Atlanta Mini Maker Faire has been invited to the Sandy Springs Public Library to introduce their teen members to Makers and Maker Faires. We’re looking for a good half-dozen Makers to come and contribute to a mini display and presentation. Interactive activities, robots, and other teen-friendly makers are encouraged. This is a great opportunity to showcase the Atlanta Maker community. RSVP if you’ll come, and email us if you’d like to present.
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Last evening, our planning team had a chance to chat with Sabrina Merlo, from Make Media. Sabrina manages all of the Maker Faires and we’re grateful she found some time for us. She offered some valuable insight and inspiration for this year’s event. One the ideas that really caught our attention was the attendance required to drop the ‘Mini’ and become a Maker Faire. That level is 10,000 attendees, and would put us in the company of New York, Detroit, and San Francisco. Last year, we estimate 6000-7500 were in attendance; being more than halfway there is great inspiration to grow our faire by leaps and bounds this year!
To reach that milestone, we’ll need everyone’s support. In the next few weeks, we’ll outline volunteer opportunities and ways you can join our social media crew to help spread the word. Right now, we’re asking your help in creating the brand for AMMF13. We’d like to be the Maker hub of the South. What does that look like? What phrase captures that idea? What images? Send us your ideas. When we have a good ideas of what we’re looking for, we’ll have a design contest for the official art of AMMF2013.
We’re also looking for a Volunteer Manager and Marketing Director to join our planning team. Both are volunteer positions and would require about 2 hours of face time per month for the next 6 months, and then about 2 hours per week for September and October.
Email your interest and branding ideas to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. We intend to post ideas online, so let us know if you’re not ok with that.
-The AMMF13 Team
David Greelish is a Computer Historian, Writer, Podcaster & Speaker. He is also the Founder of the Atlanta Historical Computing Society which participated in the 2012 Atlanta Mini Maker Faire. He has written a book about computer history, The Complete Historically Brewed, and he has organized the Vintage Computer Festival Southeast coming up on April 20-21 in Roswell, Georgia.
I recently interviewed him to highlight the Makers who replicate classic computers, rebuild vintage computers to make them function in new ways, and make USB keys for classic computers. We had a fun conversation exploring the passion, joy, and nostalgia for classic computing.
The questions I ask range from the Apple Pop-Up Museum at the Festival to the creations made by vintage computer buffs.
On Saturday, February 9th, two local makerspaces, Freeside Atlanta and My Inventor Club, hosted their first ever 3D Printing Hackathon. The free event, hosted in their adjacent spaces in West Atlanta, gave folks in the community an opportunity to witness 3D printing firsthand, while at the same time learning about related topics like 3D design and 3D scanning. Well over 50 people attended, with some making the trip from as far away as Chattanooga.
The highlight of the event was its panel, drawing some well respected names from the 3D printing community. As an illustration of how technology is removing some of the traditional barriers to bringing people together, many of the speakers were not present physically. Organizers hosted a Google hangout and projected the discussion onto a huge screen for event attendees.
Here are some of the highlights:
Dr. Stuart Brown, in his book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, tells the story about how the Jet Propulsion Laboratory realized that, although they were hiring the best and brightest college graduates, it was hiring the wrong kind of people. Something had changed in the kind of people that came to work at JPL.
“The JPL managers went back to look at their own retiring engineers and … found that in their youth, their older, problem-solving employees had taken apart clocks to see how they worked, or made soapbox derby racers, or built hi-fi stereos, or fixed appliances. The young engineering school graduates who had also done these things, who had played with their hands, were adept at the kinds of problem solving that management sought.
“Those who hadn’t, generally were not. From that point on, JPL made questions about applicants’ youthful projects and play a standard part of job interviews. Through research the JPL managers discovered that there is a kind of magic in play.”
–entire post copied from the Makerspace Playbook PDF
When trying something new, I often experience a lot of internal misery. I tend to get scared, anxious, and full of doubt. I blame it on schooling. I think school comes loaded with a kind of virus that alters your operating system in a detrimental way.
We’re all born with this incredible willingness to tackle new problems: how to walk, how to talk. As an infant, I didn’t care if I stumbled, fell over, sounded stupid. I was going to accomplish these goals no matter what. There was no embarrassment, there was no shame, there was no fear of what others would think.
Somewhere along the way, things changed. School is so focused on getting things right, on being perfect, on getting it correct the first time. It warps our understanding of what it means to learn. It fundamentally alters how we perceive challenges.
Instead of relishing the opportunity of diving into a thorny problem, I tend to hold back, raise shields, and cower.
In Carol Dweck’s research studying children’s reactions to hard puzzles, she was prepared to document how they struggled with difficult challenges:
Confronted with the hard puzzles, one ten-year-old boy pulled up his chair, rubbed his hands together, smacked his lips, and cried out, “I love a challenge!” Another, sweating away on these puzzles, looked up with a pleased expression and said with authority, “You know, I was hoping this would be informative!”
What’s wrong with them? I wondered. I always thought you coped with failure or you didn’t cope with failure. I never thought anyone loved failure.
As I read this excerpt from Mindset, I realized how far I am from this “growth mindset” that Dr. Dweck explored. In many ways, I am stuck in the “fixed mindset” that demands validation and proof that one is good, smart, and intelligent. The fixed mindset assumes that these traits are unchangeable. The growth mindset recognizes that things like creativity, intelligence, and problem-solving are all skills that can be continually improved upon.
I’m aware that many, if not all, Makers seem to hold the growth mindset. They relish challenges, they want to stretch themselves, they want to try and do things that they have never done before.
Instead of attending school, I’d like my children to spend their days with Makers so they can soak up this growth mindset and avoid the fixed mindset. In fact, it seems that what we really need as a human race is a whole lot more people with the growth mindset in order to tackle and overcome the many challenges we face. What’s exciting to me is to see groups, schools, and camps all over the world who have this approach in mind: Brightworks in San Francisco (Gever Tulley’s year-round school), The Tinkering School (summer camp with partners in several cities around the U.S.), Leonardo’s Basement in Minneapolis, and the forming Decatur Maker Space right here in Atlanta.
Hey everyone – in the interest of keeping the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire spirit alive all throughout the year, we’ve had a kind individual sign on to be our first official writer. AMMF community, meet Craig; Craig, meet the AMMF community!
Here’s a bio about Craig so you can get to know him too:
Craig Lambert is an educator who has taught in public schools, Waldorf Schools, and a Free School. He currently runs an in-home preschool (thelambertschool.com) and a program for teens to do apprenticeships & internships in any field instead of attending high school. Craig writes a daily blog about hands-on, experiential education (pullnotpush.wordpress.com). His Maker contributions include Sci-Fi-Shakespeare comic books, knitting, and a rules-lite RPG system.
So how was 2012 for Makers in Atlanta? What can 2013 be?
Here’s your chance to rehash AMMF 2012, talk about Atlanta’s Maker scene and shape the future of both!
MASS collective will host a walkthough of their exciting new space and share their vision for the future. We’ll then wander over to No Mas Cantina for a late lunch and brainstorming session. If you are, or want to be a part of the quickly booming Maker scene in Atlanta, this is the holiday gathering for you! On the fun side, we’ll have some cool swag if you know more than the next guy in our Maker Trivia game, and we’ll be clearing out the AMMF2012 tee inventory – it’s the perfect $5 stocking stuffer!
And if we get into the tequila, there might be a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity.
We’ll be doing this on Saturday, December 8th from 12:30pm to 3:00pm.
To organize this - and future - events, we’re using the Atlanta Makers group on Meetup.com. Please head to the event page on there and RSVP if you plan on coming so we have an accurate head count for the restaurant. And of course, if you have any questions, please free to shoot us an email at email@example.com!
It’s almost been a month, but the Faire feels so long ago! We just recently got our survey results back from MAKE, and the results were that this year’s Faire was fantastic! Exceptional! Stupendous! We also received a good amount of feedback on how we can improve next year. Parking was the #1 issue, after that was directional signage, and following that was having a better way to advertise/announce when and where workshops and presentations started. And there were some complaints from Makers about the load-out. Oh, and you guys want some food trucks next year.
One other comment was that people were uncomfortable with, or just downright don’t like, the term “Mini” as in “Atlanta Mini Maker Faire.” Well, let me tell you what this actually means. Any Faire you attend that has “Mini” in its title means that it was organized by local volunteers rather than MAKE Magazine itself. That’s right, everyone that put forth some effort this year whether it be the main organizers or the people handing out water to thirsty Makers did so on a volunteer basis – no one here is paid. And that means that while we might be spread a little thin at times, we love what we do.
And speaking of money, all of our expenses – absolutely everything – were paid for by our sponsors and anyone that was kind enough to give a donation. You guys are our lifeblood, and there’s absolutely no way we could have done it without you.
So what’s next? Well, first we need to plan a date for AMMF 2013. The plan is to have it on Georgia Tech’s campus again, and that means we have to find a weekend when they are away. And the only only way game we can find on their 2013 schedule is on 10/12 of next year. So we can make this the most tentative of tentative dates. And there’s talk of trying to turn this into a 2 day event. And adding a whole mess of other speakers and workshops! So spread the word, talk up some hype, and keep an eye on our blog!
We plan on starting the planning process on January 1st of next year, so if you’d like to get involved, please email us using the “Contact” link on the right sidebar.
Thanks again to all of the Makers, Volunteers, and Attendees. With about 5,000 in attendance, this year was the most incredible AMMF yet. Let’s continue building the quality and quantity!
And how many total sessions? TWENTY! Oh my goodness you’re gonna make SO MANY THINGS!!!
Here’s our workshop list- if you head to the PARTICIPATE page, you’ll find the rest of the specifics (starting times, durations, etc) as well as links to sign up for these workshops.
Workshop Tent #1
Explore circuitry basics with homemade dough, LEDs, switches, and batteries. Visitors will get to make their own squishy circuits and will get a kit so that they can continue making more electronic experiments at home.