Teaching my Kids

I have only two kids at this point and for the foreseeable future. Both are fairly young, but one is getting old enough that I’m starting to think about teaching her some of the basic programming and STEM related subjects fairly early. She already is quite taken by Minecraft, and can navigate the computer pretty well even if she doesn’t yet know all the keys on the keyboard. She knows how to move and do things, etc. She can also use a tablet or touch screen device with ease.

A while back, I bought her a Codeapiller, which is a toy used to teach children as young as pre-school, the fundamentals of programming. I plan on working with my daughter on the weekends to teach her about it and the basics of rearranging a base set of instructions to get the Codeapillar “robot” to do what she wants it to do.

Also, after many years of helping build them, working with them at the old hacker space and the new maker space I joined (more on that below). I finally bit the bullet and got my own 3D printer, based on the RepRap i3 Prusa design. It’s a kit so I’ll be assembling it myself. It should also have dual extruders, because, why not? I do plan on modifying it once I get it, the first being replacing the acrylic frame components with either 3D printed ones and a Z axis brace to prevent wobble. I might go for carbon fiber upgrade but that’s a bit nuts. I will also likely replace one of the extruders as well as put cooling fans on it, etc.

The other thing going on is that after years of putting it off, I finally joined The Forge which is a makerspace in downtown Greensboro, NC, near where I work. They have a massive facility compared to the hackerspace I used to be a member of and help run (which is now FALE locksport’s office more or less). There is a full wood shop, metal shop, electronics and 3D printing room, laser cutter, CNC, equipment for textiles, pottery, etc. I’ll often go there after work. As my kids get older, I plan on using it to teach them things. It’s worth mentioning another makerspace called Mixxer is opening up where I live in Winston Salem. While it might be even better, I have no plans to join at this time because even though it’s technically closer to where I live its more out of the way for me to go to downtown Winston Salem then drop by the Greensboro one. Maybe someday…