One week to go.
Here’s where we stand with physical preparation of the space, what’s new and why.
The primary design from last year is unchanged in that we are still using five work tables (sanded to remove scratches, painted white, and coated with clear Dry Erase paint); our 3D printing station remains in the back of the space (note the recently-added Lulzbot TAZ6; our trusty Makerbot Replicator 2 is on my desk now); we still have no stools, though that is only due to ordering difficulties, because based on feedback I’ve gotten, I’d like to let the kids sit if they want to this year.
Which leads me to what’s new … and for that, we must return to the most important question: what experience are we trying to create for our students?
Goodbye, TV Studio; Hello, Soft-Seating Area!
This year, we’re going for more of a “Google” vibe thanks to the addition of a soft seating area I’ve been designing since last spring:
This change was made possible by the relocation of the TV studio downstairs (which is terrific because now it can be used by both elementary and middle school students). I grabbed a leather couch last night for $75, picking it up today. We’re planning to build a small coffee table out of Maker Pipe. My daughter’s bean bag chair from college has been pressed into service. The SMART TV still needs to move to the center of the wall shown above but that’ll get done. A few other details remain. I’d love to get an end table, a lamp, and a half-circle braided wool rug but there may not be enough room. The donated XBOX and our Drone Simulator will work wonderfully here.
We envision kids using the area as a small group presentation / brainstorming / planning / reading / discussion space (of course, the walls are coated with Dry Erase paint). The coffee table will be two levels and loaded with magazines, books and other reading materials (donations welcome!) It’ll also be a place kids can just kick back and relax when needed.
Epilog Mini 18 40w 18×12 Laser Engraver
Even bigger than the new soft seating area though is the addition of an Epilog laser engraver:
This device is crucial to our efforts around entrepreneurship and innovation, for reasons that I will explain in a later post for this series. Suffice to say we plan to inspire a cadre of student designer / inventors / entrepreneurs, and, while we’re at it, turn Digital Shop into a profit center for the entire district. Yeah, so there’s that.
Moar. Chromebooks. Please!
We thought it would be good to have a 50/50 mix of PCs and Chromebooks last year. We were wrong. We were constantly scrambling for enough laptops for each learner and so this year we are scrounging up 12 more HP Chromebook 14’s (used, from other parts of the school) to bring our cart’s total to 24.
But we still need PCs, too.
Some of the tools we use in Digital Shop require a PC, so, we’ll be holding on to the ancient, huge, bulky, slow Dell 17″ laptops we had last year, but I hope to personally redo the Windows 7 install from scratch, which I will optimize for speed. These PCs are important for use of the laser cutter, since our “serious” design software, the free and fabulous Inkscape, won’t run on Chromebooks. (https://gravit.io/ and Google Drawings are fine for Chromebooks but aren’t as robust.)
It’s a green screen. It’s an accent wall. No, wait – it’s BOTH!
The green screen from last year’s TV studio is staying because there are a ton of quick, easy, fun things we can do with it, and it makes a great accent wall (now that the entire wall has been painted.)
I think that about wraps it up. I’ll get more and better pictures as the space comes together. Now, it’s off to work…
More to come…