Brandon Klevence

Mentors Kenny and BK @ Maker Camp!

This past week Kenny and BK embarked on an incredible journey in their spare time. With some encouragement from the fine folks over at Maker Camp they made a video based on the Magnetic Mazes Project that was done at the Village of Arts and Humanities in 2013. Check out some links for the project below:   Check out Day… Read more →

Open Letter to Librarians on 3D Printing

The other day I sat down with Chad Sansing via the internets to share some ideas about 3D Printers in libraries for School Library Journal.

Chad prompted me with the question: How can a librarian get ready for a 3D printer and purposefully design inviting, accessible projects. I felt my response would be a decent resource for those who read our blog, this is my response:
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Video Game Design Workshop @ LMB

On Saturday, Decemeber 13th we held a Video Game Design Workshop at the Lillian Marrero Neighborhood Library. We helped facilitators from E-Line Media kick off their national workshop tour to expose youth from grades 5-12 to basic game design principles and the National STEM Video Game Challenge. Unfortunately the boiler was going out at Marrero, but we had a great… Read more →

Triluminazey Makey Makey MakerParty Awesomeness


This past week working on our Connected Messages mural I could sense that the leaving the theme topics a bit to open ended lead to more [adult] intervention in each kids work than I would like.
Our first day working on our mural we documented some of the kids running stories that play the line between humor, fantasy, and real life. However, after having a a mock viewing and eulogies for Uncle(and exhausting our inside jokes) it was hard to get motivated to create more or begin to delve into more serious topics.

This was all cleared up after diverting our attention to our Makey Makey contest entry for some fun and unintended inspiration. After trying to make some badges that one would “unlock” for completing our Group How-To(thank you techkim) we realized that we could use the badge sketching templates as a means of expressing ourselves on our mural. We unintentionally created a way to make patterns, display things we like, and even create our own achievement badges for what we have learned(something I have wanted to do since the start of this summer). It’s truly an awesome way for the kids to get work onto paper and who-knows we may scale and copy these bad boys to hand out at the Maker Celebration!


Our contest entry, due 8/13, still under development as of 8/7: Magnetic Makey Makey Mazes

Scan 3

Makey Makey Workshop @ Spells

Last Wednesday I held a Makey Makey workshop at Spells Writing Lab. Our game controller workshop was icing on the cake for their work story boarding and creating their own games in Gamestar Mechanic. It was wild to come in and see the variety of different games based off of the same platform.
As this was my first big workshop I was a tad bit nervous as to how it’s introduction would flow into the working session. To my surprise and delight after briefly explaining how the Makey Makey and its component parts work the kids became very attentive(handing out the alligator clips and the Makey Makeys was helpful). This coupled with a quick demonstration of how a high five could make our CANABALT player jump created an explosively energetic kickoff to making. Immediately the kids took to group work stations and began gleefully tinkering.

Throughout the workshop we explored many different fruits, candy, and found objects as input for their games. Eventually we looked to other video games and gave a stab at creating more complex controllers.
The most awesome of those controllers were those that brought together a team of three pre-teens and made them physically connect and work as a team to complete a level. This same project along with others spawned a variety of foil wearables to act as Earth. It was an excellent learning experience for all. I just hope one day they use their new akey Makey to spar with their space adventure foil swords.

Testing, Learning, and Failing.

This past week we pushed our Mazes into one last bit of development as we start gearing up for Connected Messages. We tested how well our Squishy Circuit mazes work when kept in boxes over a period of time and found that they can still conduct but it’s not the best medium for long term development. After working on them for a couple days they dry up and the loosely connected play-doh separates.
After troubleshooting with water and MORE PLAY-DOH we went back to our earlier paper circuits with some new copper tape and a more manageable work/play board. This will allow us to start working on some Scratch Scoreboard/Game tests while populating our Connected Messages mural.

“Who cares about saving the Princess, we’d rather win some Pizza.”

This past week at the Village we kept developing our skills and started diving into our Magnetic Maze project. We went through one Soldering iron tip, half a spool of solder, and quite a few markers this week working on our skills. Plenty of fingers were singed in the process, but soldering LEDs into pairs is still a hit(led by Sameer & Jacob)!

This was a perfect start for us to begin playing with our Square Force Resistors and the Makey Makey for our FFR dance pad. Although our second iteration looked like it was going to work, we are still having many issues with materiality and time delays. This physical making exploration allowed us to begin working digitally in Scratch (with classes led by Josh, an Animation major from Art Institute also working in the Hot Spot) some sketches that can be found on the Villages scratch account!

All of this is leading towards our development of Maze Games that will be a mix of physical Squishy Circuitry and digital Scratch interfaces or games. We took a look at all the different types of mazes and puzzles out there (here is the presentation we went though) and talked our own experiences in corn mazes. Which started the generation and discussion of different game concepts, mechanics, and our hatred of helpless princesses in pink-dresses. Personally I can’t wait to see what direction everyone goes in making their own maze games, at the moment “The Legend of Grandmom 2, with Grandpop” is a running favorite.

Awsm video of the week, Sameer showing off his soldering skills: