2015 is drawing to a close, workshops at the Library are done for the holidays, and here at LA Makerspace we are cozying up to work on preparation for the new year. There's instructors to hire (click here if you're interested!) robot parts to stock up on, and waaaaaaayyyy belated Kickstarter rewards to get out (we're going to have stickers now. That is exciting).
But mostly, we're thinking of you. We've noticed that our Twitter followers have increased by 49%(!) this year, and our Facebook page likes by 30%, so we know you're thinking of us.
To our chagrin, we haven't been able to provide you as much of a peek into what your support has achieved as we wanted to throughout the year. Unlike with regular workshops, there's more privacy and permission concerns involved at the library, which we haven't had spare resources to tackle while getting everything else up and running.
So, for the remainder of this month, we're going to give you a video tour of life in LA Makerspace as it is right now. Each video will focus on innovation: things we've launched, invented, tinkered with, all in the name of achieving our mission of Maker access for everyone.
The focus of our year-end fund drive is to put resources behind that innovation. With all other costs covered, given funding and time to innovate, imagine what we could do.
We'll start off with this video, which some of you have already seen, of one of our first librarian workshops in Robotics. Because the biggest innovation this year, of course, was beginning the work of helping to transform the Library itself.
Guess where your very own LA Makerspace Scratch Squadders were this past Saturday, October 3? At Google, yet again! Google hosted an event called “Cracking the Code: Diversity, Hollywood, and Stem.” The event started off with a keynote conversation with Danica McKellar, actress, author, and mathematician. She’s involved with series such as Wonder Years, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and Dancing with the Stars to name a few. She started off by asking the audience what a stereotypical scientist, engineer, or mathematician looks like? She challenged us to think otherwise. There is no typical look. Everyone and anyone could be a scientist, mathematician, engineer, etc. There is no such things as a “woman engineer, a latino mathematician, etc.” They are equal engineers and mathematicians. Danica was a clear advocate to girls in STEM. She encouraged girls to understand that smart is cool!
Our own Tara Tiger Brown is leading a workshop at Sandbox West, a dynamic idea forum focused on the intersection of play, learning, and technology. The focus will be on working with educators to better understand how to integrate hands-on electronics projects into the classroom so that it works with existing curriculum. There's a lot of other super cool stuff going on too.
If you are on our email list, check your inbox for coupon codes. If you're not and would like to be, sign up here: http://www.lamakerspace.com/mailer and we can send them to you.
At Google: Scratch Squad Celebration
by Ashley Burton
Scratch Squad had the opportunity on August 21st to visit Google LA to introduce some new Scratchers to the Squad as well as tour the Google LA facilities. Our Googler volunteers who traveled to join us from Mountain View, Kennan Cronen and Lehren Mackay, as well as Jennifer Vaden Barth, Google LA’s EngEDU Program Manager, were able to escort us on a tour around the Google headquarters. There were approximately 25 students in attendance who were involved in Scratch Squad plus parents and siblings.
After arriving at Google, the kids were set up in the “Big Lebowski” Hall to learn how to teach Scratch to groups of their peers. After the class our Googlers led us on a tour of the facilities of Google LA. Once the tour was completed our resident MakeyMakey expert, Sara Kaviar, then explained to the kids what MakeyMakey is and then let the kids explore and make their own. When the kids were finished, our judges went around to observe what they had done and then they chose a winner from the different groups.
Overall the visit to Google was a great experience and the kids all had a great time with all of the events. LAMSS is so grateful to Google for the opportunity to tour their facilities as well as utilize their space to teach our new recruits about Scratch and how to explain it to their peers.
By Brian Foley
The LA Makerspace Scratch Squad is starting its second year teaching free coding classes in LA. This year we are partnering with Google's CS First program to allow groups to learn even more about Scratch and Computer Science. The Scratch Squad is made up of kids who volunteer to help introduce Scratch to others across the city. Last year the Scratch Squad taught classes in a wide variety of places - Libraries, YMCAs, after school programs and even people's garages! The classes are all free and the teaching is done by the kids for kids.
Scratch Squad offers groups up to four Scratch lessons - but several groups have asked for more. This is where CS First comes in. CS First provides instruction on coding with Scratch through its online web portal. Groups can use the online tools including instructional videos and live advice to go far beyond the introduction that Scratch Squad provides. This year the Scratch Squad will help groups get started with CS First enabling far more learning than before.
Kids aged 10-16 who know coding are invited to join the Scratch Squad and help us reach our goal of 100 Scratch Classes by the end of the year.
An open invitation to LA STEAM education nonprofits, and anyone else who's interested in maximizing impact and efficiency in LA STEAM ed;
We're presenting a workshop at the DML Cafe on Saturday, and thought it would be the perfect time to gather some of L.A.'s STEAM education nonprofits for an informal lunch to discuss creating a network to help us work better together.
The lunch will be held from 1-2pm, Saturday June 13th, at SPIN @ the Standard Hotel, (550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071), so that everyone can attend even if they're not going to the conference -- But, be aware that admission to the DML Cafe is just $50 for educators and you will learn SO MUCH cool stuff!
Hope to see you there! Look for us at the Ping Pong tables!
LA Makerspace is Hiring! Robotics/Electronics, Creative Computing, and Minecraft Instructors! As well as a Part-Time Program Assistant to support all of the above. Job descriptions after the jump; send your resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org