Come Celebrate our Anniversary

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Join Us for our 3rd Anniversary Showcase

As the holiday season is in full-swing, we are looking just a bit ahead to our 3rd Anniversary Celebration! January 2016 will mark the 3rd anniversary of the Tech Center Grand Opening, a milestone that is hard to believe is upon us!

To celebrate the occasion we will be hosting our 3rd Anniversary Showcase on Thursday January 14th, 2016. During the event our youth will be sharing their new learning, demonstrating new skills, and showcasing projects from our fall programs including 3D printing, Minecraft, design thinking, prototyping, electronics, and more! This showcase is a great way to meet our youth and see their work in action.

We will also be announcing some new initiatives we have planned for the coming year and highlighting our work over this last year for both the Tech Center and our Center of Excellence. This is a perfect opportunity to check in on us to see what we have been doing and hear, first-hand, what we have up our sleeves!

We invite all of you to join us for this evening of innovation and celebration! Please RSVP here: RSVP for 3rd Anniversary Showcase

Meet Jen Schachter, Special Projects Manager

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Jen is a New York native who came to Baltimore for school nine years ago and fell in love with the city. She graduated from MICA in 2010 with a Fine Arts degree, but found herself building and tinkering more often than painting and drawing. After a number of freelance visual display jobs, and curating gallery shows at Brewer’s Art, Jen moved on to Under Armour, where she wrote visual communication to stores across the country on store layout and merchandise display. Continuing to search for work that fulfilled her passions and desire to work for a better cause, Jen learned of a fellowship program through Baltimore Corps, a new social entrepreneurship start-up in the city. As soon as she found Digital Harbor Foundation, Jen knew this was where she was meant to be.

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What has been your favorite thing about working at DHF so far?

I get to make things every day! It’s been a long time since I had the chance to open a sketchbook at work, and now I use it constantly. When I’m not wielding drills and saws, I’m diagramming the next project and brainstorming with a team who shares the same passions for creating. And it’s so rewarding to know that my design challenges are focused on making the space better for the youth who come here to learn and explore.

Digifab Before + After

What are you looking forward to working on / doing at DHF?

I have so many ideas for the space itself and how we can elevate the functionality and visual appeal. I think we can make the Tech Center even more interactive and showcase student and staff work in new and creative ways. One of the things that excites me most is the idea that our work will be a blueprint for other Makerspaces across the country. The work I did at Under Armour definitely informs that, so I’m excited to see where that project can go.

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We are so happy to have Jen on board here at DHF as our Special Projects Manager! She has been a valuable addition to our team and brings a much needed skill-set and enthusiasm for making and documenting. We look forward to continuing to work with Jen and learn more about her.

 

Educators – Learn to 3D Print in the New Year

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We are excited to kick off the new year with our 3D Printing for Educators workshop as our first workshop offering of 2016!

Our 4-day workshop will take place Friday January 22 – Saturday January 23, and Friday January 29 – Saturday January 30 and we are looking for more educators to join us! The 3D Printing for Educators workshop will prepare formal and informal educators to get started with 3D printing in their learning space. We will cover the technical skills needed to use and maintain your 3D printer, the software used for 3D designing and printer control, as well as activities and ideas for integrating 3D printing into your program. Every participant in the workshop will receive a 3D Printing Starter Kit, which includes a Printrbot Simple 3D Printer and mini tool kit.

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With the help of our 3D Assistance team here at the Tech Center, all workshop participants will have a reliable support group to help with any issues with their 3D Printer during the workshop. This amazing group has been recognized as the first off-site support provider for Printrbot by the company themselves! You can read more about that here: Announcing 3D Assistance

Again, this workshop is intended for educators who work in many learning spaces. Previous participants have included librarians & media specialists, K-12 classroom teachers, and afterschool program providers.

To learn more about the workshop and get all of the details, visit our 3D Printing for Educators workshop page.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at contact@digitalharbor.org. We hope to see you at our next workshop!

Announcing 3D Assistance

3D Assistance is a new program co-created by a former DHF youth and now staff member, Darius McCoy, and Director of Technology, Shawn Grimes. The purpose of the program is to leverage the 3D printing skills that Darius and other youth have acquired at DHF to help educators and other community members who own 3D printers with troubleshooting and repair services.

3D Assistance working on a printer

3D Assistance was piloted as an internal project within the walls of DHF repairing our fleet of 3D printers used by the youth on an almost daily basis. Darius selected a few youth to work with him and he worked alongside a couple staff mentors to train the team on how to troubleshoot common issues and make repairs.

3D Assistance Helping Out

After training the youth and giving them some time to gain experience, we expanded the program to offer support to our 3D Printing for Educators workshop attendees. The 3D Assistance team would float around the room helping the educators troubleshoot their own issues and teaching them common solutions. As the teachers left the workshops, they felt more confident because they had learned to fix common problems themselves and they also knew who they could reach out to if there was something they couldn’t figure out.

“I was frustrated by the number of schools I visited that said they have a 3D printer but it is never used because they *think* it is broken and no one knows how to fix it. It was clear that there was an opportunity to help the community by making some of our in-house expertise available to others.” — Shawn Grimes, Director of Technology

3D Assistance has been answering questions over email and repairing printers that are dropped off to the tech center. They have also been developing processes and creating support documentation for common issues and building the skills needed for customer support relations. Recently, they have even begun to handle the sale and inventory our 3D printers.

“Printrbot not only endorses this program, we are proud of these young people and adults using their skills to help others! A community network of users and experts quickly builds confidence in users. We recommend you take advantage of this resource. ” — Brook Drumm, CEO/Founder of Printrbot

3D Assistance is currently a 3 member youth team with additional staff support but will grow to meet demand. They currently service our 15+ 3D printers at DHF and support the more than 95 educators who have been through our 3D Printing for Educators workshops. The team also serves as inspiration for other youth who might be interested in joining the team as their skills progress.

“Having the 3D assistance team available has been a lifesaver for me. Seemingly always available, willing to help with a smile, and excellent at what they do, they have saved our printing program multiple times. From extrusion issues to broken motors, they not only help fix your problem, but educate you along the way, so we can tackle similar problems ourselves in the future. Couldn’t ask for a more professional and knowledgable team. Five stars!” — Scott Dellosso, Teacher, Perryville Middle School

For more information on 3D Assistance, you can visit: http://old.digitalharbor.org/3dassistance/

3D Assistance Helping Out

 

Help Us Offer Field Trips in 2016

 

In 2015, Digital Harbor Foundation piloted a 3D Printing Field Trip Initiative because we believe every student and every educator should have access to technology skills and the exposure to tech career paths. Our goal is to bring field trips back to DHF and to make them accessible, but we need your help to make this possible.

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Our 3D printing field trip focuses on teaching youth and educators the core concepts of 3D printing and digital design skills through hands-on application. In addition to learning about the variety of uses for 3D printing and some possible career paths, every participant has the opportunity to design and print a take-home item as well as contribute to a community project.

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Number of Students Served in DHF Field Trips (Jan – May 2015)

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Percentage of students who saw a 3D printer for the first time at DHF

During the 2014-2015 school year, we served 676 students and 84% of the students who participated on field trips were minority youth (non-Caucasian). In addition, roughly 53% of the students who participated in field trips were female. 81% of our participating schools had the average rate of low-income students (measured by FARM eligibility). Our field trips can make an impact and expose youth to new possibilities, but we need your support and help to bring them back.

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On this Giving Tuesday (and all through December) we are raising funds to support our field trip program so that we can offer these enriching experiences to even more youth in and around Baltimore. To learn more about how to help, please visit our crowdfunding campaign: digitalharbor.org/fieldtrips

Thank You To Our Veterans

We are pleased to partner with The Mission Continues, an organization that empowers veterans to serve their country in new ways. Our Mission Continues fellow is Paul “AmmoCan” Silva who is serving as a tech specialist with us.  Paul has a wealth of knowledge about web development and WordPress that he has been using to provide insight and direction on our WebSLAM program. He has been creating new content and resources about web development for our youth and staff. In addition to his Tech Specialist duties, Paul has also been volunteering to help with our youth programs including helping out last night at our Family Make Night.

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We are very thankful to have Paul be a member of the DHF team and thank him and all of our veterans for their brave service to our country.

Ultimate Family Make Night is here!

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We are so excited about our Ultimate Family Make Night event happening tonight at the Tech Center! We have a great selection of projects we are thrilled to share with our community at this special edition Family Make Night.

It’s not too late to join us for Ultimate Family Make Night! Find all the information and RSVP on Meetup.

However, we are even MORE excited that a few other organizations have joined in with us to host a Family Make Night-like event at their sites throughout the week. We are happy to have other joining in with a mission to help families make awesome things together.

The events listed below are all taking place throughout the Baltimore County Public Library system at various locations. We encourage all of you to check these events out if they are close to you. You can also follow along on social media with all of our events with the hashtags #ultimateFMN, #weekofmaking, #nationofmakers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Family Make Night
All Ages (Children under 8 with adult)
Join us for a special Family Make Night! Come in with your family and create stomp rockets to blast off as we celebrate the National Week of Making! No registration required.
Randallstown Library
Tuesday – June 16, 2015 – 6:30 pm

Family Make Night
All Ages (Children under 8 with adult)
Join us for a special Family Make Night! Come in with your family and create stomp rockets to blast off as we celebrate the National Week of Making! No registration required.
Woodlawn Library
Tuesday – June 16, 2015 – 6:30 pm

Makerspace Mondays
School Age
Flex your creative muscles while exploring technology, science and art. Registration required.
Rosedale Library
Monday – June 15, 2015 – 4:00 pm

Week of Making Extravaganza!
School Age
In celebration of the Week of Making, come to Hereford branch this afternoon and try your hand at Circuitry! We will have three stations set up for you to choose from: Paper Circuits, Squishy Circuits, and Snap Circuits. Registration suggested.
Hereford Library
Thursday – June 18, 2015 – 2:30 pm

Family Coding Camp
Design and invent together using creative tools like Scratch and MaKey MaKey.
You’ll learn to program your own games, animations, and stories.
Registration required. (THIS CAMP SERIES IS FULL.)
Catonsville Library
Saturday – June 13, 12:00pm

Summer 2015 3D Printing Educator Workshops

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As we head into summer, we are preparing our offerings for educators and have a full calendar of technical and maker workshops open.  Are you an educator with an interest in 3D Printing? If your answer is “Yes!”, you won’t want to miss out on our upcoming 3D Printing for Educators Workshop in July & August 2015.

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This 4-day training will prepare educators of many types to get started with 3D printing in their learning space. We will cover the technical skills needed to use and maintain your 3D printer, the software used for 3D designing and printer control, as well as activities and ideas for integrating 3D printing into your program. Every participant in the workshop will receive a 3D Printing Starter Kit, which includes a Printrbot Simple 3D Printer and mini tool kit.

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With the help of our 3D Assistance team here at the Tech Center, all workshop participants will have a reliable support group to help with any issues with their 3D Printer during the workshop.

Again, this workshop is intended for educators who work in many learning spaces. Previous participants have included librarians & media specialists, K-12 classroom teachers, and afterschool program providers.

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To learn more about the workshop and get all of the details, visit our 3D Printing for Educators workshop page. You can also read our recap post from the March 2015 workshop and check out our Flickr album for the workshop.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at contact@digitalharbor.org. We hope to see you at our next workshop!

Seeking Volunteer Guest Speakers

Are you interested in getting involved at the DHF Tech Center and helping youth? Do you have a career in a technology field? If the answer to both of these questions is YES, then this message is for you!

One of our goals at DHF is to create an environment that inspires youth to make and explore their interest in tech-related fields, and while providing them with the environment to learn new skills is one of the things we do, it is always important for them to see how those skills contribute to their future.

We are currently seeking community members who have careers in technology fields to volunteer as Guest Speakers in our Career Series. The goal of this series is to highlight possible careers and opportunities that youth may pursue in technology fields. Volunteers will be asked to talk with our youth participants about their technology careers and the pathways that lead them to those careers.

Belinda & Terry Kilby of Elevated Element talk with youth about their Aerial Photography.

We ask that Guest Speakers plan to spend between 1-2 hours engaged in a casual conversation with our youth (ages 11-18) during the times of our after-school program, 4-6pm.

Fields of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Graphic Design
  • Programming
  • Engineering
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Web Development
  • Game Development
  • Software Development

Email iman@digitalharbor.org for more information or register as a volunteer here. We hope to see you soon!