Monthly Archives

julho 2015

O movimento do fazer bem de perto

By | Português | No Comments



Em uma postagem intitulada “Sim, Podemos. Mas Deveríamos? As Consequências Não Intencionais do Movimento Maker”, Allison Arieff levanta questões interessantes sobre o movimento do fazer que precisam ser abordadas. Allison fala eloquentemente sobre o movimento e o risco de causar mais danos ao ambiente do que nunca. Segundo ela, estamos em um período em que quase todos têm as ferramentas para fazer quase tudo, mas há dúvidas sobre estarmos fazendo as coisas certas ou mais e mais das coisas erradas. Ela menciona a impressão 3D e como essa tecnologia permite que uma criança de quatro anos faça um mini Darth Vader do nada. Porém, a impressora 3D consome cerca de 50 a 100 vezes mais energia elétrica do que moldagem por injeção para fazer um item com o mesmo peso. Ela também destaca o uso exagerado do plástico do filamento enquanto muitos lutam para usar menos plástico em mercados e embalagens.

Por mais interessantes que as idéias no artigo pareçam ser, o Movimento do Fazer questiona a forma como consumimos, a abundância de produtos padronizados de baixo custo e a enorme pressão que tudo isso exerce sobre o meio ambiente. A maioria das pessoas está se distanciando das experiências de fabricação. Muitos de nós vivemos com escolhas limitadas de comprar algo novo ou não fazer nada só porque acreditamos que não somos capazes de produzir coisas de valor.

Talvez seja o momento certo de nos tornarmos criadores especializados e produtores, além, claro, de consumidores conscientes. Se cada vez mais pessoas consertassem e criassem coisas de valor agregado ao invés de apenas jogar fora – e se o ambiente escolar estimulasse pessoas a criarem colaborativamente soluções para problemas locais e globais -, talvez teríamos a chance de, em um futuro breve, viver para fazer e fazer para viver!

Maker Movement under the Microscope

By | Maker Movement, Makerspaces | One Comment



On a post entitled “Yes We Can.  But Should We? The unintended consequences of the maker movement”, Allison Arieff raises interesting questions about the maker movement that need to be addressed. Allison eloquently talks about the maker movement and the risk of causing more damage to the environment than good. According to her, we’re in a period where almost anyone has the tools to make almost anything, but there are doubts whether we are making the right things or too many of the wrong ones. She also mentions the   misconception about what 3D printing does and does not enable. It allows us to delight a four-year-old by pulling a mini Darth Vader toy out of thin air, but the 3D printer consumes about 50 to 100 times more electrical energy than injection molding to make an item of the same weight. She also highlights the reverse environmental offset, counteracting recent legislation to reduce plastic use through grocery bag bans.

However interesting her ideas seem to be, the Maker Movement stresses the abundance of low-cost standardized products. Their distribution is a massive strain on our environment,  so what should we do about that? Most people are so distanced from the experiences of fabrication that we are losing the knowledge of materials and making. Many of us in developing and developed countries live with the limited choices of buying new or doing nothing just because we believe we cannot make anything of value. Our environment needs us to have a new relationship with making: critical thinking, backward-looking kind of making in which people really rethink, reuse and feel they are able to make things for themselves.

It’s high time people all over the globe became skilled creators and producers while also being wise and critical consumers. More of us should be able to repair and make things ourselves instead of just throwing things away . If we see ourselves as makers and are given the chance  to develop new ideas and solutions to local problems, we might end up reusing things others would simply get rid of. As the Maker Movement evolves, more and more people engage. One can only hope that we make the right things, and that we all live to make and make to live!





Google Cardboard Apps to Boost Program Design and Learning

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Competência Digital | No Comments

Google Cardboard and its apps offer the easiest way to experience virtual reality today. It’s a useful tool for English language learners and teachers, for they can take advantage of this technology to boost learning experiences. Whether you want to immerse yourself in an animation, go back in time, or stand on stage with a legend, Cardboard has hundreds of options to choose from.

Cardboard consists of a low-cost, DIY virtual reality headset that everyone can make, and a software platform that makes it easy for app developers to add VR support to their creations.


Once you’ve got your cardboard, you’ll want some experiences to try out. Here’s our pick of the ten best VR-enabled apps you can find in Google Play right now to learn English.


Experience your favorite artist’s new music video as if you were right there on set, base jump off a cliff from the comfort of your armchair, and so much more, with 360 video content and your Cardboard viewer.



Expeditions lets teachers take students on field trips to anywhere. If you’re an educator, learn more about bringing Expeditions to your school.



View creations made with Tilt Brush, a painting application made for virtual reality. Load pre-made sketches and watch them draw in as they were originally created.



Experience musical legend Sir Paul McCartney performing “Live and Let Die” in 360 degrees, with stereo 3D and immersive audio in Jaunt’s first publicly released  VR experience.



The official Cardboard app is your first stop for virtual reality on your Android or iPhone. The Cardboard app lets you use any  Google Cardboard viewer with any Cardboard app, and includes a variety of immersive demos like Windy Day, an interactive animated short from Spotlight Stories.





CTJ Youth Innovation Camp – Young Entrepreneur Day

By | 21st Century Skills, Smithsonian | No Comments

There are great ways for kids to spend their time off from school. If the activities enable participants to use their creativity to self-express, tinker, and learn new skills, it’s even better. Last month, the Binational Center Casa Thomas Jefferson, in  coordination with the U.S. Embassy, offered the community the chance to do just that. Youth Innovation Camp, Casa Thomas Jefferson’s very first summer camp, motivated participants to come to the main branch for five days and experience different learning possibilities. The themes varied from inventions, entrepreneurship, coding, 3D printing, making, and STEAM. Participants had a great time working collaboratively to learn how to make something new or learn a new concept.

The Youth Innovation Camp welcomed participants from 9 to 12 years old to immerse in experiential learning and use English as a means of communication and collaboration. With this post, we start sharing all the activities developed during the camp.

The sessions had really positive feedback from parents and students.  The “young incubator” was one of the highlights. For inspiration, the design team at Casa Thomas Jefferson referred to Entrepreneur Incubator – a curriculum that provides all the instructions and guidance necessary for American Spaces to lead programs on the entrepreneurial process. The material, originally designed by the Smithsonian Institution, provides participants with relevant experiences and skills so they are better prepared to start their own businesses. However, the material was written for native English speakers. So, adapting the material was crucial for the success of this activity during the camp.

Having a young audience in mind, CTJ team adapted lesson plans to keep kids tuned.  The Smithsonian material used as reference is based on content pyramids, and each of the five Content Pyramids focuses on a different theme that is integral to the entrepreneurial process.  For the activity designed for the Youth Innovation Camp, we focused on the Development Content Pyramid. Each Concept section teaches business fundamentals while challenging participants to create sketches of their original product ideas.


See detailed lesson plan here.

Mentors thought a strong lead-in was needed; and the door in was having campers explore Google Cardboard, which is a relatively new way to experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and affordable way. Participants were very curious and energized, so we were ready to explore important concepts.


We explored the product (Google Cardboard), its innovative features behind the concept of the product, and the brand GOOGLE itself. We analyzed demographics, aesthetic, innovative feature, core audience, mission statement, logo, etc. Having all students on board, we moved on to a brainstorm session. We had participants call out names of innovative and successful companies (e.g., Twitter, BMW, Red Bull), and for that we made a list of those brands on a large sheet of paper and posted it on a very visible area.

We moved on to a part of the lesson that  kids enjoyed tremendously. We divided the campers into groups of three. Each group received two cards with two of the listed brands on them. Participants had to choose one to represent the brand and another to define the product they were supposed to create. For example: McDonalds x Nike – participants had to think of sneakers to be sold at McDonalds or a snack to be sold by Nike. Each group worked collaboratively to define aspects such as product description, differential, distinguishing feature, and logo.

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We wrapped it all up by teaching participants how to make a video for an advertisement campaign for their product using stop motion, and it was a great pleasure to see them come up with ideas and learn storyboarding in such an enthusiastic way.

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Allowing students at American Spaces to participate in engaging activities and immerse themselves in authentic use of the English Language showed us that Makerspaces in Binational Centers serve the purpose of preparing our students to succeed as they learn new skills and work collaboratively.