Vancouver Mini MakerFaire

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Super fun weekend at Mini Makerfaire in Vancouver. I traveled over from Vancouver Island with my two oldest daughters Molly and Daisy. Awesome to meetup with Helen, Dethe, Rowan, Erik, Jeff and others from Vancouver’s Mozilla office to run a Webmaker booth. Helen and I also talked ‘Webmaker’ on the Speakers stage Sunday Afternoon.

Some Highlights

Hours and I mean HOURS of fun.

Molly and Daisy spent appox. 9 hours at the Makerfaire and were engaged, excited and happy the entire time thanks to the incredible variety of ‘Making’ booths.  They felted, drew, painted, built, rode-on, climbed-in,  constructed, deconstructed, remixed and generally assembled countless creations while I focused on the Webmaker booth.  If you have kids you know this is a small miracle – kids ‘never once bored‘.

Clear message of the event:  don’t buy stuff, make it – because you can.

Real-Life People

Bonus  – was I got to meet Maryann Kempthorne  who I knew only through Twitter until this weekend.  I feel we could chat away an entire evening – and will have to do that!  Librarians – IMO are leading the surge of action to bring web and digital literacy to youth.  Double Bonus I got to see Brenda again (Mozilla MOOC participant and Camosun instructor – and new BC Webmaker conspirator :)

As a remote Mozilla Rep, it was soooo wonderful to have this opportunity to participate in a Mozlla community event.  It’s a goal to grow the Mozillian community in Canada, and it starts with events like this.

Kids & Parents

I am smitten  – Webmaking with kids is about my favourite thing to do, and I met so so many cool kids.  From one super-smart,  articulate 4 year old girl, to brothers in grade 4 who hacked their school site to say ‘Poop’, to older teens who made some video memes in Popcorn Maker – it was just very cool to be empower the imagination of youth with Webmaker tools.  Parents *got* the message of Webmaker, of moving youth from consuming to making, and they had fun making stuff too.

Favourite Grown-up Make – Prancersize Lady with Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ as background music.

 

Makers

I am grateful for the fun conversations among the community of Makers .  Inspiring people!
Two Favourites:  The snake Robot:

And the Clock Lady

Although there were lots of Makes on display, one of my favourite displays was all about the pieces.  Clocks, bins and bins of gears, and turn-keys, wires, wires and frames made *me* want to sit down and invent something.  It gave my girls a million ideas of how to use the local thrift store (we’re on the look out for broken things to take apart now).

I can’t find her on the list of makers here:  http://vancouver.makerfaire.ca/2013-makers-2/  but will try to find the actual booth name and update this post.

Webmaker Take-aways

  • Hey ‘Do you want to hack your school website’ is an instant grab for kids
  • Chris Hadfield’s Space Oddity  with Loop in Popcorn Maker lures the eye as well.
  • Coming prepared with sets of images (themed – cats, Hogwarts, hockey etc) helps people hack faster. Even video lists would be helpfl ie:  not having to look through 10 fan versions of Hungry like the Wolf before finding the orginal.
  • Photo booth  – a great idea for adding photos of the moment into Makes.
  • Know how to tether your phone incase of wireless suck.
  • Helen and I learned a lot at our talk, I think my take away was that having one person hacking, and the other directing the hack doesn’t always work well. I also think Makerfaires should have Speaker’s space in a quieter area, it was very distracting as a speaker to have so much ‘Making noise’ behind us.  I think we should have brought laptops for others to start making in the audience
  • After Helen and I spoke, we met a Web Developer – Rose  ,who wanted to get involved running events in Vancouver but didn’t know how to get started.  I realized I didn’t have an immediate place to point her other than Webmaker page/ lists and the Mozilla Office.  Personally I think we need a better way to connect local groups.  The Webmaker BC I run was an attempt at that, but still think a centralized way of finding people in your community who want to run events (or already are).
    • Webmaker profiles could have name, geographical, interest  (organizing, volunteering, teaching etc).  Could also be people/foundations etc looking for help.  I have two local foundations asking for Webmaker events, but not enough volunteers to make it happen.
    • Webmaker profiles would be searchable.
    • Webmaker profiles can belong to groups ie: Vancouver Webmakers.
    • I think this would help a lot – Grassroots Webmaker initiatives to connect people locally is something I personally see as a way to  lighten the responsibility of MoFo as contact for  everything, while growing web literate communities at a faster pace.
    • There will of course lend to the Mozilla mission in general – growing the Mozilla community locally (much needed in Canada). We could use more Mozilla Reps as well..
    • There are lots of learn to code ‘things’ going on but Mozilla is about  community and I think that’s what I think sets us apart, and something we should focus on more: building local communities. My opinion anyway.

Next step for Maker-related events in my vision is the Vicoria Makerfaire.  Scott Leslie and I are organizing a Hive Popup learning event at Victoria Makerfaire, more on that as it grows (September 7th)

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