Learn 2 Teach

Modern Designers are thinking with their hands

Think with your Hands!

Think with your Hands!

There is a great article on the New York Times site about how some of today’s top designers are being encouraged to work on physical projects as a way of encouraging their creativity. Adobe is in on the action, providing designers opportunities to build devices and projects. They believe that it helps foster creativity and give insight into the needs of Adobe’s applications and systems.

New York Times Article: Link

Mentioned in the article:

How to Make (Almost) Anything: Link

Sketching in Hardware: Link

Adobe: Link

Make Magazine: Link

Tinkering School: Link


August 19, 2008 Posted by | innovation, Teaching and Learning | , , , | Leave a comment

Learn 2 Teach Project Exposition, August 15, 2008


For a full size file of image, follow link below

The project Exposition is a significant event in the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program. This event is free and open to the public.

If you would like to know more about the program, please view the project wiki at: http://learn2teach.pbwiki.com/ This wiki has been written by the participants of the program, inner city youth from many of the neighborhoods of Boston. In it, they explain their projects, and use the wiki to store information about how to work with computer programming, music composition, digital imagery, alternative energy and digital fabrication.

For three weeks at the start of the summer, returning youth teachers and first year youth teachers trained each other in each of the above learning modules, a continuation of the training process begun during the Spring during Saturday learning sessions.

For the second three weeks of the Summer, all the youth teachers work on two complimentary projects: The first is teaching elementary and middle school aged youth in 18 community centers in Boston. The second is a group project in which four or five youth leaders work to create a solution employing many of the learning modules listed above to demonstrate how the community could benefit from their design research.

If you would like to know more about the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program, please visit the following links:

Full size image of the invitation – Link

Wiki – http://learn2teach.pbwiki.com/
Blog – https://l2ttl2.wordpress.com/
Flickr account – http://www.flickr.com/photos/28629285@N02/
Flickr group – http://www.flickr.com/groups/721032@N24/pool/
Facebook Event Page – Link

August 9, 2008 Posted by | event, Teaching and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Feedback from Roslindale Community Center

Alternative Energy at Roslindale Community Center

Alternative Energy at Roslindale Community Center

This message is from Susan Klimczak.  Susan is in charge of handling many of the administrative functions in the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program.  Among other things, she maintains contact with the organizers of the individual community centers that we teach at.   

Below is part of an exchange with the director of the Roslindale Community Center in which Donna Parker was asked for feedback on how this year’s L2T program is running.

Here is what Donna Parker of the Roslindale Community Center said about this year’s Learn 2 Teach program:

can definitely see a difference this year. Overall the program feels stronger and more organized. I can feel the depth of experience with the mentors having more then one year of experience under their belt.
We absolutely love PICO and were so sorry that one of the motors went missing on our watch….the met with the kids and tried our best to reach out to their good hearts to get it returned but it did not work. They each had a chance to go into a room anomously and leave it if they had it….
The Director of the Community Centers asked me to order a new one for you. As soon as it comes in I will get it to you….
We are going to order a kit for ourselves at the same time….that is the good side of it.
I only had a couple of suggestions so far which I put on the forms…
1)  Ask sites to have a lamp with the right type of lightbulb available for Alternative Energy Lesson
2) Ask sites to have extra triple AAA batteries and a small screw driver available for PICO
3)  The GIMP crew was brilliant. The “Replace the Face” lesson did not work well. It felt out of sequence to their current level of experience with GIMP. Could be a lesson when they have more experience. They realized that and changed the lesson for the second group. They encorporated “Plasma” which they had learned the previous week with a photo….it made a great second lesson as it built on the knowledge they had from the previous lesson. It would make a great permanent second lesson. Most kids had to learn how to find and save images from the internet which was a big part of the lesson itself. Plus alot of them don’t even know what an image is.
I would have loved to see Mel teaching the Archdale kids….were you shorthanded or he did it because he wanted to. I think Carlies 3 sisters were there as well.

susan klimczak
assisting south end technology center @ tent city
assisting the learn 2 teach, teach 2 learn program
359 columbus avenue
boston, massachusetts 02116

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Teaching and Learning | , , | Leave a comment

Design Squad and thoughts on this Saturday’s session

On PBS, WGBH Channel 2, there is a great show based on engineering challenges where teenagers compete with and against each other. This week’s show has two teams working together to build a hockey practice target for use by the Bruins. When I watched the show this morning (it airs again at 5:30pm Sunday) I was struck by some similarities between our program and theirs.

They have teenagers working together to solve problems.

The participants are doing complex things with interesting systems.

The individuals are explaining what they are doing as they do it.

Builders and makers are learning about the things they are working on and providing a functioning project.

I think it would be useful for people in our group to start paying attention to this show for a couple of reasons: The show is good, well produced and made in Boston. The teenagers come from lots of backgrounds and look a lot like our group. They are showing how to work well in the group and get the product done on time.

They are using the Design Process to solve problems. They communicate clearly and well with each other. They don’t just head for the final product, they gather a lot of information, make drawings of their ideas, make a sketch model to prove to concepts, then they make a carefully crafted prototype to show to the client.

The show has a website: http://pbskids.org/designsquad/index.html
This week’s show: http://pbskids.org/designsquad/challenges/s2-ep11.html

A segment of the video of the show (I found that it plays better in its own window instead of on the main page) http://pbskids.org/designsquad/challenges/v_s2/211/3_ssi_video.html?&filetype=wmv&bandwidth=_hi

This section shows the design and build of the Sketch Model. I believe that what we built on Saturday was a collection of Sketch Models. Each group proved to some extent that their ideas worked. The next step would be integration of each of the group’s products. Now that the scale of the building has been settled, more appliances and furniture could be carefully crafted. The house could have a more complex and accurate floor plan, the sounds could be assembled into the scratch program, which would interface with the pico program, and the whole thing could be powered by solar or hand generator produced electricity.

We all got through much of the design process, but there could be more to do.

In Design Squad, they have two full days for each challenge. The first day is about understanding the problem, brainstorming possible solutions, trying out the best ideas and making a plan for the final prototype. The second day is about refining the ideas of the first day, narrowing the focus to the individual components that will be included in the more polished prototype, and making all the parts of the system work together. They could do another session of making the whole thing look really pretty and ready for a mass market, but I have not seen that happen on the shows I have watched.

Here is a link to their version of the Design Process: http://www-tc.pbskids.org/designsquad/pdf/engineers/ds_eng_design_process_sign.pdf
There are many versions of the design process, It can be used in programming, engineering, life planning and lots more. We all do it every day to some extent, but being conscious of it helps to produce more effective results in your decision making. It also helps when the group is all aware of where they are in the cycle.

Design Away!


July 18, 2008 Posted by | Teaching and Learning | , , , , , | Leave a comment