Computational Tinkering Three Ways

There are lots of options for programming arduino with graphical block based code. After the experience of trying three different versions I think there are pros and cons for each editor. Scratchx is the best for tinkering with programming and has lots of creative extensions but it's quite difficult to set up the drivers and plugins to run on different machines. Tinkercad circuits has lots of potential to combine programming, electronics and robotics but in it's current version has some clunky elements. Mblocks feels like good solution at this point that balances friendliness with ease of use although the fact that it's not browser based could be an issue for some workshops. 

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ASTC Entreprenurial Extensions Recap

Last weekend at the ASTC conference in San Jose, I helped to organize a panel discussion on entrepreneurial extensions to museum experiences. It was an interesting and provocative conversation that will hopefully inspire more experiments with pop-up spaces, tinkering trucks, vending machines and kits in science centers and museums

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Found Faces for EB Mini Maker Faire

Next week, we’re setting up a pop-up workshop at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire where kids and adults can work on building useful and useless robots. As part of the tinkering environment, we’ve been creating a new installation of found faces made out of old hardware and electrical elements to demonstrate switches, LEDs and other circuit parts.

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Robot Dance Party at ScratchBDX2017

Earlier in the summer, I had the chance to test out a new Dancing Robot workshop at the Scratch conference in Bordeaux. Since our experiments with scratchpaper at MIT last summer, we've been interested in trying out new ways of connecting programming and computation into tinkering activities. 

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#flatgamejam Oakland

Last weekend, we hosted an all-day workshop with amazing guest artist Becca Rose who's visiting the Bay Area from Bristol, UK for a two week residency in the Tinkering Studio. I visited her studio in Bristol in June, and got really interested in something called a #flatgamejam where participants create hand drawn flat games (digital zine-like spaces based on real life experiences) using the unity programming language. 

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Makerspace at Ecsite 2017

I joined friends and colleagues from science centers and museums around the world to create a pop-up makerspace at the ECSITE (The European Network of Science Centres and Museums) conference in Porto. This was our fifth year of building an environment at ECSITE to engage conference participants in the tinkering process. This hands-on experience leads to great conversations and discussions about the possibilities for expanding making and tinkering to new settings. This year there were challenges and surprises along the way, but it was amazing to collaboratively transform a blank corner of a room into an active, playful, busy makerspace in just three days.

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Ryan Jenkins
Crafting With Code Experiments

During our month long tinkering residency at Chabot Space and Science Center, we tried several initial experiments with combining coding and craft. We prototyped different ways of making art with physical and digital tools and started to explore some of the aspects of “computational tinkering”. 

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