UTeach Maker officially kicked-off with the first cohort of students on Thursday 10/27/2016 with all our UTeach Maker, mentors, and advisors in attendance. As a kick-off activity we learned a little about everybody and their background in making and being creative. Patrick Benfield introduced the group to a card sorting activity to help think about the different tools, techniques, and philosophies behind making.
Using a deck of cards that had words such as "collaboration", "3D-printing", "design thinking", and "sustained inquiry", the members of the groups were asked to work in teams to group together related concepts. In addition to the provided cards there was also a deck of blank cards where new words and ideas could be added by writing on them with dry-erase makers. Members of the group contributed new cards such as "tinkering", "failure-positive attitude", and "growth mindset".
The UTeach Maker also began learning about the components of their maker portfolio and discussed the importance of having open-portfolios in education. Resources were shared to help the makers develop their maker showcase that they will be developing throughout the certificate or endorsement experience.
The evening wrapped-up by giving the makers a chance to get to know their mentor better and begin exploring the ideas behind their philosophy of making. The cohort's next meeting will be on 11/17/2016 with a trip to The Foundry, a makerspace at the UT Austin Fine Arts Library that is available to all students.
On Thursday 11/17/2016 UTeach Makers and mentors had the opportunity to visit the Foundry at the UTexas Fine Arts Library. Everybody had an opportunity to see examples of 3D printed objects and learn a little about thee different techniques used in additive and subtractive digital fabrication.
During the tour the lab technician gave a demonstration about etching and cutting vectors with the laser cutter. We had the opportunity to see 3D scanners that could create 3D models of physical objects, 2.5D and 3D CNC machines for cutting wood foam and other materials, and a variety of sewing and embroidering machines for textile work. These tools are available to all students at UTexas.
In addition, the Foundry makerspace had a recording studio, workstations dedicated to the development of multimedia, and was in the process of adding an area for VR development with HTC Vive. After the tour all the UTeach Makers signed-up for a training course to become certified to use the 3D printers. The UTeach Maker fall 2016 cohort is excited to have access to these technologies and are looking forward to documenting their use of them in their maker portfolios.
On Tuesday 1/31/2017 UTeach Makers and mentors got together to visit the Ann Richards Makerspace. Mentors Patrick Benfield and Oren Connell led the night. UTeach Makers learned new skills through competing in the "Six Inch Chop Saw Challenge" and we discussed how to use tools safely with students. Current UTeach Makers also presented some of their recent work and displayed their Maker Showcases. And, there was plenty of yummy food, of course.
In addition, each of the first cohort of UTeach Makers were interviewed about (1) What is making, (2) Why is making important for education?, and (3) Why were they interested in UTeach Maker? See what the UTeach Makers had to say!
Continuing on the "Six Inch Chop Saw Challenge", the UTeach Makers returned to Ann Richards Middle School for their second challenge: to built a perfect 8 foot x 8 foot x 8 foot cube. Using measuring tapes, pencils, squares, and the chop saw, Oren Connell gave the Makers the required specifications and left to themselves to determine how they would accomplish the task.
In addition to being a 8 foot cube, the Makers were also given the challenge to make sure there was a support beam spaced evenly every 16 inches throughout the cube. Through planning, negotiations, and trial-and-error the Makers worked together to develop strategies to accomplish the task.
By the end of the evening the group had figured out a successful strategy for building the first segment of the cube. The wall segment was disassembled so the wood could be reused by the students at Ann Richards Middle school.
It is with great pleasure that we had the opportunity on March 11th to formally welcome our Spring 2017 UTeach Maker Cohort!
Everybody was provided a delicious lunch from Black's Barbecue where UTeach Makers had a chance to talk with the peers, meet with their Maker Mentor, and be welcomed by the Fall 2016 cohort. All Makers and Mentors were given a UTeach Maker t-shirt that was designed by mentor Patrick Benfield.
Makers and their mentors also explored the exhibits at SXSW create learning more about digital fabrication techniques such as 3-D printing and CNC machines. The Makers had the opportunity to talk with local, national, and international experts in making were given opportunities to see demonstrations such as CNC controlled graffiti robot, unique applications of the Makey Makey in an interactive garden, and giant 3-D printers that could print furniture.
This event provided an excellent opportunity for mentors and makers to share ideas with each other and be inspired for their own maker projects. Everybody had an opportunity to try interactive demonstrations and think about how these tools could be used in their future classrooms.
In addition, there were several opportunities to try emerging technologies, such as virtual reality being used to train welding students in high school and technical colleges. These technologies represent how making and education can work together to help expose students to opportunities to can lead to creative and meaningful careers.
Articulture Designs and UTeach Maker got together for a night celebrating the intersection of Making and the natural world. This was a chance for Makers and nature lovers to mingle. The night featured Articulture Designs founder and lead designer Monique Capanelli, who shared her own Maker journey. Dinner was served outdoors in the Articulture gardens.
Monique provided a tour her studio and shared her approach to creating original works using succulent plants, sea shells, and recycled glass. This inspiring evening concluded with an opportunity to discuss ideas about how this form of Making could have an impact on how we approach Making in schools.
After two semesters with UTeach Maker, Paige Arneson and Hannah Spock were excited to show everybody the progress they had made by presenting their Maker Showcases. Highlighting her passion for biology and sewing, Paige presented her e-textile circulatory system. Her design involved using conductive thread, fabric, sewable LEDs, and a Lilypad Arduino that would light-up to demonstrate circulation in the human body.
Hannah, a chemistry major, decided to design a custom period table for her future classroom. Using plywood, stain glass, and individually addressable LEDs, Hannah's periodic table was a big success. Her project represents the first iteration since it currently uses an off-the-shelf controller to make the LEDs change color. Using an Arduino or Raspberry Pi, she plans on upgrading the board so certain groups of elements, such as the alkali Earth metals, can be illuminated at the press of a button.
Each of the Maker Showcase presenters was given a custom designed gift by their peers and UTeach Maker Mentor. Inspired by our recent trip to Articulture, Hannah received a laser-engraved name tag nested in Lego bricks with gravel and a succulent plant. Paige's team made her a custom laser-engraved glass name tag for her desk, that was nested in a box and would change colors with LEDs controlled by a Raspberry Pi.
Finally, as a group activity, each group was given materials to create Circuit Blocks. Using 3/4" thick block of pine, bolts, nuts, wires, and various electronic components such as buzzers, lights, motors, and batteries, each group worked on assembling blocks to be used in Step 1 as part of a new electric circuit kit. Congratulations to our first cohort of UTeach Maker Fellows, and the end of a great first year!