Dec 162012
 

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This virtual meetup was Dec. 13th, 2012 on G+ Hangout

This weeks’s topic of discussion: Best resources for n00bs (youth + adult) to start working on electronics projects. Pros and cons of online curriculums.

After perusing around the Interwebs for perspectives on the best way to start an adult or youth interested in electronics, I found a pretty basic list of stuff to have on hand:

  • Bread board
  • 6V-12V power supply. I prefer the ones that allow you to choose amperage
  • Pack of LEDS. Blue LEDS are purdy
  • Wire. Radio shack and others sell wire “kits”of different lengths or a spool.
  • Basic multimeter. Great for when things don’t work
  • Pack of components. Transistors, resistors, capacitors, etc. And of course the whole reason I do this – some nice 8 bit chips.

This is all fine and good, but having a bunch of stuff isn’t enough. You also need a tutorial in a book or online to figure out what to do with all those parts and tools. And many times that isn’t even enough. As Howard Rheingold pointed out, it’s the debugging that’s difficult, you really need someone to turn to in order to get help. Someone that can review your work and give feedback.

Attendees:

Charlotte Pierce, Publisher and Video Producer
Howard Rheingold, the infamous
Joseph Chiu, LA Makerspace
Luz Rivas, Iridescent Learning
Tara Brown, DML Research Hub

I started the hangout by relaying my inspiration for this week’s discussion — I was reading tweets on Twitter and noticed Howard Rheingold’s call for help — he asked if anyone knew of someone that could help him learn Arduino. I favorited the tweet because I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to follow the process of finding a mentor for something very niche.  Howard  has worked with a big group on stuff for Burning Man, Floats, etc. He is now part of a smaller group that works on projects together once/week. Recently Howard started adding light to his paintings. Now he wants to learn Arduino so that he can create more interactive projects and art.

His learning methodology consists of setting time aside in the every day to work on a lesson. He thinks the Adafruit lessons are good and has even learned some things from 14 year olds on YouTube. His call for help was when he got stumped with a problem, he just wasn’t sure what to do.

Howard asked, can G+Hangout be a place to get help?

Joseph Chiu said it’s definitely easier to be in-person and he’s not so convinced troubleshooting can happen over video chat. General discussions are OK, but setup of lab equipment and more detailed instruction is harder.

Luz Rivas has only helped people in person. Usually someone has put something in the wrong pin on the breadboard. Her experience is that the neater someone is with the wires, the easier it is to troubleshoot.

One specific area that Howard has gotten stuck with, “I have some LEDs without instruction, what resistor do I use?”

I mentioned that there is an app for that. :) Adafruit has one and there are a host more of them in the app store.

Luz recommends  ’Fashioning Technology Book’ as a great resource in learning about electronics, specifically of the wearable variety. It includes basic lessons that are easy to follow and a good reference for mentoring and teaching.

Joseph noted from some of his experiences in teaching electronics to youth, they either want to know how it works from an electronics POV and some  just want to do stuff with their hands. So keep that in mind when teaching so you can related to their interests and motivation to learn.

The group concluded that in order for an online “hangout” or video session to be successful to troubleshoot issues, we need a critical mass of people with enough experts that are willing to share their expertise based on a wide range of issues that come up in the world of electronics or ”making” in general

One possible process could be for a learner to join a regularly scheduled Maker G+ Hangout and share the issue they are struggling with. If there is an expert that can continue helping them then they can establish a mentoring relationship for that specific issue or longer term. There will be some technical issues to overcome such as the ability to show a breadboard or other details over a webcam. The only way to figure out any issues that arise is to try!

Our next Maker Mentors G+ Hangout is scheduled for Dec. 20th. RSVP Here.

 

Dec 132012
 

Learning through do-it-yourself (DIY) or “making” is a thematic initiative of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California, Irvine. Related to this focus we are trying to determine how to support makers with mentors, either 1:1 or in a group setting using virtual resources such as email, forums or video chat.

Recently I started hosting weekly G+ Hangout sessions and invited some Makers to the conversation that have experience in mentoring either through an organization they run or as an instructor.

The first session was held on Dec. 6th, 2012 on G+ Hangout.

Attendees:
Annika O’Brien, LA Robotics Club
Jeff Geoffray, LA Makerspace, Filmmaker
Lisha Sterling, School Factory
Paul Burns, Youth Science Center
Tara Brown, DML, LA Makerspace

We started the discussion by sharing who in the hangout is a Maker Mentor. In some cases the participants didn’t know they were a mentor until someone brought it to their attention. In the case of Annika O’Brien, she started being approached to be a mentor and that’s when it dawned on her. Jeff Geoffray was the youngest and the mentee for so long that it took him by surprise when he transitioned into the role of mentor.

From there we discussed online profiles relating to mentoring youth and how important it was or wasn’t to hide certain information. One point of view was that parents might be put off by off-color tweets or photos. Just being aware that parents are probably looking you up and to be prepared to address concerns or to not be considered a good fit.

Other items that were brought up:
Lisha Sterling works on curriculum packs and ideas to help anyone that teaches STEAM subjects to develop a class for any age. The community of School Factory hacker/makerspaces share resources with each other on http://atrium.schoolfactory.org and they’d like to build that community up even further.

Paul Burns is a Science Fair coach and thinks that mentoring for the science fair could be easily accomplished online. He thinks that Super Star Learning, social collaboration platform for e-learning, is a good web platform. They have a tab on the side of a project’s webpage that lists their “dream team”. You can be a leader of a project and collaborate with partners and mentors.

Paul asked, “can we create a web platform for teachers and students and match them..especially a college student that can’t get a job?”

We asked, “Can we use a neutral place like a Hackerspace to interview the mentor and “test” them out?”

Lisha mentioned that 826 Valencia has a great model for teaching writing in writing centers and in schools. They recruit great pro and amateur writers and train them on how to tutor and mentor.

Jeff asked, “can kids teach adults? Adult education is going to become more and more important.” Jeff recently took a Beginners Arduino class taught by an 11 year old and thought that the instruction was great. Many of us have learned how to do something by a pre-teen on YouTube.

The overarching theme that came out of this hangout was a network of available Maker Mentors. Somewhere that other mentors can go to when they need assistance or to introduce to a learner as a trusted and qualified person. This could also be a publicly available list for anyone to access with a Mentor only section.

Read the next Blog Post from Dec. 13th Hangout.

Oct 222012
 

How to enter the “Teach Me Stuff” chat channel on Battle.net

1) In the main menu, click the “chat channel” button (Picture 1)

2) Enter ‘TMS’ in the text box, then click Join Channel

3) A chat channel window should pop up, which means you have successfully joined the channel.

Sep 102012
 

Achievements for StarCraft 2 coaching will now be redeemable for both coaches and students at any point in time until the end of the coaching trial on September 24th.

You can look at a  comprehensive list of available achievements.  Please note, some achievements are only valid for redemption during a certain time frame.

Here are a brief summary of achievements available to pursue for both coaches and students:

10 Ladder Games

10 1v1 Ladder Games

Practice is everything, have the student grind out 10 1v1 games on the ranked ladder and have them review them with their coach.   Redeem this achievement by sending in the 10 replays.

3 1v1 Build Orders

3 1v1 Build Orders

Go over one build order 3 times and have them reviewed between the coach and student.  Redeem this achievement by sending in the 3 replays with the same build order.

5 2V2 Games

5 2v2 Games

Play 5 ranked 2v2 games with a coach + student team.  This can be

5 Ladder Wins

5 Ladder Wins

5 1v1 wins on the ranked ladder by the student, reviewed by the coach.  Redeem this achievement by sending in the 5 replays or a screenshot of the ladder wins through match history.

Level Up

Level Up

The student levels up!

Once you’ve successfully completed the challenge, email achievements@teachmestuff.net with your replays attached.  Please name your replays something to indicate they were played for the Teach Me Stuff StarCraft 2 Coaching program (something like TMS 2v2 1, 2, 3, etc).

The deadline for this first challenge is by the end of the day 9/10/12


How to save and submit a replay

To save a replay, on the score screen after the game concludes – click SAVE REPLAY

 

Type in the name in which you wish to name your replay, and then click save.

To find your replay to attach, go to the desktop and click on your User folder.  Navigate through to Documents > StarCraft II > (your battlenet name) > Replays > Multiplayer

This folder should have your replays saved that you can attach through email.

Sep 032012
 

This week’s StarCraft 2 Coaching Achievement Challenge will involve a coach and a student facing the perils of the 2v2 ladder together, playing 5 games with each other on the same team.  Once a coach and student pair completes one of these weekly challenges, they will be awarded a badge worth 100 achievement points.  You can check out the achievement description page here.

Also you can look at a  comprehensive list of available achievements.  Please note, some achievements are only valid for redemption during a certain time frame.

At the end of the weekly challenges, we’ll be awarding coaches + students with the most badges and points with a prize!


We will reveal a new challenge every week.  The first week’s chalenge will be:

5 2V2 Games
5 2v2 games on the ladder with the coach and the student on the same team.
Send us 5 replays where you and your student rehearsed the same build order at least three times.  Placement matches can count toward this achievement, let us know where your coach/student team placed!

Once you’ve successfully completed the challenge, email achievements@teachmestuff.net with your replays attached.  Please name your replays something to indicate they were played for the Teach Me Stuff StarCraft 2 Coaching program (something like TMS 2v2 1, 2, 3, etc).

The deadline for this first challenge is by the end of the day 9/10/12


How to save and submit a replay

To save a replay, on the score screen after the game concludes – click SAVE REPLAY

 

Type in the name in which you wish to name your replay, and then click save.

To find your replay to attach, go to the desktop and click on your User folder.  Navigate through to Documents > StarCraft II > (your battlenet name) > Replays > Multiplayer

This folder should have your replays saved that you can attach through email.