The think|haus entry into the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge sponsored by Element14 is finished. Mostly.
think|tubes are an educational tool for use in a K-12 school setting. They function as a multimeter for the real world. Learning concepts such as mechanical advantage is much easier if students can see and measure the effects of gears, levers, pulleys, etc. Other concepts are difficult because processes occur over time, and are not easily observable. Data logging allows long term observation, making time elapsed changes visible and measurable.
Our concept for think|tubes was to make an expandable, modular system which allows the measurement and recording of various physical phenomena. We’ve built some sample exercises, such as a device to measure how hard someone can punch. This fun activity engages students, while teaching concepts of levers, acceleration, and force. Other sensors, such as light, temperature, barometric pressure, etc. are easily added to the think|tubes, allowing for customized usage. Any lesson plan that would benefit from experimentation and measurement can use think|tubes.
Beyond measurement in the classroom, however, think|tubes can be used throughout the school. An applause meter at a school talent show, a game show buzzer system for fun quizzes, or a timing system for track and field – all of these uses are easy to add to think|tubes due to its modular design, standard Arduino hardware, and the bus which allows communications between modules.
One of the great strengths of the think|tubes system is its flexibility. It can be used by anyone – no technical knowledge is required. The various measurement tasks are menu driven, and can be operated by staff or students at all levels without any specialized training. However, for those more technically inclined, the system has limitless possibilities. Additional sensors can be added, new code can be written to accommodate almost anything educators and their students can dream up.
think|tubes make learning tangible. They provide a hands on way to interact with the physical world. Think it, do it, measure it, learn it. With think|tubes.
It’s not a panic… yet.
We’ve got about 5 hours to go at this point… forgot to upload the video once it was done!
Off the rails…
Sorry folks, things got a little bit out of hand there.
We’re back, we’ve got work underway and it’s going to be alright.
Watch the video and you’ll better understand.
An update on our progress on the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge 2011 – Week Two!
Time is flying fast…
Here’s the pencast that we put together with the help of Zoe Branigan-Pipe (@zbpipe) describing what we’re planning on doing for our submission to the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge.
Last night, Jamie discovered that acrylic lights on fire rather like grease does – quickly and with no warning. Fortunately, quick thinking and a fire extinguisher means that we only need to replace some plastic bearings, the viewport acrylic, and maybe some optics. And clean a lot.
|From Laser fire…|
Note the poster at the top left…
More photos available on teh picasa.
No one was hurt, and we learned a lot. Like, that knowing how to operate the fire extinguisher is important BEFORE there’s a fire in front of you.
It’s kind of unbelievable.
Two. Years. Later.
Here’s the post that started it all — posted to http://hamiltonhackerspace.com on March 19th, 2009…
Alright, due to all kinds of ridiculous factors… things went a little sideways on us.
In the best spirit of the Cult of Done =-> and fellow hackers Bre and Kio =-> we’re going to give this another kick in the pants…
This time, it’s for real.
Hamilton Hacker Space Meeting
Date: Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 @ 7pm.
Location: TBD (depending on response)
Please RSVP and let us know if you’re coming – or even vaguely interested in coming.
It’s going to be teh HAWESOME.
And here’s the way I first described what I’d hoped for a Hamilton Hacker Space…
On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 9:52 PM, someone wrote:
Hi there, my friend and I are interested in coming tomorrow, but we don’t really know what to expect. What will be going on? What’s this all about? Will there be a lot of people? etc.
What to expect? Heck, at this point, I can’t even answer that!
What’s going on? The long and short of it is simply this… a long time ago, I was challenged by some people who are now the leaders / supporters / mouthpieces of various hackerspaces to put one together in Hamilton.
It’s time we either did it or shrugged and gave up.
I’m hoping that a bunch of people who are probably at lot like us — hackers (not the evil kind, but the kind that like to take things apart and put them back together), crafters, makers, diy’ers, people who get excited inventing stuff and building things and teaching others and… well, you get the idea – people who think that Make Magazine and Craft Magazine and BoingBoing and Instructables are awesome, people who build robots and write code and felt their own mittens, and… all of it… get together and talk about how we didn’t know that any of us were even here and wouldn’t it be great if we could lean on each other, work together sometimes, share tools and resources and knowledge and capacity.
Ultimately, I want to have the group open a ‘hackerspace’ — in the tradition of “the design patterns for hackerspaces” discussed at CCC, HOPE and other conferences — a place like HacDC, NYC Resistor, Noisebridge, CCCKC, PumpingStationOne and Canadian places like Protospace and Hacklab.TO and VHS and Foulab — a place where we can do all the projects that won’t fit into our houses/apartments/bedrooms.
Will there be a lot of people? I have no idea! At this point, I’m pretty sure that it’s more than 10 and less than 30 — but the Kitchener-Waterloo people were expecting around 10 and got 30, and I know that Hamilton’s about 2.5x the size in terms of sheer population….
So – please come, it may be crashingly boring or it may be awesome – either way
We moved into think|haus version 1.0 on July 1st 2009 and into our current space (think|haus version 2.0) on November 20th, 2010.
Wouldn’t you love to be part of something as cool as this?
Happy Two Year Anniversary think|haus — 21 members — and tonight, a weekday evening at 9pm, there are 7 members and 3 guests… working on projects, laughing, socializing and making very cool things
In this blog post by Zoe Branigan-Pipe (@zbpipe) you’ll see what happens when a real school teacher is read into the think|haus GGHC2011 plan.
I toured the Hackerspace from the perspective of a teacher, as I often do. In education, we talk about problem solving. We talk about having our students “think critically”. We advocate and implement problem based learning and inquiry driven lessons. This hackerspace encompasses all of these things – in real life. As I toured the space and talked with James and the other project members I was fascinated with the set up of the room. Every area of the space was created to promote design, creation collaboration, discussion, brainstorming and problem solving. How about that.There was a massive island in the middle of the table was covered in tools, designs, and notes. On the other end of the room was another large table looking onto the interactive whiteboard (they made themselves) used as another space for group projects, conversations, and a place to create. Eventually, I was guided to the “think” area of the room containing a few comfortable couches and again, onlooking another giant idea wall. As the folks from the Thinkhaus described their project, my eyes kept wondering. QR codes were pasted on the cupboards with each code eventually leading to a description of the cupboards contents, or instructions for a tool. Recycled materials, electronics, computers, cords and tools in organized in every nook and cranny of the room.
There’s a whole lot of hints about what we’re planning on building… look for the detailed announcement of “THE PLAN” shortly.
Here’s our first video posting for the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge 2011.
Look for updates over the course of this week – we’re moving fast on circuit design, software development, and most importantly – DOCUMENTATION.
I’m very pleased to announce that think|haus is a participant in the element14 sponsored Great Global Hackerspace Challenge!
This is an international Hackerspace Challenge that is being developed in partnership with the electronics components company element14. The goal is for members of the teams to put their collective heads together and make a difference for a cause. The cause for this event is education. Why Education? Education cuts are barely out of the news, and the outlook remains grim across the world. Our schools continue to fail us in educating people for our collective futures. We need to foster practical and creative thinking and help provide equipment to inspire a lifetime of learning. Already, hackerspaces are helping fill the void – providing workshops, after school classes and vocational training, often for free, or very inexpensively. Now there is an opportunity to take that one step further, and to take something created in a hackerspace back to the classroom.
You’ll be able to find our updates posted both here and also at our element14 site
There’s an aggressive 6 week schedule for this one, so hold on – it’s going to be awesome!