The Inventing Environment

Not too long ago, I was asked by a fellow co-worker if I would be interested in helping plan and implement a beginner’s robotic program for kids. I love anything tech and although I’ve never done any type of library programs prior to being asked, I knew I had to say yes. Best career decision I ever made! It resulted into 2 different programs: one program for 6 to 9 year old’s and the second program for 10 to 16 years old’s. We got to build robotic cars, circuits with Arduino Uno’s and we’re currently filming a stop motion animation movie.

However, one of my favorite things to have introduced to the kids is an invention kit called Makey Makey, which allows you to use everyday items and turn them into keys, buttons and/or controllers using computer codes that can be made through Scratch. Items like playdough, coins, pencil lead, aluminum foil, fruits and vegetables can be used to make a game controller to play Super Mario Bros, build a life-size Operation board game or build a handmade guitar.

The overlapping space discussed by Jakob Guillois Laerkes (inspiration, learning, meeting and performative) resonated with what my co-worker and I was trying to influence in our programming. Although these concepts were intended for Laerkes and his staff to redesign their library space, we used these concepts to redesign and challenge our programs.

Below is one of the guitars we built from scratch and then used the Scratch program to write a code for the guitar to play actual notes!

3 thoughts on “The Inventing Environment

  1. Wow, Rowena! This is a great example of technology at it’s best! Although the concepts in your reading talked about redesigning the physical space, I like how you used the concepts of overlapping space to redesign your programs. I am also on a quest to redesign library programs and constantly ” think like a startup” and ensure our programs are inclusive and reflective of the communities we are so priviliged to serve!

  2. SO COOL! Thanks for the images, video and your sharing of these wonderful initiatives for teaching these important skills. Using the four components of the library space model to change up your programming is inspired!

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