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makerlabs

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What are some of the things you see emerging from the Maker labs?

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What are some of the things you see emerging from the Maker labs? We were asked this question yesterday in a meeting with our Maker labs partners Tony and Christie from the Metabolic foundation.

The Maker labs is hosted at Di ISL on Wednesday and Thursday from 3-7pm. We develop project ideas together and guided by Tony and Christie we learn how to make things, fix things or come up with cool recycling ideas. An important part of the Maker labs now is our engagement with children.  On any given day at the maker labs we have on average 15 children and young adults age 6 to 20.  Some of these children know each other from the community or from school. What we make is sometimes determined by the materials we have available, we have made things from pallet boards, cardboard and newspaper.

Earlier when we started we were asked what were some of the projects we imagined building a solar dehydrator, a window farm, a tech corner for kids, chalkboard paint and a roof top garden. We also wanted to do some projects with the Arduino board and the Rasberry pi. 

So far these are the things we have observed:

  • It is not always easy for kids to work together and to learn to share things
  • The labs offer the opportunity to learn to work together
  • The labs makes learning fun and interesting
  • Kids feel proud when they can complete a fun task or project
  • The labs allow kids and adults to be use their imagination and to be creative
  • The labs helps us to focus on problem solving in creative ways
  • Kids feel a sense of responsibility working on projects
  • Kids look forward to coming to the maker labs
  • Some kids demonstrate an increase in discipline since coming to the maker labs
  • The labs help us to see kids who have a natural interest in making and fixing things
  • The labs give adults a chance to see they could develop a livelihood around the knowledge and skills they may be developing in recycling and making things
  • The labs is a social space. Kids and adults spend constructive time together
  • The labs helps us to experiment with alternative models for learning
  • The labs help us create awareness around the environment and materials in the environment
  • The labs helps us re-imagine our world and feel capable of making the things we imagine.

 

We should be making technology

I just lost the article I was typing in wordpress! Chrome crashed and its gone! The autosave did not save the latest version. The version I have spent the last 45 minutes typing. If it did save it i can’t get it back. This brand new Windows 8 “beat studio machine” failed me. Again!

You know when these things happen you need to go quickly to the lesson. Then it crossed my mind. What would an ideal personal computer be for me. I think it crossed my mind when I looked across to my Debian machine and felt that if I wanted to continue to write the blog post, I would have to be more serious and committed to making it a dedicated machine for that purpose. The Debian machine is a desktop though so I started to imagine my ideal laptop. Here is a list of things I came up with.

  1. A good Operating system. Stability is important
  2. A good software for writing
  3. A way to be efficiently divided into multiple use. Music production different from writing ( similar to profiles)
  4. Good battery life
  5. A big screen with clear display
  6. Space on the keyboard to type
  7. A keyborad that makes my hands feel good on it
  8. Firm but soft keys buttons
  9. Mouse separated into two parts( basic left right function)
  10. Keyboard and mouse sensitive to the touch
  11. No more than 200 gb internal storage
  12. Additional storage provided in a external drive pack so I can use my files in other places.
  13. A cd drive

Why is imagining the tech tools we use important?

How do we decide what technology should look like and what it should do? how can we play a part in the design of technology. What the availability of recyclable parts why don’t we design our own computers?

makerdaysflyer

Two week ago we started the ISL Maker shop or Maker labs. It is a partnership with Metabolic Foundation led by Christie and Tony who are in Jamaica to do community and environmental projects. Every Wednesday and Thursday from 3-7 pm we meet at the ISL and invite others to come and join us and make things.  So far our project list includes:

  1. A Solar Dehydrator
  2. A Window farm
  3. A Roof top Garden
  4. A multimedia station for Kids
  5. Chalkboard paint

And we keep adding to the list.

We repair and recycle phones,computers, or other electronic devices on some days as well.

Each week offers us some opportunities

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