Category Archives: Road Trip

Workshop in Frankenmuth: Digital Art

At Pam’s suggestion, we spent our afternoon in Frankenmuth working on three digital genres: photo editing, video editing, and graphic design. You can view the slides and resources here and find event photos here.

This was a one-time event being offered only in Frankenmuth this summer, but we have lots of other great events going on around Michigan — check out the events list here!

Here are a few photos from the afternoon:

photo of screen of picmonkey.com

Dog photos!

Group of collaborators

Hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!

Workshop in Frankenmuth: Selling Handmade Goods Online

We premiered a new workshop in Frankenmuth today — a workshop on how to support patrons in turning their interests into online craft businesses. This was a lot of fun to put together and to run today!

{Decorative} Skeins of embroidery floss

We gave everyone embroidery floss and some Make charms so we could keep our hands busy while we talked. Here’s a work in progress …

Hands making a floss and charm object

We went exploring on Etsy to do some market research; then Alyssa showed us how to help patrons take better photos of their creations.

Instructor pointing at display screen

Armed with new strategies, we went throughout the library and garden to photograph our new creations:

Smartphone with photo on it
We swooned over Spoonflower and other online stores and swapped ideas we had for how to use it in libraries:

Photo of the book The Spoonflower Handbook

And explored several Etsy- and craft business-related titles.

Books about Etsy on a table

etsy book

If you missed this event, check out our remaining events throughout the state this summer. We’ll be repeating this workshop!

You can also view our slides and resources here.

And check out Pixabay.com, Wikimedia Commons, or SnappyGoat.com, which Ben recommended for stock images for creating your store brand!

Photosphere tour of Niles District Library

Panoramic photo of children's area of Niles District Library

We just acquired a 360-degree video camera after learning about it to prep for our Google Cardboard workshop earlier this month.

Check out Ben’s efforts — saved to Flickr as auto-play panoramic videos but inserted here as still images — and check out the wonderful atmosphere of the Niles District Library! Put this library system on your must-visit list for its beautiful layout, inviting furnishings, and engaged staff.

Workshop in Niles: Gathering Financial Support

Do you freeze up when it’s time to write a grant, scrambling to find the information and get it done on time? Do you know where you can get great demographic data to help build a case for why your community is in need of funds? Do you know what a program officer is and how he or she can be invaluable in your project planning?

Those were the kinds of questions we sought to answer in our last workshop at the Niles District Library on Friday, June 16, 2017.

We started by making a wish list so we’d have it at the ready when we found out about new grant opportunities.

Photo of a wish list worksheet

We used BusinessDecision (free to Michiganders via the Michigan eLibrary!) to dig into demographic information and look for how we could weave data into compelling stories.

And among other things, we took some time to just think about how to organize our thoughts with some sample grant questions culled from a variety of common funding sources.

writing

If you missed this workshop, check out our schedule of upcoming events and come and join us!

You can also download our planning packet here.

Kristin

Workshop in Niles: Design Challenges

On Friday, June 16, Ben and Alyssa led us in a half day of design challenges: short, one-session design sprints using various physical materials.

First off, Guinness World Record-style challenges. Who can build the longest or tallest or fastest or …? For an example of this, we used the classic marshmallow challenge with the largest marshmallows we had ever seen!

Photo of construction using marshmallows and toothpicks

We continued our use of everyday materials by converting brown parcel paper into life-size marionettes, turning our attention to STEAM-related design challenges with bunraku-style puppets:

Two paper bunraku puppets sitting side by side

After challenges with paper and food, we turned to non-natural materials with a challenge involving Strawbees that demonstrated the challenge cards available from Strawbees:

Assembling an object using Strawbees connectors

And finally, we used our own in-house design cards to challenge people to solve problems with cardboard and plastic MakeDo screws:

A chef's hat made from cardboard and MakeDo screws

We’ll be repeating versions of this workshop throughout the summer. If this looks like fun, we hope you’ll register for one of our free statewide workshops.

You can also find our folder of support materials here.

As always, these workshops are made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services RE-05-15-0021-15. We are grateful for their support and for their funding, via the Library of Michigan, of LSTA funds that bring us resources like the databases and electronic resources of MeL.org.

Kristin

 

 

Workshop in Niles: Day of Design Thinking

Thursday, June 15, was our only daylong design thinking workshop of the summer! We met at Niles District Library to use the design thinking method to redesign dashboards, do customer research to make a better bag, and practice design thinking to solve problems.

You can view the slides and resources here.

Here are some photos from the day …

A dinosaur footprint disguiser (prototype)

Our opening activity: the design thinking game. The prompt: make something for a dinosaur to wear on its feet. A solution: create these strap-on accessories that allow dinosaurs to disguise their footprints (aren’t they always just plodding through all that mud that gets fossilized? Talk about evidence!). Think they’re not smart enough to remember to strap them on? That’s why there’s a supplemental brain that can be implanted (bottom left).

 

dashboard research

Doesn’t every workshop send you out to the parking lot to gather data about your dashboard so you can design a better one? Here’s someone’s notes …

 

custom settings for your dashboard via usb

Here’s a design thinking solution: a LEGO prototype of a USB drive that you can insert into the car so it can recognize you and auto-adjust the wheel, seat, and other items.

 

wheeled bag

Use junk box materials to design the perfect bag (with a few LEGO wheels thrown in for good measure). Check out the telescoping handle!

 

crossbody bag

This prototype includes a padded pocket, a water bottle holder, and a flap that can lower to reveal specialized pockets.

travel jacket
Not everyone needs a perfect bag … some people need a travel jacket instead, with pockets in all the right places.

homeless
Design the perfect bag? How about this one that stores a jacket and a zip-on sleeping bag.

Tomorrow is out last Niles workshop of the day … design challenges in the morning and grantwriting* in the afternoon!

*Note: Our funding precludes us from assisting on any official grant application, but we can give general advice!

Workshop in Niles: Making Maker Learners: Introduction to the Maker Movement

On Wednesday, June 14, we were excited to have a full-day workshop on the Big Ideas of the maker movement and maker culture for librarians and educators at the Niles District Library.

You can view the slides and our resource folder here.

Here are a few photos from the day …

Photo of Vision Statement

Making a paper flashlight after working on a maker vision statement.

 

flashlight hacking

Hacking the flashlight!

 

Perusing books donated by Libraries Unlimited

Perusing books about the maker movement at the end of the day.

 

Playing with the Robot Mouse kit by The Learning Company

Robot Mouse for young children got taken for a spin.

Hope to see you at one of our upcoming workshops!

Header that reads "Getting Started with Design Thinking"

Saginaw Design Thinking Workshop

Flyer for Design Thinking Workshop in Saginaw on March 11

Kamya, Ben, and I were happy to be at the main Hoyt Library at Public Libraries of Saginaw this morning to talk about design thinking as a frame for creative thinking and hands-on making.

Here is our slide deck.

Here is the downloadable design thinking game (with word-based prompts).

Here is the downloadable design thinking game (with image-based prompts).

Need anything else? Email us at contactmichiganmakers [at] umich [dot] edu.

Thanks!

Kristin

Header that reads "Getting Started with Design Thinking"

Getting Started with Design Thinking (Benzonia)

Flyer for Getting Started with Design Thinking. You can view the details in a machine-readable version at https://www.eventbrite.com/edit?eid=30226120139

Hello! Kamya and I are tickled to be back in Benzonia today, hosting a half-day workshop on design thinking for librarians and educators working with teens.

You can find the slides here.

If you’d like to try your hand at our prototyped design thinking game, click here for a word-based version and here for a pictorial version.

If you’d like to join us on Saturday, March 11, for another variation of this workshop in Saginaw, click here to register for free.

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Quenton’s Take: Things I Learned on the Road

Thanks to funding from IMLS, I had the opportunity to travel all over Michigan over the course of the last summer. I was able to take advantage of great opportunities to meet new people doing interesting work in unexpected locales. The things that I learned the most about had to do with professional practice, particularly in libraries and similar community spaces, as well as the way people connect with creating things:

  • People from all backgrounds and walks of life can get something out of making even simple objects with their own hands, without a plan.
  • Types of traditional fabrication, such as soldering-torch jewelry making, decorative woodworking, or furniture reupholstering, are still maintained in certain spaces and appear to present an avenue for interesting economic development.
  • Developing partnerships between local organizations that may not have worked together in the past is one of the most powerful ways to sustain new programs such as out-of-school STEM programs (National Research Council 2015).
  • Continuing on the theme of out-of-school programs, the variety of peripheral STEM learning opportunities was very inspiring to me, from LEGO/FIRST robotics clubs to partnerships with local community colleges.
  • The relationship between local, regional, state, and federal STEM initiatives isn’t always straightforward, but investing time in understanding this network can give life to programs that would otherwise be prohibitively challenging to implement.
  • The natural beauty of northern Michigan is not overstated.

Going forward, I’m curious to explore how people turn a hobby or casual interest into a way to give themselves a little extra support, and how young people can rediscover something elemental about what it is make something with their own hands, from scratch. Look forward to some more reflection on our summer of co-learning next month!

National Research Council. Identifying and Supporting Productive STEM Programs in Out-of-School Settings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2015. doi:10.17226/21740.