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Passion Activities


For this week, we encourage you to visit a local creative learning space, and discuss how it supports creative learning experiences. By "creative learning space," we're thinking of a place where people are creating projects -- and learning from one another as part of the process. Here are some questions you may want to consider when visiting:

Projects - What kinds of projects are people working on?
Interests - Where do the ideas for the projects come from?
Learning Community - Do people help each other learn? Do people take on responsibilities or roles over time?
Values - How do people treat each other? Are there community guidelines?
Space - Which aspects of the physical space support the creative learning process?


My local creative learning space is a nerd bicycle chopper gang called SCUL. It is based out of Somerville, MA, close to MIT.


'Ship' building - fabricating art bikes. Range: putting glow-in-the-dark stickers all over a bike to chopping up normal bikes and making double deckers (H.A.R.V.s - High Altitude Reconnaissance Vehicles).
'Sonic Disruptors' - portable music players. Range: iPod plugged into an off-the-shelf portable speaker running on AAs secured with duct tape, to the completely homemade subwoofer/waterproof system that run on car batteries connected to LED light strips that pulse along with music.

Fabric art - from making our 'Colors' by pushing buttons to make a digital embroiderer go, to a customized 'plasma casing' (inner tubes) utility bag that can deploy the necessary parts quickly to fix a flat.

Bicycle art - from stenciling choppers to the Exploded Bicycle Sculpture (this, represented with an actual bicycle with actual parts:

(then there are even nerdier projects that I do like keeping the books, which involved building a whole finance structure, our income/expense goals, projections, risk assessment, etc.)


Ship building typically starts with individual interest. Depending on skill sets, members will help each other out. Sonic Disruptors are definitely of individual interest. Personally, I think we're plenty loud without more speakers. One could argue that more SDs we have, the less we have rely on a select few members to be present regularly, which is fair (so, that would be for community interest). Many ideas come from needs, such as the utility bags that I mentioned earlier. We do have a pretty extensive record keeping so there is a good amount of institutional knowledge that gets passed down, so we can say things like "That thing you want to build? We've tried it. Here were the challenges. You up for it? Do you feel lucky?"

Learning Community

Absolutely people help each other learn. Mentors are not officially assigned, we have a 'hosting' system and the quality and quantity of that training varies depending on each host's interest, their level of participation/ability to teach, etc. Besides our founder the Fleet Admiral, leadership roles are not formerly defined. But, the longer someone participates, one sort of figures out who has been around, who does a bunch of work, who pops in only when it's nice out, etc. We do have (guided and unguided) times set aside for projects, so people can connected with mentors (which are just other members).


We're all mostly adults! Relationships range between Civil -> Close Friendships/Romantic Partnerships. As for community guidelines, we do have a list of "Prime Directives" that are heavily based on respect. It only comes up and gets dissected when we have personnel problems, which surprises no one I'm sure.


SCUL operated out of basements/garages for many years, in makeshift bicycle shops. Over the years we have created other project areas like the fabric arts station to support those interests, but we're largely a greasy bicycle shop. When the Artisan's Asylum ( was getting off the ground, their founders approached SCUL, recognizing that we had inadvertently created a thriving community of Makers of very different interests. This was a model they wished to emulate and felt that having SCUL be part of the Asylum could be beneficial to both parties. They were right! We have been operating out of the Asylum since. Now, in addition to a bike shop, many SCUL members ('pilots') are also Asylum members and have access to even more shared resources for Making. For example: More pilots have learned to weld, which yielded more builds both because of talent increase and access to welders.

(....and I've certainly created a lot more spreadsheets!)


I've posted my Week 3 assignment on Slideshare at:

Projects - What kinds of projects are people working on?

I showed up to my local Makerspace for one of our Tuesday night events (free and open to the public). Tonight was an interactive presentation and demo on Google Glasses. We always start our Tuesday night events off with a Show & Share session where people can introduce themselves and share projects they are working on. A highlight of tonight's session was a young man that demonstrated how he had hacked a wireless keyboard with a banana to progress his slideshow presentation for shop class by eating the banana.

Interests - Where do the ideas for the projects come from?

We regularly survey the community for ideas on workshops and we invite guests to give presentations. Group projects develop based on individual interests.

Learning Community - Do people help each other learn?

Yes, people frequently submit help and request help.

Values - How do people treat each other? Are there community guidelines?

People are respectful to each other. Newer guests and members are welcomed by other members. There are community guidelines posted on our site and generally involve asking people to be respectful of other people, tools, materials, and projects and to not use our space's resources for illegal or dangerous activities.

Space - Which aspects of the physical space support the creative learning process?

There are multiple areas for people to gather, and we are working on setting up different areas for different types of projects (metalworking/woodworking/etc). It seems easy to jump into new discussions and projects, too, but this goes back to the community and community's values. For instance, right now I am typing this at our space, a few members are working on a group project, and about half a dozen stragglers left from the Google Glass demo are gathered around the vacuum chamber trying to see what happens when different (safe) items are thrown in.

Overall, I would call our space conducive to different types of projects but we are evolving and trying to make it better over time.


The timing on this activity is perfect, but I will have to wait to post about a learning space until the weekend. I'll be travelling with a small group of students and teachers to the Shenzhen Maker Faire on Sunday. It will be my first time attending a Maker Faire, as I think it may be for everyone going. I am really excited to see how our students react to the environment!


I wrote some of mine here:


I visited a brand new MakerSpace at Broomfield Library, Colorado. The room size is about 20x02 ft, tugged nicely next to the children's library. Yesterday was their first time. The project is understanding the human body. They measure human vital signs ( blood pressure and body temperature) geared for age 9-14. There were 5 kids volunteer and 2 adults volunteer. Both of them are nurses. There were couple "patients" stopped by. The project idea came from a survey the library did couple months ago. There are several projects coming up geared in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) area.


Projects - What kinds of projects are people working on?
Well I was working with a private school teachers training group this week
They are planning to redesign the teachers training program. They have a new challenge: integrate International Baccalaureate Organization philosophy with technology learning mediation. We try hard with this challenge two years ago, but many teachers change their schools an now we have a lot of new teachers.
Then we need a creative way to develop a training program and get the integration in a very short period of time. We need this project ASAP

Interests - Where do the ideas for the projects come from?

Form every team member. We must have a brain storm quickly and soon. The ideas come from our IBO guidelines and from my training program proposal. We have our meetings this an the next week

Learning Community - Do people help each other learn? Do people take on responsibilities or roles over time?

I am afraid that I have not an answer. In our team we have 50% of new coordinators. We need to talk in our meeting room for discover how they learn and help others to learn.

Values - How do people treat each other? Are there community guidelines?

I find that one of the new coordinators is very kind person and a collaborative one. He is willing of to collaborate and support our new challenge. Other coordinators has experience with the content of our program and they know we need a new focus in our training program

We don´t have community guidelines yet, but we need to develop it.

Space - Which aspects of the physical space support the creative learning process?
We have an office and a table. We have a computer for everyone. We have apps for brainstorming

That is it.


I am a little bit busy this week so, instead of visiting a learning space, I will talk about an experience from 2008.

When I was studying for a master degree (2004 to 2006), I was in a working team named TACT (TéléApprentissage Communautaire et Transformatif). It’s more than a traditionnal team : it’s a learning community and a knowledge building community.

In 2008, my ex-professor has a batch of XO (little computers from OLPC). She organised an evening with current and ex students : we all have different backgrounds and interest. We were all in the same space : this was cosy and friendly!

The main goal of the evening was to find what we can do with the XO. As we had different interest, we found different things to do! When someone found something interesting, he had to explain it to someone else while we filmed the explication to keep artifacts.


Sounds interesting. What is "technology learning mediation"?

I find it hard to plan over the long-term at international schools also where the turn-over of teaching staff can be high.


The space I want to tell you about is something called "CME" (Civic Center of entrepreneurship) it is located in Guatemala City and its purpose is help people develop its own projects.

Projects: They support business ideas which could help the community or country development. They do this all for free.

Interests: People usually come to this place when they want to make its own company or if they have an idea and want to develop it to make it happen. They will learn things about market, financial, and some administrative principles. They have to apply all this concepts to its own project.

Learning community: All people usually gives comments about any project, although they are not part of it. All participants and learn from other experiences and ideas. There were some cases where people join together as a kind of society.

Values: There is a special rule when someone wants to give advice: 1 positive comment, something is good in product, should be together with and improve opportunity and viceversa. This is for help projects improve but recognize all good things the projects already have.

Another important rule is participants should show interest and should asist al least to a 75% of the classes and activities.

Space: Roundtable collaboration, games to help people share and relax, accesibility in terms of location.

Here are some links:
CME webpage
CME Facebook


Thanks. I am working as Tech in Education Coordinator and I am working with Mind Technologies as Visualization, Coding, Conversation (social networking) and long etcaetera. For me is hard to long term planning too. I have 6 years doing the job and every year we begin "from the beginning". Hard, very hard. International School is one of the most polemical school in Mexico City south because their use of technology ask for very well trained teachers and mobility causes many changes every year. But it is my challenge.


I have written a post about my visit to a new creative space in our town. It can be seen at.


Hi everyone! I've posted my short essay for Activity 3 to my blog, 6-April-2014 post:


Hi everyone!

For this activity, I wanted to describe my office. We build software and conduct research with schools. The space is always a beehive of activity, and I thought it would be perfect to share for this activity.

Projects - What kinds of projects are people working on?
People are working on all sorts of projects all the time. Some people are creating animations and artwork, others are building software through code, and still others are creating algorithms to accomplish specific tasks we dream up.

Interests - Where do the ideas for the projects come from?
The ideas for the projects come from just about anywhere. We dream them up, our research partners dream them up, or other thought leaders in the space help us.

Learning Community - Do people help each other learn? Do people take on responsibilities or roles over time?
Yes, people are always learning. Even though the floor plan is open space, you'll see people huddled around a whiteboard or standing up in a circle chatting.

Values - How do people treat each other? Are there community guidelines?
We laugh. A lot. And we get excited. And frustrated. But most importantly, we value and respect each other. I think the fact that we are all really excited to be there removes a lot of the traditional tensions that exist with group work.

Space - Which aspects of the physical space support the creative learning process?
There are whiteboards everywhere, even on the walls. Tables and couches are scattered throughout the space, making little collaboration nodes. There are all different types of chairs and bouncy balls and furniture. The walls are painted bright colors and there are tons of snacks.


I visited my first Maker Faire! It was in Shenzhen, China, which is on the mainland just across from Hong Kong. It wasn't quite what I expected, but nothing in China ever is, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Our students had the most fun working with Makeblock and competing against one another with their Sumo Robots. I loved watching them and their building excitement, as they downloaded the software and started operating the robot they'd built.

There were lots of amazing vendors and inventors, but there were fewer hands-on opportunities than I expected.

The most amazing booth for us was Protei. Some of our students had the chance to hear its inventor, Cesar Harada, speak recently. It was great to see his booth so busy.

For me, the most memorable part was when Dale Dougherty stopped to congratulate our girls on their work. He said he was particularly pleased to see girls building robots.

That's my own little maker in blue on the left.

The Maker Faire gave us a chance to connect with companies and other makers, and we may have a chance to visit a hackerspace in Shenzhen soon. I hope the excitement generated will help to kick-start our own school's makerspace.


Poetry Reading Open Mic
Part I

Since the 1950s poetry readings by the Beat poets in San Francisco, poetry readings have been the lifeblood of poetry in the U.S. The open mic reading is the most popular format and I participate in many of these. In this area, you could attend or participate in a poetry reading practically every night of the year. Even well-known poets eagerly read to groups of a dozen or less and continue to publish in small journals that pay only in copies.

The space where readings are held, coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, provide comfortable, informal and stimulating environments. One popular location was a local science museum that featured natural history books, artifacts (arrowheads, stuffed birds) and ambience from the early 1900s and before. These spaces encourage browsing and conversation before, during and after the reading. Non-poets often attend by choice or wander in.

There is a loose organization of the event, with limits on how many poems or how long someone can read, with an emphasis on "taking turns." Five or ten minutes, or one or two poems, per poet is typical, with some leeway. The host introduces each reader briefly and everyone is applauded after reading. Listeners are extremely tolerant of all levels of quality and experience, and all kinds of poetry forms and subjects (including strong views on controversial political subjects like abortion and the terrorist's viewpoint shortly after 9/11, and sexual content unless children are present). Some readings permit short fiction or music in addition to poetry. Some poets simply read; others present performance poetry or use performance elements.

Poems are understood to be works in progress. Feedback is rarely candid, and attention is often lax, but the poet is able to get a sense of response, whether the listeners are listening and subtle responses like laughs and sighs, viewing the work through the ears of others. (I was thrilled when someone once requested that I read a poem again that I had read at a previous reading -- "the one about the blossoms.") Open mics are often preceded by a featured reading for a half-hour to an hour by a poet who may or may not be well-known (locally or nationally).

(continued in Part 2 due to space limitations)


**Poetry Reading Open Mic
Part 2**

Materials are a microphone, chairs, published and self-published books available for purchase (sometimes given away), information flyers about other poetry readings and contests, and the poets' individual "poetry notebooks" from which they read, often choosing a poem to read at the last moment based on the atmosphere and perhaps related to a theme from another poet's poem read earlier. Individual poets may use props, like musical instruments for accompaniment. I have used props like bubble-blowing wand and solution, a recipe book and origami.

The readings have some similarity to an artist's "studio" but their main functions are exhibition, sharing and community-building. Polite listeners and an atmosphere of absorbing and learning by listening keep poets motivated to write. Some groups choose a theme for the following month which encourages writing on that theme. Regular participants become familiar with each others' work and provide informal encouragement. A listener occasionally asks to see the poem as written on the page or for a copy to keep. A poet might read a poem in the form of a villanelle or ghazal, explaining the form before reading the poem. In future months, a few new villanelles or ghazals will turn up in the readings by other poets. Readings help dispel the stereotypes of poets as overly-sensitive and poetry-writing as a form of psychotherapy for troubled people. Readings connect poets to other poetry organizations and events in the area through flyers, announcements and word of mouth. Poets who meet at readings sometimes form temporary informal groups for encouragement and group readings, or arrange to socialize before a reading.

One of the largest organizations in my area, The Mad Poets Society (with the "Mad" meaning "passionate," from a quote by Jack Kerouac), holds readings in five or more separate locations every month, sponsors annual readings and contests by high school students, publishes a substantial annual journal with poems chosen both from a related contest and from submissions. The contest is judged by a selected, relatively well-known poet and a small fee is charged for submission. The general submission process, however, is free and open to anyone in the world. There is an annual "book party" for reading by the poets of the poems published in the annual journal. Organization membership is a small annual fee but is not required for participation in any event. Here's a link to the website that includes a link to some photos:

Poets are at the forefront of "remix," including sometimes-controversial appropriation of existing words, known as "conceptual poetry."
Google Poetics is a conceptual poetry form that has poem postings on Twitter and elsewhere online.


Like your "quantum theory of observation."


There isn't a nearby maker space or fair near me for a few weeks, and your post made me even more interested in experiencing this. It seems to foster creative thinking in general, not just creativity in a particular area that someone is working on!


Thank you. You may be the only one that appreciates the reference.


“Anti-Fail” at the Rice University Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen

Ping pong balls, marshmallows, erasers and buttons were flying through the air when I visited the Rice University Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen’s Innovate All-Stars Challenge event last week. The “Safari Shootout” challenged students to design and build a slingshot, catapult, or similar device to hit cartoon animal targets 15 to 20 feet away.

Students spoke softly to their partners, debating the relative merits of pencil slingshots, “Viking catapults,” “siege catapults,” “bean shooters,” “coin shooters” and other creative options. Although they were paired off by random assignment, they seem to function seamlessly as teams and listened to one another with clear respect.

The entire event was just one hour long with segments devoted to design, testing, and reworking designs, followed by the competition itself. I was amazed by the apparent calm and intensity that reigned. Clearly, these students were practiced in the art of designing and prototyping under pressure.

The students selected their designs very quickly and dove into building them. A range of low-tech, low-cost raw materials were provided for building including: colorful tongue depressors, pipe cleaners, binder clips, balloons, tape, clothespins, duct tape, small wooden sticks, plastic spoons, empty water bottles, Legos, and rubber bands. I was impressed with the variety of devices the students created.

The collaboration between partners was noticeable, with teammates taking significant time to help one another troubleshoot and even build each other’s devices. This appeared to be part of the culture at OEDK. It was also carefully designed into the challenge, with final points for the competition assigned based on the number of targets hit by both team members.

While the design and testing phases were relatively intense and remarkably quiet, the competition itself was spirited and playful. People laughed with each other when marshmallows fell short and buttons went astray. And, they clapped at the end of each team’s effort.

Victory went to a duo who made slingshots out of pencils, plastic spoons, binder clips, duct tape and rubber bands, hitting a sweet spot between elegance and simplicity. The woman on the team was notable for her black t-shirt that read, “Anti-Fail.” I loved her spirit.

More About the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen:
The Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) at Rice University in Houston, Texas was developed in 2009 to give undergraduate students a chance to “design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges.”

Part of the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the OEDK is an 18,000 square foot facility centered on a huge open work area called the Prototyping Work Space with more than 60 workstations spread over two floors.

On my visit, I talked with two students who were developing a device for a local restaurant. They were eager to demonstrate how its unique features met the environmental and functional challenges posed by this restaurant. “It’s going to be unveiled at the restaurant tonight,” the women told me proudly.

Lessons Learned from the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen:

  • Failure is a necessary and expected part of the iterative creative process
  • Collaboration is critical
  • Mentors are invaluable
  • Relevance motivates
  • Low tech-high tech is a powerful combination
  • Space shapes learning

To learn more:


Please click HERE to read my assignment about the Harold Washington Library "Innovation Lab" in Chicago, IL.


"How many people here think that Shakespeare is uptight and boring?" asked one of the instructors at the morning meeting at Parts & Crafts, an alternative learning center for children in Somerville, Ma. Most of the children raised their hands. "No! He's a dirty old man whose stories are full of sex and death," the instructor countered. Parts & Crafts had just purchased a block of tickets for "The Tempest" at the ART, so students could see this once-in-a-lifetime production that will then play on Broadway. Tom Waits would be doing the music for the production, the instructor said. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know Tom Waits if I were the age of some of the younger children in the morning meeting, and I'm pretty sure no teacher of mine ever used the phrase "dirty old man" while discussing Shakespeare.

But things are really different at "Parts & Crafts," which is frequented by children in families that support non-traditional, progressive modes of learning. Many members of the staff loved learning while growing up--but hated school. They wanted to create a different experience for children that was shaped in part by the ideas in Seymour Papert's "Mindstorms: Kids, Computers, and Powerful Ideas."

During my visit, there were about 26 children, ranging in age from 7 to 17. They learn side-by-side a half dozen instructors who say they provide support rather than surveillance. Child-directed learning is a hallmark of the center. Some students had recently expressed interest in evolution, so they received a crash course on it through a lab on natural selection. They put down a plush, black fake fur rug, and on top of the rug, they sprinkled many pom poms of various colors. Participants were then given a set amount of time to prey on the pom poms, scooping them up with spoons. At the end of the time frame, remaining pom poms were allowed to "reproduce," doubling their population. The exercise continued. On day three of the lab, they analyzed their data. Darwin would have been proud of the black pom poms.

As the name of "Parts & Crafts" implies, materials play a significant role in the center's approach to learning, as does equipment ranging from soldering irons to sewing machines. And the instructors all enjoy DIY culture. But they seem to enjoy tinkering with ideas as much as materials. The center had just completed a unit on the "Arab Spring," for example, and the students would now have the option to explore the "Occupy Movement."

A physics lab, later in the week, would address why mirrors reflect images laterally but not vertically. Scratch animation labs were also on the schedule, along with a book club discussion about "The Book Thief." Mythology, meditation, debate, geography and mechanical interventions were also a part the "menu."

On the day of my visit, the morning meeting was unusually long, because the instructors were presenting the new schedule for the coming term. But they still took time to welcome me and ask me to explain the nature of my visit. I explained that in order to complete a homework assignment for a class on "creative learning," the instructors had agreed to let me come and observe their school.

A student immediately jumped in at that point and said, using air quotes, "...or, our 'school,'" because there's nothing traditionally school-like at Parts & Crafts!


Hello friends,
For This week assignment, I have visited multi functional institude where there are language classes plus Robotic maker space,
I found that it is a great idea to record a video of myself visiting the place like Mitch and Natalie, Because it is more interactive and more peer 2 peer style (not only the instructor but students post videoes ) and all the answers have been considered in the video
Video Link:
I am sorry for audio quality is a bit low

and here are some photos from the place and their projects:


The creative learning center that I decided to write about is The Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC), in the Hyde Park Neighborhood of Chicago. I am very familiar with the HPAC, as the organization that I co-direct, The Plug-In Studio, partners with the HPAC to offer Art + Tech classes to underserved students in the Hyde Park area. The HPAC supports a diversity of learning and projects. Children, adolescents, and adults take course where they learn to create art in a variety of media: painting/drawing, sculpture, ceramics, media/electronic arts. The HPAC also hosts and sponsors endeavors, such as The Center Program and the Youth Art Board, that allow adult and adolescents in the community to work collaboratively and share their knowledge of artmaking and cultural production with one another.

The Center Program is a capstone program designed for artists who are ready to take their work to a more advanced level. Participants in The Center Program form a peer community of artists that share technical and conceptual skills with one another. Additionally, professional artists regularly conduct workshops with participants to help them develop and refine ideas and concepts for their artmaking.

The Youth Art Board develops group projects, curates exhibitions, and represents the Art Center at public events. The atmosphere in both the Youth Art Board and Center Project meetings is one of co-operative learning. Participants dialogue to share knowledge with one another. Projects may originate with the individual, but often through dialogue, common interests are identified between individuals and collaborations ensue. These projects often address local concerns and needs. I would say that the desire to create these types of projects grows out of the long history of community service cultivated in the Hyde Park area. In fact, Hyde Park is the neighborhood where Barak Obama famously started his career of public service by working as a community organizer. Also, Hyde Park has a long history of community oriented learning. While faculty at the University of Chicago, John Dewey started the Lab School in Hyde Park and pioneered a curriculum that conceived of the classroom as a community of leaners that develop knowledge through social interaction. I think that the values established by Dewey in the Lab School permeate the fabric of the culture of Hyde Park and manifest themselves in work of the patrons at the HPAC. The Plug-In Studio hosted a Scratch Day open house here last year and the response from the community was awesome. Many of the visitors, most of whom had walked in off the street, created impromptu Scratch projects and shared them with one another. In the process they developed a flash learning community where they came together briefly to share knowledge with one another and have a communal learning experience.

The HPAC space is definitely conducive to collaborative learning. There are several multi-purpose spaces that can be rearranged to meet a variety of different size groups. The studios are also spacious and allow for free movement of students so that they can walk about, see each other’s work, and offer constructive feedback. A plethora of materials and artmaking tools are usually available to support students and participants in the aforementioned programs.


Hi I am teaching in Hong Kong and would love to bring this to our school, how do you get started with the Maker movement and do they have the Maker Faire very often?

Many thanks,



My creative space is a mechatronics class.The students create movements in a band so a plastic plate (raco)moves .The students create the moves with specific formulae that is typed in a computer.
It takes an hour collaborative work.It´s motivating and encouraging I really enjoy watching the students inventing and simulating the moves.
Projects- The kind of projects are related with mechatronics and robotics.The students need to use formulae to create the plate moves.
The objective of this lab is to simulate industrial equipment so students will know how to work when they finish college
Interests ideas come from their ability to create specific instructions in order to get the moves

Learning Community: They helped each other and discuss a lotThey had fun ,took roles and participated.

Values: They treated well and orderly.Sometimes they desperated but at the end they accepted ideas and changes.

Space.It´s a lab for mechatronics

This is in Guadalajara,Mexico .Tec Milenio University ITESM


It's exciting for us to see the video tour you created of your maker space there! I like the unique combination of learning languages and making robots. (The first robot almost looks like Randy, the LCL chameleon or other reptile.)


As a homeschooling parent, my home is the creative learning space I frequent most often. This photo is a science group that has started meeting at my kitchen table on a monthly basis. We are working on various engineering challenges. I present them with materials and a new challenge that I think will spark their interest. They work together to tackle the challenge as a group or individually. We always allow for plenty of time for them to modify and improve upon their designs or create their own projects. In the photo these nine-year-olds had already met their challenge of getting an electric current to flow three feet using four different conductors. They are now designing their own circuits and making motors spin, lightbulbs light, and creating electromagnets. As the adult, I'm there to give them more materials, help them think through design problems, and most often learn along with them. It is great fun to watch them bounce ideas off of each other and see the creative learning spiral at work. At this rate, I can't imagine the types of materials they will be requesting and creations they will be making a few years from now.


Wow, that is inspiring, thank you for sharing...


Hi Steve,

I think this is the 2nd year for the Shenzhen Faire. The Faire was great, but I think getting connected with a hackerspace might be even more helpful. I'm told there's one in Shenzhen, but I'd bet there are more in Hong Kong. The first offering of LCL last year got me interested in makerspaces. I've found some information to support teachers who want to start up a makerspaces. Actually, Dale Dougherty mentioned that he knows of one or two teachers in HK doing great things with makerspaces. I'm going to email him to ask for contact information, & I'll let you know. I have other resources to share too. More to follow!



Hi Eileen,

Thanks for your help, I am keen to introduce more of these activities into our school and I just found out that there is a Friday afternoon activity using Lego, which is run by an outside organisation. So I will drop by the class this week I see what they are doing, I wonder if I can add Scratch to what they are teaching? I guess they are using Mind Storm!

Look forward to hearing more!



I visited and volunteered to help at the YWCA spring break coding camp. The first day the girls built a Raspberry Pi computer and were introduced to Scratch. Plans for the rest of the week are to design and build a mobile app using App Inventor 2.
The project ideas come from the 'Youths App Challenge Curriculum Guide' for Technology Alliance. It includes many resources from Apps for Good.
The students do help each other learn and have community guidelines. The physical space includes card tables and chairs so that there are 4 students in a group. The facility also has materials such as a projector, screen, and art materials.


For this week's activity, I would like to share the experience of my mother back in India about her Collaborative Quilt Making Space. My mother, “Sangeeta”, is very passionate about knitting and she explores multiple pathways to expand her learning in the field. The conversation I had with her recently is entailed in the following blog post:


Wow! I couldn't really imagine what it looks like, until I found a YouTube video of SCUL riding in the rain. This is too much fun >


I really like that you describe them as a "science group" and not "kids doing science or learning about science". I think of learning as a way to get better at being someone (a scientist) or doing something, rather than having to first learn about it. Thanks for sharing!


Season (April -> end of Oct) just reopened. Our Alpha mission report:


I would love to hear what some of the challenges are that they kids have done!


Our museum has an area called the ART LAB for ages 5 and under. We have a variety of materials for the children to use on their own or with their adults with the focus on creative art but also sometimes incorporating science. During the fall we had a variety of gourds with magnifying glasses, a cut open gourd and seeds for science as well as natural materials, paper, glue, craft materials, and leaves for creating art work. Science and art are intertwined in young children's learning and development and this is a great space for them to experience and explore.


I visited the ARTLAB+ at the Smithsonian in DC.. It is a great creative space for media arts including 3D printing. It takes all silo spaces that we currently have ( moviemaking, graphic design,3D printing) and combines it into one space for students to come after school and create. Students can choose the projects that interest them and work towards certifications in Google Sketchup or 3D printing.


Game Maker’s Guild Meetup(GMG)

I have been attending the GMG for close to a year now. At the GMG, people gather together with prototypes of games they are working on. Being that all the projects are games, there is diversity within that constraint. Prototypes range from paper scraps to published projects. Games range from the complex to the simple, short to long, minimal to elaborate. Some games are collaborative efforts while others are brought by individuals. The space is not important, since the actual making is happening elsewhere, but it is the community of learners that makes this a special learning environment. People are willing to take risks, and the feedback is immensely helpful. We gather in order to have others help us learn; it is the primary function of this group. New game developers do get a significant amount of help, but they are not made to feel lesser in this community. There are no guidelines, but we are verging on making some. Some formalization is happening because the group has grown significantly in the last year.

On Monday night, I brought my prototype which has undergone significant changes since the last round of feedback, and I received the wonderful, if maddening, new inputs to start working on for the next round.


We were on spring break this week- so I didn't have much time to get to actually visit a separate space. However, my work space is often a creative space. I work with a learning team whose passion is helping teachers combine learning strategies with digital resources. We each have our own space- but generally work at a common table. This ensures that we are able to collaborate as we work on our own separate projects.


I sat in on a leather working class at a local maker space. Projects ranged from bags to clothing. One of the inexperienced students was making a very simple billfold as suggested by the teacher. One of the more experienced students didn't need instruction. He brought in his own work and was there for the socializing. The teacher had checked with the participants earlier in the week and brought appropriate materials - leather of different widths and colors, cutting and punching tools, and threads and needles. He set people up (esp. new students) with materials, instructions, and tools but didn't spend any time lecturing. When one of the new students didn't understand the cutting instructions another student stepped in with an alternate explanation. This seemed to happen quite a bit as the more experienced students (some of them teachers of other classes) helped new students.

The values of the group reflected those of the larger maker space. The class took place at the Sudo Room. It's a hacker space that works with "technology and where it intersects with social justice, sustainability, education and solidarity." They provide a free space for people to "learn, create, gather, collaborate, work, play and more!" For the class I attended that meant friendliness to everyone, respect for different ways of making, and shared responsibility for learning and teaching.


Thanks for the Art Lab link! I will make a visit to check it out the next time I'm in DC, for sure.


So far I've gotten good inspiration from and

We did a "wind resistant structure" challenge that had them building structures out of drinking straws and blowing them down. "Design a better football helmet" was a hit because it involved smashing cantaloupes. Since they liked electricity so well, I think squishy circuits are in the future, I just need to think of a good opening challenge.


This is great! I used to live (and teach) in Hong Kong. Do you know Shekou International School in Shenzhen? I study with a number of teachers there (an online ed tech course called Coetail).


I tried to sign up my children for a Lego Mindstorm workshop at Legoland but as the park was in "low-season", they did not offer it in English. So, instead I wrote a blogpost for this week's activity: "Pragmatic Passion: No longer an Oxymoron":

Educators are idealists and we often talk in idealistic, philosophical terms but I wanted to discover some practical arguments for including Passion Projects in the school timetable. This is to convince administrators and parents that all this "playing and tinkering" is a good use of school time when there is so much competing for our time. I blogged about what arguments I would make for Passion Projects smile


As I have been setting up the new Robotics Labs at our School over the past couple of weeks, I hacked this activity a bit to focus on how I could create a community within our Lab. The space is now open every lunchtime as well as during Flexitime and for the Big Projects group based there. I have also added spaces for students to share what projects they are currently working on - from small scale to large collaborative efforts and a "Help, I'm Stuck" area for people to post their struggles so others can help them out.


This is a link to my blog for Activity 3. I have not exactly followed the suggestions of the activity but I hope you enjoy what I have written:


It’s not only that I missed the deadline for the Maker Observation assignment, it’s that I’ve missed the mark. Like Colin said in his post yesterday, it’s hard to find the kinds of creative spaces exactly as you’ve described for us to observe. I liked his Trade School, but know from experience how hard it is to maintain something creative even if as a small thing over the long term.
I could tell you about the kite making yesterday at the Middle School for the Flying Club though they’ve done more exciting things like building and repairing remote control helicopters when I’ve been there. Or the woodworking shop at the retirement community because that might fit Maker Space too. I had wanted something I could use at work too though, so I had even located a weekly improv storytelling session in Harrisburg and a “Story without Words” event in Baltimore making and using visual materials, both over an hour drive to get to each city.
I ended up just watching the preschool class across the hall from my office. Their projects—the free play at the beginning was mostly what I focused on. They co-collaborated on ‘story’ in their toy interaction, although some chose to play alone. Interests—you could see that some stayed with the building materials while a few of the boys preferred the cars and racing. The teacher would interrupt every once in a while to ensure fair play (values) such as sharing or including others like the inevitably late to school child. One of the sad things I thought was the teacher singing “one minute to play, one minute.” She then had them clean up which to me is the very object lesson of what we teach about creativity. You get to do what you want and use this space to be free for a brief time, but now it is time to put away the toys and go to the real important things. Even as adults, we do something creative as a reward or a bribe to do the hard work or thinking, almost always separate, not intertwined. (The teacher will play “Simon Says” while they are in line for bathroom break waiting for the others, but when I offered once to do so, she declined my version of the game because then she’d “have to work to calm them down in the classroom.”) She is a very nice person, I understand that she has so much to do caring for three and four years olds, I just wish she didn’t see creativity as needing to keep control and having fun on her terms only. Her room is warm, inviting, colorful – but everything has its place and the rules are rules, there are only certain times and limits to creative expression.
And as far as the creative play on this past Tuesday, I’ll also share this: one poor car was in an endless loop of crashing, the little boy crying, “Oh no,” before gleefully wrecking the toy again with another. I have on my refrigerator the sign that says, “It’s time for me to write a better chapter in my life.” I don’t want this assignment’s story to be about what I settled on or didn’t do, but what I will. Make Space instead of finding it.
So, I would ask, are there maker space fairs? That is, like an Amish barn raising, people come into to a place and build something before moving on? What about mobile creative classes for those that have no regular free creation gathering whether rural, in a homeless shelter or a less advantaged nursing home? What about hospice or pediatric care facilities? Are there flash mobs of supplies and know-how to let a community spend three days in an Open Spaces style invent-a-thon? I found a lot of places where I could take a class or observe someone in a museum, but if I wanted to participate too, where do the adults go to play?
Although I would like to come back to this assignment later in order to finish the next first, how can we not just mine creative ideas from watching and learning, but how can we let others mine ours? How do we participate and not just watch creativity happen around us?


These are wonderful questions. I enjoyed the critical nature of your post. We spend a lot of time focusing on kids and teens and not thinking about adult learning or how to nurture mixed-age environments and groups.


Thanks for your reply--I liked the mention of mixed aged environments! This is a great time of year to keep trying to find nontraditional Maker Spaces. Today, for example, the retirement community I mentioned is having an intergenerational Easter craft activity. Employees of the nursing home bring their children to do activities with the elderly residents...will report more later smile


Creative Learning Space activity: Maracatu A open space of creative learning, with people with all ages learning peer-to-peer, in a very friendly mood. And the result is amazing!


Had to look up that one about mirrors not reflecting vertically! wink


"Help, I'm Stuck" area a great idea!


ha ha ha ha....I guess I could have said that mirrors flip images left-right but not up-down....sorry about that!


The crafts were foam visors and duck with beading window art with stickers and markers. My daughter went as an approved volunteer and I ended up staying home since some questions came up that made it unclear on whether this was open for public to attend.
Have set in motion "Maker Space Fairs" at my church this summer which build on Colin's trade school classes as inspiration but opened up into both diverse workshops/creative spaces including some with skills outside computers and fine arts. Sort of intergenerational experiential field trips to same place with different set-ups each time.


Overwhelmed , I visited my own workspace .
The high school is being recast in the public school system in the southernmost state of Brazil . There is demand from government for scientific research and presentation of the relations of production and work to students , supported by interdisciplinarity . There is the demand of the students for learning situations autonomously and laerning interest- based.
It is the third year of the recast proposal , called polytechnic , but schools still resist redesign the current traditional education. Tant there is a big political struggle between the reformists and proactive educators to have institutional guarantees that support interdisciplinary and ownership of learning spaces , virtual and physical .
Thus , our students are experiencing the curricular flexibility resulting from this process are identifying problems and creating solutions and analyzing issues that formerly contained even in the curricula.

What kinds of projects are people working on? How would you describe the range or diversity of projects?
In this area of ​​learning and work people create projects with different themes such as food, automation and african-Brazilian culture. This broad diversity is the result of the diversity of people involved in this process.

Where do the ideas for the projects come from? Are the projects based on individual, group, or community interests?
Ideas for projects originate from the very worldview of students. Some projects are results of charisma and interest of certain indivínduos that mobilize their peers, others were defined by a community of interest, and still others were defined by the working group.

Do people help each other learn? Are there mentors in the space? Is there a trajectory of participation from newcomer to leadership roles?
There is a great collaboration between learners, and on cooperation between them and their teachers, although not all teachers are really available and willing to help. Some students have great leadership and autonomy, others not so much. There is a program of meetings of educators to address this gap by understanding the changing educational paradigm, which leaves the selection of intellectually fortunate for the integral formation of citizens.

How do people treat each other in the community? Are there community guidelines or values that are discussed or agreed upon?
There is usually a deal of respect and cordiality among learners. There is a certain intolerance among students and educators, it is greatly valued the use of force and authoritarianism in our society, there is also a generational misunderstanding. Also these relational issues are being addressed gradually in periodic sensitization meetings and training, or as emergencies arise. Old behavioral patterns naturally taken as data is being systematically challenged to meet its foundations in fact. This has caused some embarrassment and some disagreements.

Which aspects of the physical space support the creative learning process? What materials are available?
The neuralgic point being tangenciado this process is the appropriation of learning spaces. The management teams is to keep the convenience anachronistic pedagogical pattern classes in rooms of brick and mortar, from which students come out only for Physical Education, which became just play football. In this space there are textbooks and blackboard. There is a living room with twenty computers to serve about a thousand students, and many of these devices are with outdated software or restricted operation. There is a legal ban on smatphones and similar spaces in the school, and that the state level.

However, this same institution already owned several alternative learning spaces, such as vegetable and fish farming, areas for athletics, typography ... whose spaces were taken over by the forest. I'm tacking a project of revitalization of these areas, involving archeology and remote sensing.


Found another creative space! If there is a contest, people will come! This year's "Peep Show"--using those marshmallow treats as 3D art features The Big Peep Theory and Jeepers Peepers (a huge eye picture made of Peeps). There are also short videos made with Peeps acting out the stories, all kinds of fun. Here is a link to some past "creations"-- enjoy!


Ok this is late and perhaps I may be cheating a bit by using their video as my submission but here it is! The creative learning space I visited was Osher Liferlong Learning Institute of University of Delaware. It is one of the earliest and largest lifelong learning programs in the country. It is an organization for adults 50 and over. During my visit, the director described their mission simply as "just learning for fun".
You can view the video on my Padlet or Lifelong Learning Institute of UD video direct Youtube link
In this video you will see examples of the projects, interests, community, values and space of Osher Lifelong Learning.


How much fun did they have with this activity!!?!


Here is another nice talk from Daniel Pink, Which I think closely related to Passion:

for YouTube:


The creative learning space that I will present is Impact HUB Bucharest. It is a place that I have visited many times and I am also a member. It was been a big support in my transition from corporate to freelancing, from marketing to educational trainings.

Impact HUB Bucharest is part of a global network of connected communities that support collaborative ventures. They offer a great place where you can find all the tools for grow, collaborative learning and innovation. The people that work on their business from the Impact HUB space are from each domain of activity, creative and focused on being part of a business or NGO that has sustainable impact.

Here are the main points about Impact HUB Bucharest:

Projects: The members are working on various projects, starting from a business idea and the incubation period until international ventures, creating new products and NGOs. The projects here are mainly based on the needs of entrepreneurs, freelancers and people that are in or preparing for a career shift.

Interests: People generate the ideas of the projects. These are based on their passion and on needs that they see in the environment. The goal is to achieve social impact and to help the global environment. There is also a platform where the members can discuss, share ideas and find on their own or with the support of the hosts ideas for projects and they can receive feedback.

Learning Community: There is a constant exchange of information. You can go and ask another member to give you some information on something you want to learn, you can have a team that you work with and learn together, you can ask a person like a mentor or you can ask for the support of the international network. While you are assimilating new information through meetings, online and events, you also become a teacher in the sense that you help others learn from your experience and you support them. It’s a complete circuit.

Values: People are very nice to each other and supportive. There is a clear community that exists in Impact HUB Bucharest and people have a strong feeling of belonging. The hosts and founders invest time and energy to create a strong community and connecting values and activities. There are also special events for the members, Community Evenings and Sexy Salads where people can relax, eat, connect and exchange ideas.

Space: The space is divided into different areas with the goal to facilitate the collaborative working and the creative learning process. There are many colourful tables where people can work together or just next to each other, there is a relaxing area, a meeting area, an open kitchen and so on. The space can easily be redesigned according to the event or to people’s needs. You can choose each time the spot that suits you and what you want to do. The colours, texture and ambiance are specially chosen to stimulate your creativity.

I really like it here because it’s a place where I feel at home, where anything is possible, where people are open and supportive and where you can feel the community.

You can find more details here:


Hey, everyone! I´m a little bit late, but I´d like to share with you my experience visiting a Creative Learning Space, here in Brazil.
I hope you enjoy! smile


This is great! I want to change his quote from "what business does" to "what education does". The encarta vs wikipedia battle is happening in education at this moment. There is no doubt in my mind who will win.


Yes, education could be great substitution, I believe that learning and the things that some have learned is among the most valuable property s/he obtained in everywhere.


Activity - Visit a Local Creative Learning Space

For the passion activity, we encourage you to visit a creative learning space in your community and explore how it supports creative learning experiences. It could be any place where people are creating projects and learning from one another as part of the process. Document your findings by replying below, and brainstorm ways we can apply what you’ve learned to this community! How can we better foster passion for each other? Remember, this community is also a creative learning space you might want to explore a bit more this week.

Questions to keep in mind include:

Projects - What kinds of projects are people working on?
Interests - Where do the ideas for the projects come from?
Learning Community - Do people help each other learn? Do people take on responsibilities or roles over time?
Values - How do people treat each other? Are there community guidelines?
Space - Which aspects of the physical space support the creative learning process?


My family did not have much money and I was one of those kids that like projects—so I was constantly building, collaging, sewing, putting on shows and otherwise creating things—with or without my little sister and brother as actors, product testers and guinea pigs. When I was 9 (in 1952!) my mother enrolled me in a program, “Ideas in Motion,” at the local university theater. This was truly a “place for ideas”! We not only made up our own skits and plays, we experimented with everything from splatter painting to creating life-sized totem poles. The people in the program believed that all children are creative and that the creative process could be practiced. We engaged in what would now be called, “metacogntion,” by talking about and appreciating the diversity of our ways of thinking. By age 15 I was “teaching” classes and acting as mentor to other kids (in lieu of the modest $60/year tuition). My first publication (at age 21) was as main contributor to a book about the program--A Place for Ideas: Our Theatre. I got my first degree in drama, but knew I did not “think” like an actor—but that I was interested in thinking, creating, and motivation. Over 30 years ago I became a developmental psychologst and have worked diligently with educators of all kinds to become more learner-centered and to focus more on creative thinking. My passion to develop my own projects has never diminished. My colleagues and I hope to leave a legacy to new generations of kids—helping them to find and follow their own passions.


As CoderDojo we provide to the child of our city a creative learning space 2 time a month.
During the Google code Week we organize a little maker space with MakeyMakey a other soft and the other mentor were not so experienced with all that stuff, so we have to dive in the same creative learning process of our children...that was amazing!!
Trying together to make things works...and after then a lot of ideas come up!!
Frequently one child has an idea and another one says " I know how we can do it! let's try together!"
We have only one big table and everybody move around it to watch at other's project for finding solution or inspiration.
At the end of the day we have a lot of little personal projects, the first we have done to understan how the materials we have can works, and 2 big projects as results of the mixing of everybody's idea and skills.
In the photo you can see one of those projects a MakeyMakey that works only if everybody is touching someone else!!!