Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

MakerSpace: Challenge Cards, getting teens to try new activities in the Teen MakerSpace

challengecards We are having tremendous success with our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) and are very excited to see the teens in our community using the space and learning new things. We have learned that certain items are more popular than others, with the button makers and 3D pens being hands down everyone’s favorites.

We have also seen that some of the elements are a little less self-directed then we imagined them to be. Sometimes, our teens want prompts to help get them started. And after a little bit of searching I learned about “Challenge Cards”. Challenge cards are a great way to help get teens engaging with some of our Teen MakerSpace elements. They basically work like a writing prompt, giving just that little push needed to get the creative juices flowing.

We currently have Challenge Cards for our stop motion animation station, the LittleBits, and Legos. Some of the Challenge Cards we found online, others we created ourselves. Our Lego Challenge Cards are a combination of those we found online and those we created with the help of teens sitting in the Teen MakerSpace.

In the future, we hope to develop (or find) some coding challenge cards. And because our iPad bank is perfect for learning photo manipulation and meme creation, I think we will also be developing some Photo Challenge Cards.

We laminated our cards and created signage, making them available right next to the station so teens can grab a card and go. We have found that it has prompted some of our teens to try new activities in the space and recommend them.

Here are links to some of the various Challenge Card examples we have found to date or created for ourselves. If you know of others you would like to share, please add them in the comments.

MakerSpace: Stop Motion Animation 101

Later today I am presenting a webinar on Stop Motion Animation for Florida Library Webinars. Here are my slides. I have been doing stop motion animation with my teens for about 3 or 4 years now (and at two different library jobs). It has proven so popular that we included a stop motion animation station in the Teen MakerSpace that we created at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (Ohio). I use a couple of movies created by our teens there as examples in this presentation. I am in awe of how creatively they think.

Some additional notes:

1. If you use an iPad or a smart phone, you’ll want a stabilizing agent as well. You can buy a tripod. For an iPad, you can use a wire book holder that you use for display.

2. We upload our videos/movies to a YouTube account. This makes it easy for us to share them and for the teens to find them so they can share them with their friends/family.

3. You can download the Stop Motion Animation challenge cards here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/313555018/Stop-Motion-Challenge-Cards

4. There are 16 Storyboard Templates to Download for Free here: http://www.sampletemplates.com/business-templates/free-storyboard-templates.html

5. The Scribd slideshow can show up kind of wonky depending on your screen dimensions. You can view and download it here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/313555719/Stop-Motion-Animation-101-Webinar

Mistakes Were Made: What I Learned About Installing an iPad Lab in a MakerSpace

This is the tale of a clever teen, a librarian, and the great iPad lock out of 2016. You see, I went to check on the status of our new iPads in the Teen MakerSpace when I realized that one of my teens had been more clever than I could have imagined. I couldn’t even open up the iPad because they had changed the lockscreen passcode. I, and everyone else, were effectively locked out of this iPad. I was both impressed and annoyed with this teen’s cleverness.

Luckily, I had previously forgotten the passcode so I knew that there was a fix for this, though I wouldn’t say it is a quick and easy fix. I had to connect the iPad to a laptop and restore it to its original settings and then set everything up again; this is where I learned that I had incorrectly set up the iPads and they weren’t all attached to the same iCloud account. So I ended up having to restore not one, not two, not three, but four iPads to their in-box settings and set them all up again.

makerspacepic7

So I thought I would share with you some of what I have learned about setting up public iPads in my Teen MakerSpace. And if you have any wisdom or experience to share, please do so in the comments. This is new territory for me and mistakes have been made.

1. Set up a “dummy” account in Gmail (or some other email server) to connect all your iPads to

Do this first so you aren’t scrambling to get all these accounts in order as you are setting up. You’ll want to make sure all your iPads are connected to one account. I recommend keeping a document with all account addresses, passwords and passcodes in one place. We keep ours in the MakerSpace Manual.

makerspacemanual2. Set up an Apple ID

In order to buy apps or to use the Cloud, you’ll need an Apple ID. You’ll want to set this up first and make sure that all of your iPads are connected to it as well. This way, if you buy an app, you have purchased it for all your connected devices. You can have up to 10 devices connected to one Apple ID I believe.

3. Setting up restrictions

Under settings you can go in and put restrictions on your iPads. Be sure to write down your Restrictions Passcode and to use a separate passcode from the screen lock passcode. You can go through and restrict music, tv, video, Internet and more to the age appropriate settings of your choice. You can also limit things like Siri. If you work with teens you know they are going to spend a great deal of time asking Siri dirty questions, so you might just want to turn it off.

4. Turn off the screen lock

You can set up your iPad so it doesn’t go to a locked screen and ask for a passcode ever if you would like. You just have to make sure that someone goes through the area periodically and turns off the screens when not in use. If you do use a screen lock passcode, post the code on a sign in the your space so people can know what it is and don’t have to keep asking staff.

5. Downloading apps is easy when your iPads are connected

As I mentioned above, I believe the staff member at the Apple store told us that you could have up to 10 devices connected to one account. We talked briefly before about connecting devices with your email and Apple ID, but you’ll want to make sure you do this so that you have access to all the apps on your devices but only have to purchase them once. And should you have to restore an iPad, you can easily download the apps again. In fact, if you connect your iPads occasionally and sync them, when you restore them they will restore to the most recent sync and not all the way back to factory settings.

Here are a few other things we are learning:

  • Even with screen protectors, you have to wipe the screens clean several times a day to help keep the finger prints down.
  • We charge our devices over night so that we don’t have to leave the charging cords plugged in as a temptation. In the future we will look for a better charging station or a way to mount and secure the charging cords, but we are not currently set up that way and it would be very easy for someone to walk off with a charger.
  • We did buy lock boxes with cords which keep the devices safe throughout the day.
  • Teens like to take a lot of pictures and make videos. I did not investigate whether or not you can turn the camera off because part of how we use our devices are to teach photo manipulation and green screening, which means we use the camera. But we do go through a couple of times a day – and every open and close – to make sure and delete photos and videos. So far the highest number I have had is 129 photos of the same teen.

Here are a couple of other great discussions and set up tips I found regarding iPads in the library:

iPads in the Library: https://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/ifought-the-ipads-and-iwon.html

iPad Dos and Don’ts: http://learninginhand.com/blog/classroom-ipod-touches-ipads-dos-and-donts.html

Integrating iPads into Library Service: http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2012/03/continuing-the-conversation-integrating-ipads-and-tablet-computers-into-library-service

And here’s what to do if a teen locks you out of your iPad, because it apparently can happen: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204306

MakerSpace: Unconventional Printing

makerspaceLook, we all know that I am obsessed with photo apps and pictures of my kids. But it’s not just for me, it’s for the teens – I swear. One of my favorite teen programs I have ever done – and I have repeated it several times – is a program called Renovate Your Room. The concept is simple: teens love to decorate their rooms and I love to decorate my house, so we make stuff to decorate. It’s a fun way to get teens creating and while they do this they are engaging in self expression, creativity and more.

As I move more into a MakerSpace model with an emphasis on STEAM programming, I have added more tech to the process, but the end product is still the same: creating original artwork by teens to decorate their space. I would love to be able to create images and cut them into glass or vinyl or even wood, but that kind of equipment isn’t in my future. But I have found a variety of ways to print my images onto things other then paper to take my creations up to the next level.

The first step of the process is to get teens hands on tech to create images. You can do this using a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone. You can use a variety of apps and programs, which I frequently review because I am in fact obsessed. To be completely honest, depending on what I am trying to create, I will often use a variety of apps. Very seldom do I produce something in just one app or program because most of the times they do different things. That’s part of the learning process, figuring out what creates what effect and deciding the best tools to use to create the final product you envision. Sometimes trial and error is involved and that’s okay.

Then, after you create your image, you have to find a way to make art out of it. The most basic thing to do of course is to print it off and frame it. But I have been exploring ways that you can take your creation to the next level with some unconventional printing.

Printing Onto Burlap

unconventionalprinting3Just by chance I stumbled across these burlap sheets that you can feed through your printer. They have a more standard burlap brown color and I bought a white burlap sheet. They came in a set of 3 sheets for under $3.00, which was a pretty reasonable price. I will say that for me, they came out crooked every. single. time. But that’s where you are forced to get innovative. I trimmed the edges to straighten my printed piece out and then fixed it with matting, Washi Tape and more.

It worked pretty well. The only thing I will say is that it works better with shapes and words as opposed to pictures with more finite detail, like faces. I think it would look amazing with silhouettes.

 

Transfer Paper, part 1

unconventionalprinting4The other day I was helping some teens on the teen areas as they set up and tried to print images on transfer paper. This was my introduction to the process and I am totally hooked. So I bought a pack of transfer paper and it comes in a pack of about 10 sheets for $10.00, basically a dollar a sheet.

I then made everyone a t-shirt. And I do mean everyone. For Thing 2’s shirt here to the left, I made my image using the Fused App. She is obsessed with The Flash and is always showing us how she runs fast like him so I incorporated that into my design. After creating my image I downloaded it and added the text using PowerPoint. I used PowerPoint because that is the program that I have on my laptop, any graphics program will do.

To make your image transfer successfully you MUST FLIP IT INTO A MIRROR IMAGE. This is incredibly important if your final creation has words or numbers. If you do not flip your image, it will come out backwards on your final project. No bueno.

Transfer Paper, part 2

unconventionalprinting2A great number of my previous Renovate Your Room projects involved Mod Podging pictures onto canvas. It works, I’m not dissing the process. BUT YOU CAN GET A BETTER FINAL RESULT if you use photo transfer paper.

In order to successfully use the transfer paper to get your image onto a canvas, you should remove the staples from the canvas and put the canvas on a flat surface so that you can get good leverage to iron your photo transfer on. Getting good leverage it very important to the transfer process. After your photo transfer is complete, you can use staple gun to staple the canvas back onto the frame.

Again, if you have words or text you’ll want to flip and do the mirror image thing. I made the canvas above using a combination of 2 apps: Aviary and Hipstamtic. I used the Eiffel Tower sticker in Aviary to create the base image and the Shangai filter in Hipstamatic to make the cloudy pastel effect. I adore this filter.

I did go ahead and Mod Podge over my final image to kind of seal everything in. I also went ahead and painted the edges to kind of blend everything together. In future planning I would size my final image so that the edges folded over the frame edges to give it that gallery frame effect.

Print Your Insta

unconventionalprinting1After finally setting up a wireless printer in my house – to practice MakerSpace stuff – I learned a very hard lesson: If you print your Instagram photos directly from your smart phone photo album they are automatically resized to 4×6 in size. This is not the effect I am going for. But do not fear, if you want the small square sized pictures – there is an app for that! Print Your Insta is a theoretically free app (more on this in a moment) that you can use to print your Instagram pics at home in a 3.5 by 3.5 size. I said theoretically free because you do have to pay for the $1.99 upgrade if you want to remove the watermark off of your photo. I do so I paid the small fee.

I have printed a large number of my Instagram pictures now and they are all over my house and I am in love. I bought a larger frame – I believe it was 16×20 – at a thrift store and made a collage of my prints which now lines my hallway. We have also created our own magnetic frames using duct tape, magnets and clear contact paper to create pics for the fridge. That process is outlined here.

Clear Vinyl Sticker Paper

This is a thing I have not yet tried, but it is right up my alley! You can buy clear vinyl sticker paper and use it to make stickers to label jars, boxes, etc. You could also make personalized candles, cups and more. There is a tutorial here, here and here.

Have fun finding creative ways to take your MakerSpace dabbling up a notch by engaging in some unconventional printing. You don’t necessarily have to buy fancy laser engravers to achieve some MakerSpace type of creations, you just need to engage in some unconventional printing and teach teens how to take that and apply it creatively to the every day objects of their lives. My library doesn’t have the space or budget for laser printers and wood engravers at this point, but we can definitely by some different types of printing mediums and help teens learn to create their digital images and then use some more traditional crafting processes to make their own creations.

And my house is looking great as I experiment and explore at home to take this information back to my teens!