Even a Web Founder Worries about Today’s Connected World Climate

the-innovators-9781476708706_hr-1Can a world wide web creator be a doubter about what he helped to create?

I’ve just finished reading The Innovators by Walter Isaacson, a book that highlights the many people who helped create, step-by-step, the digital world where we now reside.

The book begins way back in the mid-1800s with the ideas of Lady Ada Lovelace, an amateur mathematician (and the daughter of poet Lord Byron). It was Lady Ada, Isaacson writes, who provided the ideas and laid groundwork for early computer developers to use nearly 100 years later when they created their first computing machines.                              Continue reading

Electronics Tutorial Helps Parents & Teachers Gain Deeper Understanding

Click on this icon at the top left of the webpage to access the tutorial.

Click on this icon at the top left of Paul Mirel’s webpage to access the tutorial.

As exciting makerspaces spring up all over the place, I wonder how much attention is given to leveling the makerspace playing field in order to ensure that everyone in a 21st Century group, class, or school community has the basic knowledge for exploring and innovating.

Take understanding basic electricity, for instance. At a conference that I attended last year — an amazing event filled with countless  maker opportunities —  some people seemed to understood electricity’s basics and lots of others did not. The people without the knowledge, the “have-nots,” frequently appeared to lurk on the periphery of projects.

A friend and former colleague, physics teacher Paul Mirel, recently developed an introductory electronics tutorial for his art students at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD. It’s written in a way that is easy to understand and also easy to follow. He thinks that his students need an elementary understanding of basic electronics if they are to fine tune their maker skills. Check it out!               Continue reading

Collaborative “Maker Team” Aims to Improve Ebola Protective Equipment

A maker table filled with supplies at the Constructing Modern Language conference in July 2014.

A maker table filled with supplies to help innovate and solve problems at the Constructing Modern Language conference that I attended in July 2014.

If you want a perfect example of people coming together —  as makers —  to work on a critical and life-saving  project, read the article How a Wedding Dress Maker is Trying to Stop the Spread of Ebola, in the Washington Post. The November 9, 2014 article describes how John Hopkins University biomedical engineers brought together a group of people to generate ideas about how to make a safer and more comfortable protective suit for the medical personnel who care for Ebola patients.

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Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner: A Short Review

For some time on this blog I’ve listed Creating Innovators as my current read.

Tony Wagner’s book looks at young adults who are successfully navigating a transforming world of work, where a deep understanding of teamwork and innovation is a prerequisite for success. His profiles focus especially on the educational and parenting experiences that helped each young person flourish. Wagner prods us to identify what we — educators, parents, concerned adults — need to do to engage young learners and help many more of them grow into innovative and creative thinkers.

Creating Innovators features two blended tracks — one text and the other media. Wagner supplements the traditional book with a host of videos that extend and amplify what we have just read. QR codes in each chapter make it easy to access the videos, so we need only scan the image with a smartphone app and off we go to view the related media. If a reader does not own a smartphone — and I’ve discovered that for financial reasons quite a few of my younger colleagues don’t — Wagner’s website includes a page with links to all of the videos.      Continue reading