Learning from the Hacker Movement

Last year, I ran a little mini-course for middle school that drew from the Hacker/Maker movement.  Don’t know what that it?  It’s when people take some parts, material that they have lying around or can buy from places like Radio Shack, JoAnn Fabrics, the local hardware store, and they build something cool.  My course involved making fabric-base things that had lights and wiring in them, something that developed out of this movement, but which has now gone somewhat mainstream.  If you saw the Black-Eyed Peas outfits during the Super Bowl, well, that’s the same concept.

Honestly, it’s those ideas that fire me up, and make me think, “Hey, that might get kids excited.”  Recently, I started following a blog where a woman posts videos, pictures and posts of her homemade robots, which are based on the Arduino platform, an open-source board that’s been used in many cool applications–including sewing the LilyPad version into fabric!  Through that site, I found this site that has Mac-based apps for working with Arduino–so cool.

Honestly, I’d love to teach a course that’s basically a Make course.  Each student would plan a project, design it, program it, and maybe head to a Maker Faire to show it off.  Standard educational practice doesn’t quite allow for this, but hey, I might be crazy enough to try it.  I smell a senior project!

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