awe. When I tell them I scooped him up for $5 they are amazed.

Please remember to think out side the box. Literally, think beyond the packaging. Just because a popular, current use has one thing in mind, does not mean that an item cannot be tweaked to create something wonderful in your #makerspace.

Women's History Month

Love when your eye sees something in a new way that you have passed by many times unnoticed. And that new insight leads to another new idea. This past week was very hectic. But I had the opportunity to spend some time in our school's Waterford Early Learning Program (http://twitter.com/Waterford_Inst) Computer Lab. While waiting for the next class to arrive, I perused the books on the shelf. I found one from the Math and Science Program about "Joanne Simpson". I was not familiar with the name. Apparently she was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in the field of meteorology.
As I kept looking through the boxes of books (print resources to supplement the computer based curriculum), there were quite a few books about females in Science and Math. Just in time for March to celebrate Women's History Month. So I brought one or two of each down to #OurSTEAMCafe to share with students and teachers in coming days. So happy that my eye wandered in just the right direction this week. Love when our various disciplines combine for a more transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning.