Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Scratch in the Browser

Mitch Resnik hinted at this during NYC Scratch Day. Today I found a test server. Scratch running inside a browser. No saving, but you can build!

Monday, December 19, 2011

LED Light Box

My mom bought my 4 month old son a MurphLab LED Art Kit from the MakerShed. I put it together for him. I built a temporary container for it from a tie box I received for Christmas. I hope my father-in-law will help me by building a wooden case for the device.

The kit comes with a piece of cut matte board and a "lens," a piece of plastic through which the light shines.

There are three LEDs. You connect the positive terminals and the negative terminals and use a pair of pliers to crimp down a little metal tube around the LED terminals.

It is a good idea to label the terminals as you build the LED array. Here is the negative terminal.

Next, the LEDs are connected to the power supply.

Next, my attention turned to the temporary case for this project. I received a tie for Christmas that came in this handy box. I cut off one side and repurposed the stock to make an open area in the box for the power supply switch.

I built a shelf for the LED array to sit on and hot-glued it in place.

I followed the direction's suggestion to put a dab of hot glue on each of the LEDs to distort the light. It produced a great effect when the box was closed up and the lens was in place.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Genesis of Apple's Design Philosophy

If you use an Apple product you should watch this video of Steve Jobs from 1980. Apple's philosophy and direction was forged at this computer user meeting. Think about how the Apple II that Steve Jobs promotes at the beginning progresses to the way the iPhone integrates well-made software into hardware. Seemless user experience from the beginning.

Monday, December 12, 2011

NYC Scratch Day

I had the good fortune of facilitating a session at the NYC Scratch Day, graciously hosted by Packer Intercollegiate Institute. I taught people how to use PicoBoards with their Scratch projects.

My friend Rob showed up and brought his son along.

Check Spelling

They developed a great Scratch PicoBoard project that used the alligator clips to create a closed circuit. Using the slider, T could make Scratch play a series of four piano chords. Here it is in action.


They demonstrated the project for Jaymes, who also facilitated a session on PicoBoards.

My success story for the day was working with a fifth grade girl to create her first PicoBoard project. She had previous experience using Scratch but had never before used a PicoBoard. She watched me demonstrate a few different projects that used the different sensors on the PicoBoard. She decided she wanted to make a project that used the slider, to control left and right movement of her sprite, and the button, to fire a projectile at another sprite.

An hour and a half after starting, she had her project working the way she wanted it! She could move her character with the slider, and the button fired a projectile sprite that we borrowed from another Scratch project. She was going to add a PicoBoard to her Christmas list!

This was perhaps one of the best educational technology conferences I attended or at which I facilitated a project because there were more students there than adults! The students were all very excited to be there on a Sunday to learn more about Scratch! What a fun day!