guest article by Thomas Maillioux
above: David designs an animation for his LoL Shield with LoL Shield Theater
Editor’s note: Several months ago I put a call out on this blog for a DIY electronics blogger, and I couldn’t believe how many funny, friendly, fantastically qualified people from all over the world responded.
One such person was Thomas Maillioux, an unconventional librarian in France. He told me about his work to bring hackerspaces into the libraries of public schools in metro-Paris to teach kids about electronics, programming, design, and even 3D printing.
He graciously accepted my invitation in broken franglais to tell his story here on the blog. I hope you enjoy!
What happens when you turn a middle school library into a hackerspace?
by Thomas Maillioux
A hackerspace at school
I was lucky enough to work through the 2010 school year with a bunch of brilliant, curious pupils at the Evariste Galois middle-school in Epinay sur Seine in the northern suburbs of Paris.
2 hours a week, we’d meet up at the library to try and answer — through research and tinkering — all the questions they had about computers, electronics, gaming and programming.
We created a small hackerspace where the kids programmed RFID tags, designed a logging system of their own with Touchatags and Google Docs, created animations with Arduinos and LoL shields, compared automatically-generated and human-written code, and even designed their own video games. So what did I learn from this teaching-meets-tinkering experience?
“My project, my pace”
All of the projects I mentioned were chosen by the students themselves. For them, being able to decide what to work on was a huge motivator to actually doing the work — something which might also explain the amazing amount or work the pupils achieved over the few months of the hackerspace experiment. They wanted to come to school early and stay late so they could tinker together!