[Squeakland News] Etoys at Maker Faire in Hannover
This weekend, our family presented Etoys at a local maker faire in Hannover, Germany. It was the first time I attended an event like this and I liked it very much. The whole idea of "making" fits pretty good with what you are doing with Etoys.
But it was very different from what I usually do when presenting Etoys, too. First of all, people come and look and need a short concise introduction of what Etoys actually is. They all have different backgrounds, you can not assume that they are interested in teaching a certain subject. Of course, during the discussion, you find out what interests them and can show these aspects. But at some point, we had 3 or 4 different groups of people visiting and each of us was engaged in her own conversation. This is ok if there are enough people at the booth.
We used 4 XO laptops to show Etoys. This was a good idea in several ways, for one, it was sunny and you could still read the screens :) The laptops are eye catchers, too and we also answered questions about the XO's and OLPC.
What worked good was showing the Etoys challenge and ask visitors to try to solve it. It was engaging and needed not too much explanation. Turtle geometry is also a nice and quick activity, the drive-a-car-curriculum is still one of the best ways to give an introduction and show the power of Etoys (this is Bert's favorite).
What would I do next time? It would be nice to have a bigger screen and show Kathleen's videos in the background. The XO's were in use most of the time and been left in various states.
I would prepare / look up more projects like the Etoys challenge, where visitors (most important, kids) can just start doing something.
I would like to have something physical, maybe a robot controlled via Physical Etoys, because it is even more engaging then movement on a computer screen and draws attention. I also like the idea from an event in Japan I read about: create a physical object like a clay-figure, take shots with a camera and create a stop-motion-animation. But maybe this already points towards the other thing I really would do: offer workshops.