Submitted by TechNinja on November 28, 2012 - 1:08pm
You heard us right, our very own "Super-Awesome" Sylvia will be speaking from the heart this coming Saturday December 1st, 2012 at TEDx San Jose California!
Sylvia will be talking without a script; all about the show, the importance of summer vacation, and what she thinks is most important in learning. It won't be perfect, but she'll be doing her best, it's only a webshow after all! She'll also have a few tangible surprises for the audience thanks to our awesome friends over at MAKE Magazine.
She'll also be joined by some amazing people on stage, including her friend Jack Andraka she met at TEDx Redmond back in September. At only 15 years old, he helped create an incredibly effective and cheap test for various types of cancers, which helped him win over $100,000 and the grand prize at the 2012 Intel Science Fair.
Getting up at 5am, and driving over Thursday morning, Sylvia was happy to take the next two days off school to be part of an amazing gathering of teachers, superintendents, professors, entrepreneurs and educators/students of all stripes smashing together to try and make sense of how the web and maker culture is transforming how learners teach, and how teachers learn.
Thursday at 10am had Sylvia up on stage with her now good friend Gever Tulley, creator of brightworks school and all around incredimaker, and other new awesome best friend, Jess Klein, big brain behind Hackasaurus. We were the very first “featured” panel, and this was our very first panel ever! I found it pretty nerve-racking, but Sylvia had plenty of confidence for both of us though, especially after the cheers she got for her demo video.
Once we finished the panel, we grabbed lunch with a few new friends from Mozilla, then headed back to our room to rest for the big event that night: the DML Science Fair! At 4:30pm we headed down to the floor to setup, with a TV, my laptop and three hunks of kitchen light diffuser with buttons and copper pads glued to them messily wired up to an Ethernet enabled Arduino, we were ready!Also setup on the table apart from our Squishy Space race demo (playable here) was a screen playing Sylvia’s Squishy circuits episode, some of our favorite MakerBot printed items, and a soft circuits musical instrument made of ribbon.
Soon, hundreds of eager Press and other science fair patrons began flooding the room, with almost every one at least glancing at the odd sight of three people occasionally jumping up and down and yelling at a TV screen trying to control space ships with lumps of green conductive dough. It thoroughly amazed me how many people enjoyed the game enough to stay for more than 5 minutes (one game last about 1 minute and automatically resets). Though we don’t yet have a budget for handouts or stickers, I think people still got to walk away with something memorable.
On Friday, after peeking in on a few sessions, it was off to the incredible California Academy of Sciences. Our very first time, Sylvia was unstoppably ecstatic. It is truly an incredible place, full of animals, plants, specimens, the worlds largest all digital planetarium, and so much more, we stayed until they closed and still didn’t see everything. Sylvia’s absolute favorite moments: Getting to ask a scuba diver questions while he was in the water (and anything else to do with the aquarium), the planetarium show (completely awe inspiring!), and the incredible butterflies and frog specimens in the rain forest room. We hope to make it back soon with the rest of the family and possibly see the rest of what it has to offer, but chances are by then there will be even more to see! Somehow, we're actually OK with that.
After a long day immersed in science and exploration, we retreated back to the hotel to prep for one final trip: MAKE Headquarters for a cover photoshoot!
Arriving only an hour late for getting lost, we found our way to the Beautfiul shooting location in Occidental California, where after a bit of hair and makeup work (and 4 changes in wardrobe), Sylvia was hung up on a harness and fussed over by photo professionals for at least 2 hours before they finally got just the right shot. Still, lots of of fun, and One day Soon Sylvia may just be on the cover of a Magazine.
Up next for us, we’re heading off to the The Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium in San Francisco for their OpenMake event all about Tools. We might just get to meet my childhood idol Tim Hunkin! Oh the places you can go, when you get out there to make something...
Submitted by Super-Awesome Sylvia on March 1, 2012 - 2:36pm
My dad TechNinja and I are here in San Francisco for DML 2012! If you're at the conference, come by and say hi (and maybe get a photo), we'll be going to some panels and we'll have an awesome demo tonight at the science fair! Dad will have code up later and talk about how it works in a post after the demo, or during if you want to come up and ask us! See you there!
After a chance meeting with the awesome Mozilla staffer Lukas Blakk, Sylvia and I were invited to the Dare 2B Digitial conference to help teach girls about tech, so of course we said yes! On February 11th Sylvia and I got up at 5am with CraftNinja mom and headed out to the eBay campus in San Jose to get ready for troves of young women (7th to 10th grade), eager to learn all about technology. With her trusty Makerbot, and laptop primed and ready with the incredibly awesome HTML5 powered TinkerCad, Sylvia walked them all through the history and basic workings of DIY era 3D printers, followed by helping excited volunteers through creating their first 3D model, then printing it before their eyes. With most being able to design, print, then take home their very own piece. Though it was planned we'd be able to borrow some Mozilla laptops for the girls to each use Tinkercad in groups, this fell through and we improvised with paper and taking turns (which almost worked). With the exception of a sudden Makerbot power supply failure 10 minutes into the 2nd session (and subsequent fevered run to Frys electronics to replace it), everything went smoothly, at least for our first conference.
After 8 hours of teaching, learning and making things, we ended up with a great sense that what we're doing (no matter how imperfect), is really helping kids get connected, not to mention we made a lot of new friends (including our new awesome buddy from Microsquish, Kenny Spade!). Sylvia even took up the first half of the San Jose Mercury New's take on Dare 2 be Digital. One adventure down, a few million more to go.
Next up on the agenda, DML 2012: We'll be in town for all three days thanks to the incredible people at Mozilla for sponsoring us!! Sylvia and I will be up on stage for the featured panel on Democratizing Learning, and then later on for the "Science Fair" where we'll be showing off my "Sylvia inspired" Squishy Circuits powered rocket ship game using HTML5 and CSS3!
Also some exciting news, during DML we'll be taking a quick side Adventure over to Make Magazine headquarters in Sebastapol for a 3D photo-shoot on a zipline. The fun never stops :)