What learnings did you have from hosting your event?

It was sublimely rewarding! And so much fun to meet @Iva.

We were brought in as educators so were not that involved in the planning. We did learn that pre-made projects are great to have on display for inspiration. I made a few copies of @mikimer 's project, http://littlebits.cc/projects/ready-to-go-template-code-for-arduino set up for coders to see a straightforward example of Arduino code.

All in all… it was the best gig I have EVER had!

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Hello Everyone! Specially my partner in crime @Thingfully Bridget :wink:

I can tell you, we have fun like kids with very tech-savvy adults!, which made #DockerCon even more interesting. Because it was kind of overwhelming, to have so many highly skilled people and yet, have BIG time with them being creative. One thing I miss, to have more women around!

Here is a list of a few learnings I collect from our experience (aha-moments):

  • Logistics, we learnt we need to order in big-advance the kits, we were a bit nervous because we got them on friday evening, one day before the event. Ouch!

  • Marketing, we received so many questions about where to buy them, where they can register their kids to learn, so maybe for this kind of events, a brochure of kits with prices and local chapters would be a very smart thing to do. I know everything is online, but for future events like this, that can be very handy. I didn’t thought about this before!

  • In terms of sales, many people came to us: I want to buy the kit for my daughter/son… But it was such a turn off to tell them: we are not here to sell them! Just for the fun… Many didn’t get it. But We are sure we help on the sales somehow. (Sorry for my business-mind-approach)

  • In a tech level, there was a team who detected a 0.2 always-on power level on some power plugs, I have never seen that before - they plugged the numbers bit and it always showed 0.2, but I guess it was a faulty piece, as we changed and other works perfectly. (set to 0v by default)

  • We experience a lot of programmers that wanted (at least asked) to hack the cloudbit to make different recipes, I mean to use the API. Only two people did this, or had the time to, as we can’t forget they were on the conference with few time to work on the contest (with a big party on between!).

  • I think open projects were nice because they allowed the audience to be creative, but creativity needs time. I proposed at the initial talks with KenwoodX to build a mission-contest but it didn’t got thumbs-up, but I strongly believe when you give adults a motive/mission/problem to solve, they achieve more in short-working time, and they can get feeling of “I did something useful”. Some of the contestants even on the speech said: this got no functionality but it looks cool. I think that feeling, needs to be different and give them a sense of achievement.

Final feedback: Very positive!. People were very grateful for the #MakerLab on DockerCon. Many were enthusiastic to tell their kids what they have built. And some of them even told us: Now I know what I’ll buying for X-Mas! Arduino, Cloudbit and TX/RX were very popular!

On a personal level, I’m very grateful of have been part of this event and met so incredibly talented people as Bridget.

Cheers from Barcelona!
Iva :bitstar:

ps. We had a strong epipha-nnoying moment during the Con, realizing we say “little bit” A LOT! :stuck_out_tongue:

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It was truly an honor to speak for littleBits in front of the DockerCon attendees. The Kenwood Experiences team and @Iva were fun and professional at every turn.

Thank you @nickweinberg for publishing our blog post.
http://littlebits.cc/littlebits-dockercon-2015

I want to donate the #GoGoGordon tweet-o-meter to the littleBits Museum. It was truly a community effort. Special thanks to @sean_littleBits , @chris101, @jakilevy , @JackANDJude , @syedBits , @mikimer et alia.

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Bridget, I really enjoyed reading about your experience! Congratulations to both you and @Iva :dancers: and all the bitsters who helped you make this possible.

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@lizabits and I hosted a Bit Wars global makeathon event this past Saturday at our store in NYC. We had such a blast, having nearly 75 people (some dressed in costume) come by and make Star Wars projects with us. The most important thing we learned was to go with the flow. There are always obstacles (large and small) that come up last minute. The best thing to do is embrace the chaos and work through each one with calm.

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Love that last pic, it does Chewey proud!

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Hi

@nickweinberg 75people? Wow!

I’d like to share a couple of things and lessons learned:

A couple of thoughts and lesson learned:

  • the warm-up game from the workshop guide was a great way to start
  • kids really enjoyed the introduction and couldn’t wait to build something
  • at that point leading them through the design process is tricky… because they already “know what they want to build” :slight_smile:
  • preparing short ( up to 2 minutes) videos to lead up a design challenge is great - this reinforced again my prior experience. the Star Wars theme made this easy… other times I use GoAnimate to create little cartoons
  • because littleBits was new to most kids and we were time constrained some could not finish their creation…
    I’m thinking how to mitigate this. I find a lot of value in leading kids through the steps of the design thinking methodology… but it is eating away a lot of time that could be spent hands on.
    It also doesn’t factor in well the fact, that in the prototyping phase you really want the kids to apply something they had just been introduced to.
    I think the longer term solution to this - one that works better with a regular (say weekly) program - is to do something like a "reversed classroom, where the design challenge begins ahead of time, with kids using an online forum to go through the phases of define, ideate etc. so the actual workshop time can focus on the hands-on prototyping. This will have the extra advantage of keeping them engaged throughout the week from one occasion to the next.
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Here are some great learnings shared in a guest blog post by @matthiasmwolf: http://littlebits.cc/littlebits-and-ableton-hang-out-in-munich

@Sic thank you SO much for sharing!!! These are fantastic takeaways :smile:

Regarding incorporating the design process, I know it is especially tough to do this when it is a one-off workshop or event since there isn’t a ton of time. In my experience, I’ve found that the simplest and most impactful way to integrate principles of design thinking is by having participants give each other feedback before they do a final shareout. Even though it can feel disjointed to stop the flow of things, I find that it gives participants a mental break and provides an extra dimension of collaboration. Funnily enough, I think it often boosts creativity to have the added time constraint. Here’s my approach in hopes that it’s helpful:

I tell them that they have ___ time to make and give strict time limit for construction. Over that period, I let them know how much time they have before they will share their idea or first prototype in intervals, emphasizing that it is ok if they are not finished. Once the timer is up, I pair them with a partner close by and have them share for 2-3 minutes each, depending on your time limit. After that, I send them back to making for a period before the final share.

I know this tad belated, but hopefully it will be helpful for your next event! :thumbsup:

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We’ve had 12 sessions so far (2 1-hour sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays). I have some regulars, including parents who stay for most of the 2 hours. I have a 5th grader who is figuring out how to make a dragon; he thinks he’s got the circuitry down, but now has to deal with the aesthetics and framework. I have a 4th grader who just decided that she was going to work on a tabletop game involving fans and pingpong balls.

The way it’s set up, I encourage people to show up at either 5:30 or 6:30, and stay for most of the hour (or at least half an hour). I take 3rd graders and up (3rd-12th), and younger kids with parents or older siblings (except for a few 2nd graders who have proven to be responsible in my previous clubs).

Here are how I’ve done things so far:

  1. I have everything labeled with permanent marker (except for the little screws included with servo accessories. This helps me distinguish between my personal bits and the school’s bits. In each compartment in the tackle boxes, I have labels with the bit name, number, and amount. It helps me keep track of how many of each item (and where they all go) I should have at the end of the night.

  2. It takes about half an hour for cleanup. Last week, I had some high school volunteers, and we took out more bits (many of my own). I learned that I don’t really want them helping me clean up. I know they meant well, but there were bits in the wrong places (wrong compartments, or wrong tackle boxes between mine and the school’s). It took me longer to clean up. I know I can bring this to their attention, but I’m the type of person who wants things done very particularly, and I feel better just doing cleanup on my own (well, except for one 4th grader who is very helpful because she has gotten used to my style).

  3. In telling people that they have to stay for at least half an hour, I have managed to turn off quite a few students. This is because the evening activities are pretty loose (including my past clubs), and the kids are welcome to come and go as they please. I decided I wanted to have people who can commit time to learning and exploring. I did not want to have students coming in for 10 minutes, learning a tiny bit, and then coming back the next time just as confused as they were before. I think that this is something that they understand better if they take the time to tinker.

  4. Asking people to show up at certain times also cuts down on how many times I have to explain the basics to newcomers. I knew that I wanted to have time to actually go around, check on people’s progress, help out where needed, and provide materials for building. I did not want to have to be stuck talking about my rules and the littleBits basics.

  5. After our 6th session, we lost a fork. I also found an rgb led under a table. At that time, I was handing out some bits in a covered takeout tray, for ease of returning things to me. I have now printed out a pictorial inventory of what attendees get from me, and they are now required to make sure they have all those pieces. I also have a running list of other bits that they request, and check off those that have been returned. Sometimes I have to note if it’s one of mine (when we run out of the school’s supply of particular bits), just to make things clearer.

  6. Just as it is with any group of kids, there are those who are comfortable tinkering on their own and coming up with unique projects. However, there are those who need more structure or guidance. For the latter group, I found out there are sub-groups: those who like to look at the booklets that came with the kits, and those who want to be given a particular challenge (and then are able to work independently from there). I have a few examples that I share with them as well.

I just found time in between papers and other deadlines to update my blog with photos and a video compilation here. I still need to take videos of the examples I’ve kept to show my attendees. I’ll update when those are uploaded.

Take a look at what @lizabits and I learned during a workshop we hosted with 826NYC: http://littlebits.cc/littlebits-takesover-826nyc.

The learning: mix Chapters from different places + bits = fun!

The Oakland and Nairobi Chapters had a Meetup together! Yes… Nairobi, Kenya & Oakland, USA. @WakaiA and crew jammed with me and Pablo. The theme was #IoT_101 with the cloudBit™. I loved seeing the collaborative spirit of Daisy, Cedric, James, and Clara particularly. This GIPHY shows the spirit of the day.
http://gph.is/21Qkk5U

Plus, we don’t have the synth kit in Oakland, so the Nairobi Chapter showed us how it works.

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Hi Bridget, your meetup looks to have been a blast! The Nairobi Chapter has it right - yall should get yourself a Synth Kit or two! Not only is noisemaking great fun, but the analog bits are useful for a lot of non-musical electronic learning as well: I have used the mix bit to build an analog computer, the filter for a signal conditioner, and the oscillator to drive a stepper motor.

By the way, dude’s tune rocks in the video.

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I forgot the BIG learning that I shared. I have about a dozen cloudBits and when they are all active in the same space, it’s important to know which bit is which!

  1. Mark each cloudBit with Sharpie (Clara from the Nairobi Chapter, the RoboMakers, named theirs RM01 & RM02)

  2. Keep a record of their WiFi address
    :bitstar:

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One more lesson learned from bringing my bits around to schools and places that have their own bits…

I put a dab of :two_hearts: hot pink nail polish :two_hearts: on the back of each of my bits. That way, I know which ones are mine at the end of a mix and mashup session. My pal @Iva in Barcelona marks her bits with :purple_heart: purple nail polish :purple_heart: .

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@Thingfully Sunshine hope we can meet in June at Rome and shake famocose with a meetup there!
@nickweinberg Nick, I love the 826NYC post!

Colombia Thinks Big

Although the title of this post sounds like a pep talk for the football match that Colombia will play against Ecuador today in Barranquilla, this post talks about the potential of entrepreneurship in education. For this matter, I can´t start it without a big SOLE question (methodology explained below).

What makes a trip to be magical?

The answer for me is simple, the curiosity generated by each place you visit. How many questions did you make about yourself? How many questions did you make about the way how things happen? How many questions did you ask to the new friends you met? How much eager are you now to learn new things?

All these questions are indicators of the level of inspiration and curiosity you got from the places you visit. That curiosity can take many forms, in fact in the last trip I made to 11 magical places in Colombia, during the months of February and March, this was reflected in the laughter of hundreds of young people that broke free from the monotony of their school and learned new topics differently.

This great trip is part of a project led by Telefonica Foundation and Socialab which aims to promote the most innovative tools and practices for young people across Colombia to develop their talents and transform their own realities. Our goal is to promote entrepreneurship as an attitude and a way of seeing life, whether one chooses to be a veterinarian, astronaut, writer, or even DJ. We can all be entrepreneurs from our positions.

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SOLE (Self Organized Learning Environment) is one of those tools we are using as it drives young people to awaken their innate curiosity that is in each of them. It intends to recover the ability to make an infinite amount of questions we usually did when we were children, which was turned off by the “no more” most adults replicated to us. In the 11 youth entrepreneurship events we did, SOLE helped us generate hundreds of questions and funny dynamics that broke with the typical “pull out a notebook and write these theories that you will need to memorize later on.”
SOLE is a unique tool that challenges the traditional teacher-student relationships and recognizes the potential in all of us to learn what motivate us. As Sanjay Fernandes, one of the promoters of SOLE in Colombia says, “if there is interest there will be learning, and we need to transform some paradigms of traditional education who see youth as if they were a flash drive”.

Another amazing tool we found is called LittleBits, a DIY technology kit that helps to create electronic circuits and do prototyping. It has pieces of different colors that as they get attached with magnets they create different results. An incredibly simple tool to promote creativity, problem solving and teamwork.
The participants of the workshop have the opportunity to explore the kits and after some time they are faced with a cool a challenge: invent for good. This is part of the #inventforgood campaign that promotes the development of young talents that materilize their ideas for good. Many of them created in less than half an hour, windmills that provide electricity to homes, automatic sprinkler systems, electronic wheelchairs, cleaning shoes, rescue helicopters and many other prototypes that made them think big. In addition to this, Little Bits helps young people to understand the potential of technology to create any kind of solutions.

SOLE and LittleBits are some of the tools that will bring dynamism to the road that 18,000 youth across Colombia will take in order to develop XXI century skills. In summary a way of disrupting tradicional education.

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The Soweto, South Africa Chapter shared with us some photos of the Soweto, South Africa Chapter’s first event! :slight_smile:

@Kelo_Kubu had this to say, “The event went very well. We had 22 participants, 16 of them school kids and the rest were teachers and the library staff.
We did the Hack my House workshop. It was easy enough to do for the first group activities.”

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Gretchen from G Works Inc. hosted their 2nd Educational summit PR STEM’s UP to the Challenge at Centro de Convenciones of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR in March.

Q: How did your STEM event go?

A:
It went great. We received approximately 6,300 students from 7th to 12 grade from several public and private schools . There were, also, about 700 parents, home schoolers, College students, etc. PR’s State Department declared March’s second week as PR’s STEM Education and Promotion week.

The pictures are from a previous activity held in Ponce 2-6-6.

Last Thursday, 05/12, we hosted our first event, during a ‘Mechatronics Engineering Week’ in Brazil.

It was definitely a very nice experience to bring LittleBits to undergrad students. I work mostly with children/teenagers from 10 to 15 years old and use LittleBits a lot during the classes (Maker Programs), but being a Mechatronic Engineer, I was sure that the students from the university would like the experience.

We did a Design Challenge with focus on the Innovation Process (such as Design Thinking). The goal was to share with the students what Innovation is and which are the processes that innovators implement nowadays to create innovative devices, services and solutions.

So, we presented the main idea behind Innovation and the Double Diamond Design Process. From that, the groups were asked to create a solution for an everyday problem they face in their dormitories, using technology.

The first step was to brainstorm problems they face every day. From that, they choose a problem to solve and started to brainstorm ideas on how to create a hardware to solve that.

Once the group defined the solution, it was Prototyping Time!

LittleBits kits and craft materials were provided:

The idea behind a prototype that is generated from the Design Process is to be as simple as possible, in order to show how the system works, without having to care much about precision, good looking or being 100% complete.

There were three groups and three different ideas were generated. After 2 hours of prototyping, they came up with nice prototypes!

One of the solutions is presented on the picture above. It’s a High noise alarm, which will call your attention with a buzzer, LED and waving flag in case you are making too much noise and bothering the others.

This was a 4h workshop and we had some nice learnings:

  • The Design Process as a tool to create innovation, along with the creation of simple ‘works like prototypes’ was a very nice approach to Engineering Students;
  • This approach is very close to Engineering as a whole. So we could establish a good connection between what the student’s daily life at the university looks like and what LittleBits can offer;
  • Craft materials are the best for quickly prototyping solutions :blush:
  • An open challenge (in terms of what would be created), together with brainstorming sessions for the design process ended up making this event very dynamic and rich in terms of ideas (both in number and quality)
  • The Sharing step is essential to fully complete this Making Cycle.

Hosting this event was very exciting for me, specially for creating a very interesting connection between Engineering Students and LittleBits. I feel that much more can still be explored!

Cheers!

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