Minutes:GGHC2011 2011-03-26

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The purpose of this brainstorming session is to come up with as many ideas as possible.  There are no bad or infeasible ideas, none too extreme.  In a subsequent meeting we will "filter" down to the ideas we want to pursue.

Meeting began at 7:15 PM.

Members in attendance:

  • Mario
  • Ed
  • Ryan
  • Nate B
  • Ross

Question from Ed: Is our project going to help tell a lesson (like a student response system), or will it be a lesson in and of itself (like a kit)?  Can it ultimately be both?


  • Mistake counter!  As kids work on a project they count how many mistakes they made.  Perhaps kids get half a point for a mistake and a point for a right answer.  Encourage them to try things that they don't think will work.
  • Color-coded recorder.  Different brightly colored buttons on a hand-held device that lets you record voice notes.
  • "Shake to Answer" clicker.  Like other student response systems, except it powers itself by being shaken.  Kids have to shake it a certain amount to get it to work.  Cures the fidgets and induces dopamine to focus the brain.
  • "Scientific Method" monitor. ?  Not sure how to make this physical!  Includes digital notes journal to support texting with *proper* grammar to encourage digital and verbal literacy.
  • Have kids come up with a working project and have them teach it to other students.  Or, make a device whose design evolves to a "perfected" state using group technology (you search for a part and its design before you try building a part from scratch).
  • Student response system or mistake counter with a noise maker.  Kids love noise - encourages them to try and get engaged.
  • Student response system with buttons at far or dispersed locations.  Gets kids to move around more physically to respond to answers.
  • "Rocky's Boots" - modular, child-proof logic gate system.  Sends beams of light piping around individual modules that do logic operations, returning to a terminal of some kind.
  • A student response system where students have to use their whole body, run from place to place, etc, to submit answers.
  • Collaborative response system.  Makes students sit around one response system, they all enter their answer, and the system indicates if one of them got it right.  They then have to talk to each other to figure out which answer is the right one and submit it.  Perhaps the machine occasionally gives you misleading or incorrect responses, and forces the students to think for themselves about which answer must be the right one.  They can then press a button to "call its bluff."
  • Logic gates plus sensors to solve challenges.  "Build something to identify an orange / a loud sound" etc.  Open-ended, objective-driven.
  • Pedal-powered projector.  Pedal-powered anything!  These are children we're dealing with, let's harness that energy somehow.
  • Dial-a-mentor.  Have someone available to answer a kid's questions when they dive deeper in a subject than a teacher can speak to.
  • "Scientific method" recorder and publish system.  Get kids to record the things they see and do and push the content out for others to consume through a digital journal.  Teach kids to observe, relay conclusions, and communicate.
  • Simple lego logic system that builds a graphic that appears on a screen - one that correlates with the blocks the kids put together.  Just get them to the point that they see they can do something that makes an image appear on a screen - make the idea of programming accessible to them, even if the work itself is very simple and not totally programming.  (Also include noise or sound generation.)  Or have words chained together based on the blocks - perhaps for younger kids.
  • Super stripped-down clicker - uses color/shape combos with a numeric read-out by each color.  Language-independent.  No fine resolution of data, just a rugged, cheap, easy-to-distribute clicker system.
  • Mechanical clicker system - each clicker has a different sound frequency.  Single audio base station would pick up different signals.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.