Tag Archives: littlebits

Electronic Arcade workshop @TIS 2015 (Session #1)

Maker Toolset is back in action!  We are at TIS for a new session of one of the popular clubs we have run there: The Electronic Arcade club. We kicked off the term with some personal introductions and an answer to, “What was the last thing you made?”  We were excited to see that this group is very active in creating the world around them, whether it is from Legos, Minecraft, food or littleBits…this group is excited about making!

From there we moved on to an exploration of the basic rules of operation during the club. Top of the list was, “There are no bad ideas at first.” This led to a discussion about how we would like everyone to feel comfortable putting their ideas on the table without fear of judgment and then allow the opportunity for others to add to or improve. Everyone should help everyone make something great. We gave the class a short version of the D-School’s rules for Brainstorming (great rules for all ages!). I will put them in their original form below.

1. Defer Judgment. Don’t block someone else’s idea if you don’t like it…put it on the whiteboard and maybe you’ll be able to build on it later.

2. Go for volume. Getting to 100 ideas is better than 10, no matter what you initially think about the “quality”. Try setting a goal for the number of ideas you’ll get to in a certain amount of time to provide some stoke.

3. One conversation at a time. When different conversations are going on within a team, no one can focus.

4. Be visual. Sketch your ideas out for your teammate. It will communicate them more clearly than words alone, plus you might inspire some crazy new ideas.

5. Headline your idea. Make it quick and sharp, then move on to the next one.

6. Build on the Ideas of others. This leverages the perspectives of diverse teams and can be especially useful when you feel like you’re stuck.

7. Stay on topic. Your idea for an edible cell phone is awesome, but not during a brainstorm on making opera more exciting for children.

8. Encourage wild ideas. The crazier the better…you never know where your team might be able to take it. (See #1 and #6).


Finally, we reviewed the anatomy of littleBits, which colours held what function and tackled our first design challenge. The resourcefulness and idea exchanges were awesome and we look forward to working with this group of young inventors. We also watched this video as inspiration for the kind of inventions that await. A great start to a great session.

A Last Minute Collaboration



It is IT: A great project with kids teaching kids programming

This past weekend was the school festival at my main job Tokyo Gakugei University International Secondary School (TGUISS).  The IT club, run by the amazing Soto Yamauchi and his group “It is IT”. Their mantra is ‘of the kids, by the kids, for the kids’ and Soto is the right kid for the job. When he is not donating his time teaching other young students how to program his is busy winning programming contests. I think he is a geniusbut don’t take my word for it, Microsoft thinks so as well!


Soto on the right.


Minecraft workshop


I saw in the festival guide that they were presenting on Minecraft, Scratch and littleBits. I wondered how many littleBits they had and if they wanted to use the Maker Toolset kit; a handsome collection of Bits I must say. They agreed and I began labeling the bits.


They were running Raspberry Pis for the workshop.


Some pretty good art! They were using littleBits to lure people in. That buzzer is hard to ignore.


While labeling, the IT club and I had a good talk about integrating littleBits into TGUISS’s curriculum and making it the first littleBits school. We had some good ideas floating around, like students programming their own e-flashcards in English or using the littleBits in a play for drama or a classroom performance.

We will revisit these ideas when I crash their upcoming club meetings!

More to come on this…