This post original appeared on the littleBits website, June 10, 2015
I am based in…
Tell us more about your organization/space.
teKids was created with a single goal: connect kids (and adults) along the Front Range, to each other, to electronics and to technology. With a shared vision of “Creating Amazing Experiences”, user experience agency Slice of Lime supports teKids goals and will help us achieve them, one bit at a time.
teKids utilizes the high energy environment of Galvanize in Denver’s Golden Triangle. Galvanize is a place to work, learn and grow and a space for people with big ideas and goals to start their journey.
I was inspired to start a Global Chapter because…
I was inspired to start the Denver Chapter by two things. After meeting and chatting with Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO of littleBits at CES in 2014, I was inspired to make my first purchase of the Starter Kit. Working on beginner projects with my two boys, ages 7 and 4, inspired me to bring littleBits to my oldest’s kindergarten class. The experience was so rewarding and I wanted to take it farther. When I saw the call for Chapter leaders, I jumped at the chance and here we are.
Tell us about your most recent event.
The last event was our first and was an introduction to littleBits. We had eight participants between the ages of 8-12 year olds who attended the workshop. It was a smashing success– I couldn’t have asked for it to have gone more smoothly. Oh, except for the fact that we were locked out of the space when I first arrived. We solved the problem within minutes.
What were some of the projects that came out of your event?
Some of the projects that came out of the first event were an airplane with four servo props, a house with a servo, a spinning flag, a flashlight, a car, a crane, a fighting servo game and a car tunnel.
What did you learn from hosting this event?
I learned a couple of things hosting this event. The biggest thing is that once the kids understood the basic principles behind working with littleBits, a simple circuit and saw just two demos of what they can do with them, there was no need for any further explanation. The kids just got it and I let go of trying to direct them to the solution I wanted or that was anticipated. Instead, I let the kids teach me through what they wanted. Letting go of trying to lead or direct proved a great asset.
The second thing I learned is to keep workshop groups small. With just two mentors, managing your time between ten kids is very doable. Pairing them as a team also helps manage your time with all participants and also promotes collaboration in brainstorming and making.
The third learning is that kids don’t need a lot to be creative with. Cardboard, tape, scissors, Sharpies and string go a long way. Stay away from duct tape, as it’s hard for small hands to tear and even cut with a scissors.
Who else in your community inspires you?
Inspiration comes in a lot of different ways for me. The people at Slice of Lime, the people I work with, are a constant source of inspiration. Their passion and desire to create amazing things and experiences is boundless. Also, my wife Stefani is constantly challenging me to create and my two boys inspire me everyday through play and “just having fun”.
What’s next for your chapter?
The first experience was fantastic and something I haven’t experienced since teaching web design in 1999. I can’t wait for the next workshop! We have our June event coming up, which I hope to fill (and not be locked out of again) and July’s bitOlympics.