chebe: (StarryNight)
I think that's right, yeah. There's a festival this weekend called Prototype, which focuses on play and interaction. There are some interesting talks and performances ranging from games, to analogue human interaction, and even some wearable tech. Niki and I are running a workshop tomorrow morning, teaching the basics of soft circuits.

We're going to be making pet stars. Now, we all know that stars like to shine, but they have to feel safe and loved (go watch/read Stardust). And pets like being petted and cuddled. So when you pet your pet star it shines brighter! If you poke too hard the lights go off. If you do a good job the star will purr! (Turns out a star purring is a lot like lights twinkling.)

Here's the prototype I did up. The real ones will be much nicer, have proper felt, and be more cushiony.

A blue felt star, with a silver star in the middle with a trail of white LEDs

Pet Star - prototype
Photo by chebe

insider details )

I'll take some photos of the proper finished pieces at the workshop. And if the workshop goes well I'll do up detailed instructions on how to make your own.


2013-Dec-16, Monday 03:34 pm
chebe: (Default)
I was at the hackerspace talking to Julie and Aoife about our plans for workshops/courses in the new year and we digressed into talking about teaching/mentoring methods in our informal group settings. Here's a few things I've picked up along the way;

1. Set expectations at the start. Explicitly state things like; no learning objectives, self-directed/motivated learning, no course-work, not traditional classroom scenario, here to help not to make you learn/work. Ask if attendees have particular thoughts/concerns not mentioned. Because if reality doesn't match peoples expectations they can get confused and/or frustrated/angry. Clearing this up means people can buy-in, or opt-out altogether.

2. Particularly with children, it can be helpful to get the group to create a set of group-behavioural-guide or code-of-conduct. Things like; don't interrupt, listen to others, don't be shy, ask any question no matter how 'small', don't skip breaks, anything the group thinks is important. When created by the group they are also often enforced by the group.

3. Sometimes forcing attendees into groups can help them learn better, especially if they're normally very quiet. I find this is more difficult with adults, but it could be worth exploring further. Don't hesitate to go, you-you-you one group, or maybe one-two-three-one-two-three, now all the ones are one group, twos are another, etc.

4. Give people just enough information to get started, then answer questions as they get to them. (But make sure to give them the roadmap for the session.) This increases active participation, stops info-dumps, and prevents people feeling overwhelmed. I suspect the associative nature of the learning will help people retain the information better as well.

But it's an endlessly fascinating subject, so I'm curious to find out what things you found worked for you? Either as attendee or teacher/mentor. Any tips, suggestions?
chebe: (OnTheVergeOfSomethingWonderful)
The Electro-Sewing Workshop was last Friday, and I feel it went very well. Even with starting on Irish-Standard-Time and forcing the class to sit through a slide-deck, there were seven very pretty LED-flowers two-and-a-half hours later. Definitely a success!

Here's a couple of pics from the night.

Aren't they pretty! I am planning to write up a how-to for these, but truth be known, they follow essentially the same method as for the LED-horns from last year. Nonetheless, people seemed rather enthused about the whole experience :)

I've also gotten my hands on the new LilyPad ProtoSnap Development Board. It's very nifty; all the main components of the LilyPad range, pre-connected on one board! So you can practice your programming, or simply getting the components to work together the way you want, without having to worry about any of that sewing malarkey. Then, if you want, you can snap the pieces apart and sew them into an actual project!

I plugged it in just yesterday and was highly amused to find a pre-loaded program that tests most of the components (make sure to play with the switches!). But, looking closely, I've noticed that only the RGB-LED, the five white LEDs, and the momentary push-button are connected to actual sew-holes on the Simple Microcontroller Board. The rest of them are connected through paths that would be available on the full Microcontroller Board, but that aren't exposed on the Simple board. Makes sense, seeing as how the LEDs/button take up all the existing holes! (Still, I imagine the numbers printed on next to the other components could get confusing for someone just starting out. Speaking of, there's a nice tutorial available to get you up and running.)

And all this has inspired me to maybe run a LilyPad course in tog in January. We'll see.

In other news, I don't have any photos from Octocon, but we made the same flowers as shown above, and you can check out the photos from Darklight (where I spent some time teaching people to solder) in the Gallery. (Can you spot me, or rather my Dresden Dolls hoodie?) That's almost it for my busy October. *phew*


2011-Oct-12, Wednesday 04:27 pm
chebe: (MangaMe)
The Basic Hand-Sewing Workshop was yesterday at tog. I still have to work on my handouts, and really nail down the drawstring bag project, but otherwise it went well and I met some very nice people!

Here's a couple of pics from the night.

Basic hand-sewing is a pre-requisite for the Electro-sewing workshop coming up next week, and I think everyone will be more than able to handle it :)

Speaking of electro-craft, you can check out the pictures from Electric Picnic in the Gallery.

Just checking in

2011-Oct-10, Monday 11:09 am
chebe: (WalkSign)
Okay, I've done it again, I've left it too long without posting! I am working on finishing up two projects (which I won't talk about until they're finished), I've been prelaundering fabric, and getting ready for a series of short workshops. And that's before we get to regular life stuff! I'm a busy chebe.

Tomorrow (Tuesday 11th) I'm running a basic hand-sewing workshop in tog.
This weekend (Saturday 15th) I'm running at least one electro-craft workshop at Octocon. It'll be making the LED-flowers we made at Electric picnic. And it's the first step in a series of projects of ever increasing complexity to get you comfortable with etextiles.
And if you can't make Octocon, don't worry, because we'll be running the same workshop in tog, on Friday 21st!
On Saturday 22nd I'll be helping out the tog guys run some workshops at Darklight (and a couple of my projects might be on display the Friday before).
Then the following weekend I'll be hanging around Gaelcon, just for fun, and desperately trying to finish my Hallowe'en costume! (Ideas, quick, I need ideas! ... and sleep.)

I'll try to post some content as we go along, but it's a busy month!
chebe: (LanternReflect)
I have to quote Meg here, "wait until I tell my mother I spent Saturday evening in a church, sewing, she'll be so happy". We were contacted a while back. Some people wanted us to help bring the joy of electronics to young people. How could we say no?

The Clubhouse is an organisation that provides a place after school for young people (8-18) to go and learn some pretty cool stuff like computers, game design, web design, music production. They also host nights at the weekend that provide a place for the older young people to hang out.

On Saturday they held an event, Dublin 8 is Great! Volunteers spent the day cleaning up around the area (in some quite bad rain). As a reward a party was organised for them later in the day. This is where we come in. A make station was set up. They already had people showing how to make throwies, and badges, and were wondering if we'd like to help out. Of course we were only delighted. So Rob and Jeff brought some stuff to teach soldering, and Meg and I set about the task of showing how to make LED electronic bracelets. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work, and what I learned most was how unprepared I was.

Reflection )

Conclusion )
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