Terry Deen, a local teacher at Kelvin Grove State College in Queensland, is the 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Fellow. Thanks to the partnership between the Queensland Government and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, Terry will be working at NYC’s iconic Museum Mile until early October. He is in New York experiencing and delivering quality design education via his tenure. Terry is sharing his experiences with through the APDL blog. You can also follow Terry’s journey via Twitter or Instagram.
Today at Maker Faire NYC, I ventured into a geek-out session on the scale of a medium-sized music festival. This weekend the New York Hall of Science is divided up into five zones: z1:make:electronics; z2:makerspaces + hackerspaces; z3:make:education + make:DIY; z4:coke zero+mentos + maker shed stage; z5:make:live. The place was awash with left and right brain mash ups that had me spellbound and got me thinking about the evolution of tech culture.
Now is a great time to embrace your inner tech geek/science nerd. Even a right brained art teacher such as myself can now learn alongside fans of intel and radioshack. Essentially, the maker faire is a party that needs more right brainers to get on board. The fact that tech has become so much more intuitive in recent years, is ideal for greater collaboration between makers in aprons and makers in lab coats; the same goes for teachers of science, tech, engineering, the arts, maths and design (STEAM.d).
I’d like to share a few highlights from today to demonstrate the joyous time of today’s tech-head scene:
– BEVLAB: The Future of Beverages (i & j ideations): after close to an hour in line, you walk into a small pop up LAB, arrive at the first station where you receive your BEVLAB passport and respond to three multiple choice questions. You then head to the juice station where you select a base concentrate and experiment with an array of flavours in the form of essences, powders and liquids. Once you have concocted your formula, and the LAB staff have added water into your personal juice jar, you then head to one of three counters (based on your group’s earlier responses to the introductory questions). Our group was filtered on to the #4 X – MODALITY station, where we mixed tastings of our juices with: the aromas of scented oils; the sounds of Beethoven, The Prodigy and others; and viewings into 3D virtual worlds via dodocase vr. Meanwhile, #3 PHASE workstation was busy turning liquid into forms, while the #2 PAKAGING station infused liquids into frozen edible flowers.
– GLANK Found Object Percussion: I’ve been an authorised hitter of found objects since starting drum lessons in grade 8, so I was thrilled to bits when I found a group of mathematicians with the senses of rhythm and humor playing binary rhythms on industrial objects. GLANK is all about audience participation. After their intro number, they handed out shakers made out of recycled containers of all materials, shapes and sizes. The background tracks engaged the audience through pre-recorded robotic instructional beats. Whilst this was not the free flowing drum circle I stumbled across a month ago in Harlem, these lovers of algorithms were jamming with toddlers, teens and grown ups alike.
The maker movement is thriving. The work I have had the fortune to do with Jacina Leong at QUT’s CUBE is right on the pulse of global innovation in STEAM.d. Teachers around Queensland are collaborating across STEAM silos to explore the educational permutations of gaming, 3D printing, interaction deisgn, DIY tech and so on. Teachers are more and more in need of exposure to the latest in making. In a profession where time is thin, keeping up the skills and needs of students is going to be a significant challenge. Collaborating with makers, public programers, colleagues and students is the quickest and most rewarding way to get involved. If you get the chance, go to a maker event, ask questions and have fun embracing your inner geek.