Chapter Spotlight: TechShop DC, with Alex Arnopol

April 29, 2015

Alex Arnopol

@TechShopDC

Alex

I am based in…

Washington, DC (in the Arlington area)

In a few sentences, tell us more about your organization/space.

TechShop is a vibrant, creative community that provides access to tools, software and space. We define ourselves as a “maker-space” with an emphasis on STE(a)M education. You can make virtually anything at TechShop!

I was inspired to start a Global Chapter because…

I wanted to provide a safe play space for young innovators to try their hand at invention and creation. The world of STEM can be intimidating at times, but through the vehicle of littleBits, I hope to be able to introduce this world in a space where failure is embraced and innovation can be play.

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Tell us more about your event that took place last week.

TechShop DC hosted a fantastic littleBits + Arduino course! We introduced the community, both young and old, to the world of programming through littleBits. It was so exciting to see students, regardless of age, working side by side to create and learn!

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Some of the notable projects that were created were:

-“Jackson Pollock” Machine (an art bot with a servo)

-“Portable DJ” (a four-wheeled robot that plays music )

-Proximity sensor machine (to keep out pesky little brothers!)

-Shoulder blade flexibility measuring device to know if you are stretching them enough (great for athletes!)

-Music machine with infrared control

-Device to measure water in plants (still in progress, but super cool all the same.)

What did you learn from hosting this event?

Play is fun, failure can be success! When you get stuck there is no harm in taking everything apart and taking a new approach. There is always a solution, sometimes you just have to try something new. 🙂

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Who else in your community inspires you?

I am so inspired by the teachers in our community. They are working tirelessly to incorporate STEAM into their curriculum. These teachers, who perhaps lacked initial training in the world of programming and making , are working overtime to get up to speed in these areas. So exciting to see making in the classroom!

What’s next for your chapter?

We are planning a TechShop DJ party… stay tuned for more details…