Thursday, January 30, 2014

Goal Oriented or Playful Tinkering?

Here's a conundrum:  How do you get people to build skills, take initiative, feel a sense of ownership of what they form, build, or create if all you offer are one-shot projects that can be completed quickly and have a pre-set outcome?

That's where tinkering and playfulness should take over after a skill have been developed.

Libraries can be the best place for tinkering simply because we are not in the grading or judging business.
Allowing for open-ended playful exploration can be scary as a projector coordinator because you have to trust that something will come out the experience that can justify the use of materials, tools, and space.

If you're looking for some philosophical firm ground to stand on, here are two excellent videos to have your decision-makers watch:

TED Talk: Science is for Everyone - Kids included: Beau Lotto & Amy O'Toole

TED Talk: Play is more than just fun: Stuart Brown

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mango Day at the DFL!

One of the great ways our Friends of the Library supports the library is by providing the great language learning tool, Mango. Learning a language has never been easier or more convenient. you can download the app onto your desktop OR your smartphone or other digital device. In fact, 50% of folks who use Mango do so on their digital device!

Starting at the Duxbury Free Library web site, you click on the Mango logo and just follow the directions.

Taking a trip to France or Italy?
Start by learning a few phrases so you won't be seen as a crude American but as a savvy traveler who is interested in the culture and society in which he finds himself.

Start here and enjoy your foreign language experience!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Small projects provide a window into an area of skill-building

One of the challenges of using a multi-purpose room is that we have to clean up after 1 1/2 hours. Either we disassemble things to store away or we try to choose projects that are quickly finished.
But we still want to challenge folks in new ways and not give them busy work.

Smaller projects like the following ones are opportunities to learn a new skill that might lead a youth or adult to explore further on their own.
Bristle Bots

Solo cup w/ DC motor
Solder a Maker Badge

    Franken-Elmo Take Apart

    Programming with Scratch or Hopscotch

    Skyping with an expert
    Soldering a Drawdio

    Take Apart Table
    Wearable electronics - sparkle bow

    Knitting squares to make a blanket

    Building with Keva planks

    Stop motion with iPad and iStopMotion

    Resources include:

    Thursday, January 2, 2014

    Breaking down the "age-appropriate" barriers to tinkering

    Adult and teen explore wearable electronics together.
    Sometimes I feel we have let our passion run amok in terms of "developmentally appropriate" sensitivity in planning programs.  Isn't it just as much fun to have excited adults join turned on teens and enthusiastic elementary students in exploring the possibilities of Little Bits electronics, sewing, soldering, cardboard construction?

    Why can't we have more intergenerational experiences in our Makerspaces?

    Do we have to segregate by age so finely?

    Dad and son explore the Hour of Code together...
     At the Duxbury Free Library, some of the push back is going to be driven by our new effort to have more experiences available casually and not so much in a program format.

    Having a "Little Bits" Bar and table with Legos and other construction experiences available for the casual library visitor could be an enticement to sign up for a class or Tinkering session. We have lots of teens and children who are hanging out waiting for a tutor or a parent to arrive. We have parents and older adults who are casually visiting. Why not give them an experience that engages their curiosity and pushes them to ask questions?

    Raising chickens in your backyard was
    presented by an entire Duxbury family.
     We haven't started this initiative yet, but we're talking about it....